Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy ever afters

Today's a special day for me.

35 years ago (was it really that long?) I woke up on a rather cool, slightly showery July day, went downstairs to where my Mother had prepared me a breakfast of boiled egg, toast and tea, then I had a relaxing bath, dressed casually and went out to the local hairdresser's to have my hair done.

After that, I came home, joined my mother, aunt, and youngest sister my godmother and her husband for coffee chatting with various people who called in, including the Babe Magnet (who wasn't a Magnet then, just Steve) his brother, and one of our best friends from university before spending some time doing my makeup, putting on a dress that my not-yet Mother in law had made for me and the veil that my grandmother had worn on her wedding day some 60 years before, getting into a car and going to Sacred Heart church to get married.

35 years! And I know that at the time there were several people who were convinced it wouldn't last - we had no money, no jobs (straight out of university) no house, just the promise of a flat. . .

I was thinking about this today, obviously, but it also made me think about the way that when people learn what I do for a living some people - and it's happened more than once, to me and to several of my writing friends - accuse me of creating unrealistic dreams and selling them to gullible women who then have unrealistic hopes for their lives.

The problem is that you can only ever prove that 'happy ever after' does exist and does last that 'ever after' when you get to the end of it. And the books I write end at the beginning of that 'ever after', not at the end of it. The characters I've created start out on what they hope and believe will be a relationship that will last a lifetime. No one says it's going to be hearts and flowers all the way but the real 'romance' in the rest of the story will be that both he and she will committed to working at it, to sticking there through thick and thin, 'for better for worse', coping with the bad times and enjoying the good.

And that made me think of just how many friends I have in the writing romance world who've had long, loving sustaining marriages too, some of them for longer than these 35 years. Perhaps that's why we can write romances that ring true in the minds and hearts of our readers. Because we know the glories of love and its special moments, but we know the difficulties too, the workaday moments, and the times when it seems that it's all gone wrong. Perhaps instead of calling us 'pink and fluffy' and unrealistic and idealistic, some of those commentators and critics should look at the successful partnerships that so many romance writers share - and wonder if perhaps we know a little bit about these man/woman relationships after all.

So - Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister, Liz Fielding, Sandra Marton, Marina Oliver, Joanna Maitland, Jacqueline Baird - and many many others - tonight when the Magnet and I raise a glass to another anniversary, we'll be raising a glass to you too - and to all those real, true happy ever afters

Here's wishing you all a happy ever after too.
And Steve - thank you for more than 35 very special years as my real life hero and the inspiration for 55 fictional ones - and counting . . .

PS to the description of my wedding day - yes I did see Steve on the morning if the wedding - so there's that 'bad luck' superstition disproved once and for all.
This picture was taken on our 30th anniversary which we celebrated
at the Harlequin party at RWA Conference New York


Kate Hardy said...

Happy anniversary! Hope you both have a fabulous day.

Lovely story. And thanks for sharing the pics.

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary! Wow thirty five years is quite an achievment. Lovely photo of you both on your wrdding day. You haven't changed much at all.


Margaret McDonagh said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the BM. Have a great day. I loved reading about your wedding and your 35 happy years - I wish you many, many more together.

My parents were married for 56 years. My Dad used to tease that it was two life sentences with no time off for good behaviour! And that he only married my Mum for her lemon sponge cake! But theirs was an amazing example.

Mags xx

Anonymous said...

Ah, look at you both! So beautiful. Have a wonderful day and here's to another 35 years!
x Daisy

juliemt said...

Happy anniversary, Kate! May you and your BM have many, many, many more wonderful years together!

Hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary back in April. 30 years seem like a lifetime, but like no time at all!

Michelle Styles said...

Happy Anniversary. I hope you two have a wonderful, wonderful day.

Liz Fielding said...

Happy Anniversary to both of you. Lovely to see pics of you on the big day and the even bigger day 35 years on. Welcome to the 35 years club!

My parents were married a few months short of 50 years. They were younger than we were when we married (quite a bit younger!) but I'm planning on emulating them!

Anna Adams said...

Wishing you the happiest of anniversaries! I hope you're having a lovely time together.

Aren't you both beautiful!

All the best,

Anne McAllister said...

Happy anniversary! I'll always remember the one we shared at Vinnie's.

Rachael said...

Happy Anniversary to you both. If I had known I would have brought a cake to the conference!

Jane said...

Happy Anniversary to you and Steve.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! It was my 36th birthday on July 14, so I was 1 yr old exactly when you got married!

Jan Jones said...

How beautiful is that photo! And what a lovely account of the original day.

Happy Anniversary to you both.

Love Jan

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 35 years together! I love your wedding photo!

Donna Alward said...

I missed your post yesterday, but it's lovely! Congrats to you and Steve. You sound like you were a lot more relaxed than I was on my wedding morning!

Janet Ch said...

What lovely photos. They should be permanently displayed on your website.
35 years ago! I was 23. I didn't get married for another 3 years but my dress was a similar style to yours. They look very demure compared to today's styles.

Happy anniversary.

Unknown said...

Belated Happy day......loved the photo - neither of you have changed :-) May you and the BM have many many more!

Anonymous said...

Kate, I'm big fan of yours and and an aspiring writer and, like you, hate when folks criticize the romance genre as being fluffy. As a matter of fact, my own Babe Magnet and I will be celebrating 25 years this month!


ps Your 12 Points Book is very helpful!


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