Do you have a best friend? Someone who has been through many of life’s trials with you? I know I do. Her name is Mary. Mary and I met the day before she got married, as I was invited by a friend of a friend of a friend to attend a pre-wedding celebration for Mary. Mary and I didn’t become close until sometime later, but when we realized how much we had in common, we became BFFs for life.

Our chief joy together is home decorating. You wouldn’t believe the hundreds of hours we have spent together in places like Macy’s, Home Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and so many other places, poring over dishes, furniture, bedding, pictures, curtains…well, you get the idea.

“It’s Saturday, let’s go shopping,” was our favorite refrain for years.

But, of course, a friendship is about more than shopping, isn’t it? Over the years, we have experienced death, divorce, job losses, disappointments, and frustrations, as well as great successes and accomplishments together.

We went through college together—taking classes at nights and on weekends—and graduated together. I’ll never forget leaning over to her during some sort of writing class and asking her if she still had my crock pot that she had borrowed. The instructor yelled at me for talking in class and I was quite mortified. It was years ago and we still talk about it today because it was so embarrassing.
We also share a love of pets, although Mary likes dogs and I am, of course, a cat person (but don’t say I’m a crazy cat lady!).

Mary has moved to another state four hours away from me, so it’s not as easy to see one another these days, but we make a valiant effort to keep up with one another. Having smart phones that enable us to text is very helpful.

I like to make sure my characters have best friends, too. Violet Harper’s best friend is named Mary, although ironically, she’s not named for my own friend but for someone who won a naming contest I held several years ago. In my previous historical, THE QUEEN’S DOLLMAKER, Claudette was besties with Beatrice, although that has tragic consequences. In A ROYAL LIKENESS, Marguerite becomes the apprentice to—and great friends with—Madame Tussaud, the famed waxworker.

Florence Nightingale relies heavily on her friendship with another Mary—Mary Clarke. Mary Clarke is a historic figure, so again not named for my own best friend!

What about you? Do you have a best friend? Does your best friend go back to childhood or is it someone who entered your life much later? What is it that makes you so close?

Without the blessing of best friends, life would not be as fun and colorful, would it?