Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kate’s 25th party, guest blogger #20 – Kate Walker

I’m so pleased to welcome Kate Walker here today – she’s also celebrating at the moment, with a rather scarier number of books than my own: her fiftieth title! Over at her blog party, I explained how we met and how she’s become one of my closest friends in the writing world (her husband is lovely, too, and I was delighted to meet her son recently – and as I expected Kate and her husband get on really well with my husband and children). So over here at my party, I think it’s fair to let you hear Kate’s side of the story about that meeting:

Over on my blog party Kate has talked about the day we met. How we were sitting next to each other at a Mills & Boon Authors' lunch and we started talking. She says she felt lost and it was all very daunting - that's not what I remember. What I remember was how easy she was to talk to - and how enthusiastic about writing - and about her books and the books that everyone else had written and she had read. Even mine. I say even mine because T'Other Kate will be the first to admit that Alpha heroes - ok, a certain type of Alpha hero - are not quite her hero of choice, where an Alpha is very definitely mine. And Kate doesn't hold that against me.So I remember a warm smile, a soft voice, very bright eyes that were perhaps the only indication that she was a little starstruck. And an easy conversation that, even though this was far from my first M&B lunch, isn't always something I can manage with the person sitting randomly next to me. I came away thinking that I had met someone really nice, someone I could get on with, share a lot of interests with - beyond the writing of romances - and someone I was looking forward to meeting again. And when I met her again I felt the same only more so . . .

But that was before she morphed into Scary Kate.

Because Kate Hardy is not just a lovely friend, an easy conversationalist. No - OK - I'll tell the truth here - not just someone I can talk to - and talk to - and talk to… (sorry about the length of phone calls, Kate's DH) We can talk on almost any subject under the sun - and she can match my husband in his interests in obscure historical facts and - again sorry, T'Other Kate’s DH - she can also match him with his secondhand bookshop addiction. If the truth is told she also feeds that addiction by telling him about good books she's found, even, on occasions going back to shops for him and buying books he'd resolved to leave on the shelves. Thanks, Kate! Not only is Kate a busy Mum of two lovely children, a wonderful cook, a generous friend, a guitar and a piano player, works hard for her children's school - and an organiser of special secrets and special gifts that reduce those lucky enough to be her friend to tears (see my blog for details - but she writes books… all the time - she's a book writing tornado, a tsunami of publications - and all in a very short space of time.

And this is what makes her Scary Kate.

Yes, I know we're celebrating her 25th book this month - and I am celebrating my 50th title but this isn’t a case of pots and kettles. I'm proud of my titles but I was first published in 1984. There was a gap then and my second book came out in 1986. Admittedly, this was in the prehistoric pre-computer days but even so, my 25th title, Wife For A Day, didn't come out till 1998. 12 Years. I met Kate in 2002 - that means that Scary Kate had written those 25 books in less than half the time it took me to reach that 'silver' total. And she's written them for two very different lines, showing a range of writing ability as she does it.

Scary enough for you? Well, it doesn't stop there - if we add in the non-fiction titles, the local history, the How to Research… books, there are more than the 25 we're celebrating. And that's without including any Black Lace titles... If she keeps up this production rate, she'll match both me and the Babe Magnet - and out run us by a l-o-n-g way.

Now do you see why I call her Scary Kate? She exhausts me just thinking of all she achieves.

But the truth is that in person she's not scary at all and although it's the writer that I'm posting to celebrate, I'd also really like to celebrate the wonderful friend. In amongst all of those 25 M&B titles there is one very special one, that means more than any of the rest to me. The Modern Extra title Strictly Legal came out in July 2006 (it's being published as a Promotional Presents in August in USA as Mistress on Trial) and it carries a dedication to me. I treasure that book just as I treasure our friendship. And I hope it lasts for the next 25 books and beyond. (Though, knowing Scary Kate that will probably only be for the next - um - five years or so!)

Happy 25th, Kate, and here's to many many more.

GIVEAWAY: I have signed copies of the two books in my current 'Sicilian Brothers' duo - Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride and The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge to give away.

If you could dedicate a book to an author to thank them for all the reading pleasure they've given you who would that author be - and why?


Nell said...

That is such a difficult question!! There are so many authors I'd love to thank. Liz Fielding, Jessica Hart, Jenny Crusie,and loads of others but I think it would have to be Agatha Christie who has been a source of huge reading pleasure for me and who wrote wonderful romances too, as Mary Westmacott. The rose and the yewtree was my favourite.

AA said...

I'm with you Nell - Jennifer Crusie would be near the top of my list too.
When I first started reading romance I read my mothers Ann Mather's and Carol Mortimer - boy did they give me an education or what!!!
But probably I'd say L.M.Montgommery for her wonderful Anne books.
And maybe Emily Bronte for Wuthering Heights.

Amy Andrews

Anonymous said...

Stephen King, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Hauf.

Each of them has shown me a different style of writing. Stephen King was the first author that I ever read. I read Salem's Lot and was instantly was hooked on his writing.

Kenyon showed me a world of vampires (horror) that would also be mixed with fantasy (Atlantis) and romance. It was the kind of writing I'd want to do.

Michele, she's just a fantastic writer who I simply adore!

Kimberly L said...

Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood were the first authors I ever read. My mom had some harlequins and I took hers and read them that's when I stared reading your books, Annie West and Lucy Monroe. I love reading your books. I'm saving them now for my daughter. She's only 13 but hey I started reading when I was 17.

juliemt said...

That's such a tough question! I've loved so many books over the years from the classics by Austen, Gaskell and the Brontes to romance classics such as Heyer, Stewart, Holt/Plaidy to M&B legends such as Betty Neels, Mary Burchell, Violet Winspear, Anne Weale, Penny Jordan, Anne Mather, Carole Mortimer, Sara Craven, Kate Walker, Caroline Anderson and so many, many more.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Nell - you've mentioned some of my favourites too - Liz Fielding would be on my list - and like you I've devoured Agatha Christie's stories. Mary Westmacott is a name I muct look out for - never read any of hers

Amy - It seems like you and I have similar tastes. Some on my earliest romanc ereading was Anne Mather and Carol Mortimer. I was never a fan of Anne of Green Gables - but Oh yes, Wutherng Heights - I've loved that book all my life

Hi Dom, my sister is addicted to Stephen King but somehow I missed out on his appeal - though I did enjoy Salam's Lot. And I can see that I'm going to have to put Michele Hauf on my tr try list

Hi Kimberley - yours is another list that shares many of my favourites. And I'm honoured that you love my books too - I hope that when your daughter comes to read them she'll enjoy them as well. And I hope I'm still writing so that she has even more books to read!

JUliemt - I thought you'd have trouble answering! And your list really could be mine - it's so close. I loved all those classics - and Mary Stewart is one of my favourite ever authors - Heyer - Plaidy/Holt . . . oh dear, now you've made me want to go and hunt out some othose old bokos and reread them!

Great choices everyone!

robynl said...

For me it would be Lucy Maude Montgomery; I love the Anne series.

Donna Alward said...

Robynl, my mum would agree with you. I've read most of LM's stuff myself and my favorite is Rilla of Ingleside.

But I'd have to take LaVyrle Spencer every time. I have cried many a tear over all of her stories and they are nearly all tattered from reading them so many times. I hardly ever skipped uni classes, but when November of the Heart came out in paperback, I skipped an entire morning and read in the cafeteria, trying - and failing - not to cry. And YEARS destroys me as does her final book.

If I could write characters and touch people with my stories the way she has mine, I'd feel like I really accomplished something.

Becky said...

This is very difficult, but I would have to say either Catherine Coulter, Melanie George, Madeline Hunter, Nicole Jordan, or Nora Roberts. They are my all time favorite authors and I have read every single one of their books. I can't get enough of their books.

Kimberly H said...

The first romance I read was by Millie Criswell, so I would have to thank her for getting me addicted to romance novels. I would also have to include Jill Shalvis, Elizabeth Thornton, and Jane Austen. There are so many authors that I love, but these are the ones that have touched me that most.

lidia said...

Oh my, I can't list just one. LOL

I'd have to say any/all of the following: Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phylis Whitney, Georgette Heyer, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Stephanie Laurens, Julie Garwood for historial books.

Now for the HPs: Violet Winspear, Anne Mather, Carole Mortimer, Sara Craven, Penny Jordan, Michelle Reid, Kate Walker, Lucy Monroe, Anne McAllister and I'm sure that I forgot someone! LOL

Virginia said...

There are a lot of great author today and I really enjoy their books, but my all time favorite is Constance O'Banyon. I just love her books. She is who really got me started reading back in the early 80's and I have collected all of her books over the years and go back and read them ever so often. I just love her books, most are historicals based in Texas and my favorite would be Rebel Temptress.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Robyn - another vote for L M Montgomery - I must admit, I've only read one of her books.

Donna - LavrleSpencer has written some wonderful books - I loved Morning Glory and The Fulfillment

Becky - you've given more some more names to add to by TBR pile (just what I don't need!)I've enjoyed the Nora Roberts books I've read but you'd need a lifetime to keep up with all she writes!

kimberly h - I think we always remember the author who 'introduced' us to romance(mine would have to be Anne Mather) and Scary Kate is always telling me I should try Jill Shalvis - so I'll add her to my list too!

Lidia - as I would have expected, your list is echoing mine almost as much as julie's . Thank you for the honour of including my books on your list too.

Virginia - Constance O'Banyon is another new name to me - on your recommendation, I'm going to have to look her out