By Kate E. Stephenson
In this second week of June 2013, I hereby call to order the 21st meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every week, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate. If you missed our last meeting, it’s easy to catch up.
Club members, this week meet Kate Walker.
Kate Walker has been writing for Harlequin since 1984. During that time she has had 60 novels published, with the 61st due in this month, June 2013. Her 2010 novel The Konstantos Marriage Demand won Reviewers’ Choice Best Harlequin Presents Extra Book from the Romantic Times magazine, and in 2011, her book The Proud Wife was shortlisted for the same award. All her books are available on Amazon.
Kate lives in Lincolnshire UK with her husband and two Maine coon cats. She teaches romance writing workshops and residential courses and is also the author of A Straightforward Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction (Aber Publishing).
Her latest title, A Throne for the Taking, is available as a single title or as part of a four book bundle, Harlequin Presents June 2013 – Bundle 1. Kate always loves to hear from fans so email her here and keep tabs on her new projects on her blog here.
Now enter the world of Kate Walker as she answers all our questions:
Who named you Kate and why?
My mother named me Catherine but only school teachers and parents used the full version of my name. I was named after my Irish Grandmother whose married name was Katherine (Kate) Walker. So it’s this version of my given name that I used as part of my writing name.
How did you become an author?
Even before I could write I was making up stories. My mother tells the story of me recounting the tale of the Three Little Raindrops—Drippy, Droppy and Droopy to my two younger sisters when I was four. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t scribbling away at something, and I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was eleven, an adventure story, most of it in secret in lessons at school—particularly maths lessons, which I hated.
But everyone, particularly teachers and my parents, told me that I would never make a living as a writer, and I should work towards a more secure career. So I decided instead that if I couldn’t write books, I could at least work with them and so I settled for becoming a librarian. On leaving school, I went to the University College of Wales Aberystwyth where I studied English and Librarianship for my degree.
More importantly, university was also where I met my husband who was also studying English there. We married and moved back north, eventually settling in Lincolnshire. Here I worked as a children’s librarian until I left work when my son was born.
After three years of being a full-time housewife and mother, I was ready for a new challenge, but needed something I could do at home, and so I turned to my old love of writing. My first attempts at novels were written on the kitchen table, often late into the night when my son was asleep or during a few snatched hours when he was out at nursery school.
The first two novels sent off to Harlequin Mills & Boon were rejected, but the third attempt was successful. I can still remember the moment that a letter arrived instead of the rejection slip I had been dreading. In December 1984, The Chalk Line was published just in time to be one of my best Christmas presents ever.
What was the muse for your first completed/published book?
I don’t know if you’d call it a ‘muse’! The honest truth is that I had a nasty dose of the flu and a temperature of 102! I had gone to bed with a hot drink and some aspirin and I just wanted to sleep. But this idea kept going round and round in my head and I couldn’t rest until I’d written it down. When I woke up the next day there was a note that said “She ‘divides’ the house in two with a line of chalk…” And from that grew The Chalk Line which became my very first book published.
What are you currently working on?
I’m busy with my 61st romance novel for Harlequin – at the moment it has a working title of A Matter of Honour but that may well change (OK, it’s more than likely to change) when editorial decide what it will be called. But obviously with a title like that, my hero is torn between two strong feelings—wanting the heroine so badly and knowing she is forbidden to him because she is promised to someone else.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Writing? Those 60 novels over the past almost 30 years—which means that as the markets and the fashions have changed, my books have still been popular over all that time. I’m also pretty proud of my 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance because so many people have written to me to tell me that it has helped them learn so much about writing romance (and other types of popular fiction).
Personally—my marriage which hits its ruby anniversary this year! And my son.
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?
Who’s your favorite literary character?
I fell in love with the alpha hero when I first read Wuthering Heights and fell for Heathcliff.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
If you weren’t an author, what profession would you like to try?
I was a children’s librarian before I was published. I’d love to be able to sing a note in tune!
If you could do one thing in your life over, what would it be?
Do you know, I think the answer to that is I’d do it all again—the same way. But if it has to be only one thing then I’d marry the same man!
Ok now, Book Clubbers, you know what time it is—time to read! From Kate Walker’s new Harlequin book—A Throne for the Taking— that just hit the shelves June 1:
HE was coming. The sound of footsteps in the corridor outside told her that. Brisk, heavy footsteps, the sound of expensive leather soles on the marble floor.
A big man, moving fast and impatiently toward the room where she had been told to wait for him. A room that was not as she had expected, but then nothing had been as she had expected since she had started out on this campaign, least of all this man she hadn’t seen in so long. It had been more than ten years since she had spoken to him, but they would now be coming face to face in less than thirty seconds.
How was she going to handle this?
Ria adjusted her position in the smart leather chair, crossing one leg over the other, then, rethinking, moving it back again so that her feet were neatly on the floor, placed precisely together in their elegant black courts, knees closed tight, her blue and green flowered dress stretched sleekly over them. Lifting her hand she made to smooth back a non-existent wandering strand of dark auburn hair. Her style would be immaculate, she knew. She’d 1pulled her hair back tightly from her face so that there was nothing loose to get in a mess or distract her. Nothing to look frivolous or even carefree. That was not the image she’d aimed for.
She’d even fretted at the thought that her dress might be a little too casual and relaxed when she’d put it on, but the below knee length of the swirling skirt covered her almost as much as the tailored trousers she’d considered wearing, and the lightweight black linen jacket she’d pulled on over the top added a needed touch of formality that made her feel better.
The room she sat in was sleek and sophisticated with pale wood furniture. Far sleeker and much more luxurious than she had ever anticipated. One of the soft grey walls displayed a set of dramatic photographs, sleekly framed. In black and white only, they were the sort of thing that had made Alexei Sarova his reputation and his fortune. They were superb, stunning but – Ria frowned as she looked at them. They were bleak and somehow lonely. Photographs of landscapes, places, no people in them at all. He did sometimes photograph people, she knew that from the magazines she had read and the stunning images that had appeared in the articles, but none of those commissions were displayed here.
Outside the door, those determined, heavy footsteps slowed, then halted and she heard the murmur of voices through the thick wood, the deep, gravelly tones making it plain that the speaker was a man.
The man. The one she had come here to meet, to give him the message that might save her country from all out civil war, and she had vowed that she was not leaving until she had done so. Even if the nerves in her stomach tied themselves into tight, painful knots at the thought and her restless fingers had started to beat an unsettled tattoo on the wooden arm of the chair.
‘No!’ Ria reproved herself aloud. ‘Stop it! Now!’
She brought her nervous hand together with the other one, to clasp them both demurely in her lap, forcing herself to wait with every semblance of control and composure, even if the churning of her stomach told her that this was very far from the case. Too much rested on this meeting and she wasn’t really sure that she could handle it.
Can you handle it, Book Clubbers? You can find out easily by picking this book up in all stores brick and click… I’m off to my favorite reading corner. Until next time…
Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.