Please forgive this shamelessly self-indulgent post. I had a very busy weekend preparing for and enjoying my own 50th birthday party (my daughter Mélanie, with in the picture above, was a big help!). With my time preoccupied by my own history, I had no time to formulate a post about the finer point of historical research. Though I have been thinking about my books and the history of my characters. In general I avoid dramatizing their birthdays, unless the celebrations play a major role in the story. Though in an ongoing series, one can get locked into dates. I needed to work the fifth birthday of Colin, Suzanne and Malcolm's son, into London Gambit, because I had set it as 14 June and the anniversary of Waterloo on 18 June was part of the plot. I ended up liking how it showed Malcolm and Suzanne juggling real life as parents in the midst of a murder investigation and a possible plot to free Napoleon.
When I started writing the series, I was the same age as Malcolm. His grand dame aunt, Lady Frances, seemed like an older woman to me. I remember turning 45 and realizing with a shock that I was now Lady Frances's age. And now, at 50, I'm the same age as spymaster Raoul O'Roarke, who also happens to be Malcolm's father. Though I still don't feel I have nearly the worldly wisdom of Frances or Raoul. I'm twice as old as 25-year-old Suzanne, but I still identify with her. Partly because, given the era and the life she'd led, she's grown up much faster. Partly because I think part of the fun of reading and writing is being any age we want mentally.
I may not dramatize many birthdays, but I like to imagine what my characters would give each other for birthdays and how they would celebrate them. I like to think they'd have parties as fun as the one I had last night, with good friends from lots of parts of my life.
What are some of your most memorable birthday celebrations, either ones you've had for yourself or ones you've read about in books?