Yesterday was Cass’s birthday. Well, the date I’d decided would be Cass’s birthday: March 1st.
But why March 1st?
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a wonderful grandmother: Nan. Nan is still the nicest woman I have ever known. She was loving, caring, thoughtful; but, above all else, she was constant. When things were less than great between me and my mum, Nan was there, offering refuge and wisdom. When I was struggling as a student, Nan was there, sending me a fiver in an envelope so I could treat myself. When I needed someone to talk to, Nan was there, listening and never judging. Nan loved and was loved for every day of her 86 years.
So, when I needed a date that would mean enough to be the birthday of my first ever character in my first ever novel, it made sense to pick Nan’s birthday.
There are lots of tips and strategies out there to help writers remember the important details about their characters’ lives. Even if those details don’t feature in the stories we write, we have to know them; they make the characters real. Some people make fact files. Some people write potted biographies. But I bet that most writers draw on the important moments and people in their own lives to make these characters real.
In Curve, every significant date, address and location means something to me. It’s lovely when readers share that they means something to them as well, but, really, I’m being selfish. I’ve been able to record those details in permanent form. As long as there are copies of Curve around, they exist. Every time someone reaches page 332 of Curve, and reads about Cass’s birthday, that date is marked, honoured.
Happy birthday Cass.
Happy birthday Nan.