Wednesday, June 11, 2008


First, many thanks to Melissa McClone for being such a star guest last week. The winner of her Wedding Planners book is Mulberry, so if you’ll get in touch with your snail mail addy, Mulberry at liz, your prize will be in the post asap.

My guest this week is a very special friend. Kate Walker is one of those women who light up the room the minute she walks through the door. The greeting is always the same. A huge hug for me, a bigger one for the dh and a smile as wide as her face. Interesting that Kate says she was a little bit afraid of me. I can remember walking into a meeting, feeling a bit out of my depth amongst such well known names and it was Kate who spoke first, said, “Hi Liz” with a good-to-see-you-here welcome, that made me feel as if I actually belonged.

Kate is what can only be described as a “people” person. Her energy seems boundless. No matter how busy, how stretched on her own deadline rack, she’s always ready with a supportive, reassuring email that will lift the flagging spirits on those days, weeks, months, when the writing is not going well. Always there with her good advice.

So many now-published authors have reason to be grateful for her advice and her 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is now a standard work, a must read for anyone who aspires to understand the requirements of such a demanding genre.

Then, of course, there are her books -- more than 50 of them now. Full of passion, full of those fabulous Mediterranean heroes and the feisty heroines who match them every step of the way. Real take-me-away-from-all-this reads, a treat after a tough day when there is only football on the television. (Go Holland!)

Go Kate...

I love celebrations. Specially when they mean I can get to celebrate things that I really value, with friends who are important to me.

So joining Liz to celebrate her 50th title is a real thrill for me because it includes all those things in one. I’m so happy to be cheering for Liz’s 50th title because it’s such a fantastic achievement, and Liz is such a very special lady that celebrating with her is a real pleasure - plus I have to say that I've read that 50th 'golden' book (The Bride's Baby) and I just loved it. I fell hard for Tom when he appeared here on Liz's blog for our joint 'Here Come the Grooms' Contest that we run annually with Anne McAllister and I just loved his story. So many many Congratulations to you Liz - thank you for 50 wonderful books. And here's to 50 more! (You can manage that can't you?)

As many of you will know, I celebrated this particular milestone myself last year so I have a special appreciation of just how much it takes to get there. And of course Liz has managed to collect one or two awards along the way . . . a couple of RITAs, The RNA Romance Prize, The Romantic Times, Love and Laughter Career Award . . . (Phew! Kate fans herself, just thinking of them all!) which makes this special celebration all the more wonderful, particularly when it comes in this special centenary year for Mills & Boon.

So I suppose that right now is also a good time to look back a bit. Back over 100 years, 50 books . . . I have to admit that speaking personally I never thought I would see myself as I am today. I might have wished - but I didn't dare dream that it might happen. Way back when, when I was growing up and I used to say that I wanted to be a writer, then friends and family, and schoolteachers all shook their heads, usually laughing as they did so. I shouldn’t be so foolish as to dream of any such thing, they told me. It was all just a fantasy - something I should forget about and concentrate on getting a 'sensible' job instead. So I did that. I worked hard on my exams, got to university, trained to be a librarian. I worked as a Children's librarian too. I enjoyed it - it's one of the best jobs in the world. But it's not the best job. The dream job. The one I really dreamed of doing.

And I didn't give up on that dream.

Let's cut a long story short. Way back in 1984, I achieved the first part of that dream. I had my first book published. I thought that was the dream come true. That this was as good as it got. I was wrong. Each year just seems to keep getting better. Just this month, I've been to the opening of the Mills and Boon Centenary Exhibition in Manchester, I have a new book out in print form and - well, as I said on another blog I'm swamped by Spaniards. My latest book - Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife is being used to promote a new initiative with a company called Daily Lit who supply books in instalments, by email. I think the nationality of the hero in that is pretty obvious! Then a trilogy I wrote in 2003 called The Alcolar Family - about 2 Spanish brothers and their sister - is being republished both as an ebook bundle and a By Request print book complete in one volume here in the UK. Another Spaniard makes a reappearance in The Duke's Secret Wife as part of the special Centenary Collection to celebrate M&B's 100th birthday. And, guess what - the hero of the book I've just had accepted (Cordero's Forced Bride) is a sexy Spaniard too.

But while I'm swamped by Spaniards, I'm also celebrating the fact that they're all being published, or republished in this very special year, making it a very special year for me too. And most of all I'm celebrating the fact that I held on to that dream. That I never lost sight of it in spite of the lack of encouragement, the rejections when I first submitted. (Luckily there were only 2 of them!) So now I can celebrate too - celebrate how far I've come in fulfilling that dream - the one that nobody really believed I'd ever manage.

And even better, I can celebrate with wonderful friends. Friends I would never have made if I hadn't ventured into this world of writing romance and met other authors who shared this love of creating characters, making up stories and writing them down. That's how I came to meet Liz of course. (I'll tell you a secret here. At the beginning, I was really quite scared of Liz - well, not of Liz herself, but of her books. She writes so wonderfully - well, you know that, don't you? I used to read her books and think - 'I could never write like this!' And I was so much in awe of her writing that I was in awe of Liz too. But once I met her I realised what a lovely person she is too - a delight to be with. Just like her books really)

So now I'm here, celebrating - celebrating my books, and the way I confounded all those people who said I'd never achieve my dream. Celebrating Mills & Boon's 100th birthday, and all those wonderful books that I have coming out - all those Spaniards. But most of all I'm celebrating Liz's wonderful golden 50 books and the joy of having her in my life as a favourite author and as a friend. It doesn't get much better than that.

To give you a taste of one of those Spaniards appearing this month, here's an extract from the opening of Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife. (Sadly, at this stage, my hero and heroine, Raul and Alannah don't have too much to celebrate)

THE hands on the clock didn’t seem to have moved even once in all the time that she had been sitting here. Alannah could have sworn that every time she glanced up at the big white circle that hung on the green painted wall opposite then the big hand and the little hand were in exactly the same position as they had been the last time she had looked, making a mockery of the audible sound of the minutes ticking away.

She felt as if she had been here all afternoon – almost all her life. And yet time hardly seemed to have moved on from the moment she had arrived and taken her place in the rather worn armchair in the middle of the room.

From here she could watch the door. She could see the approach of anyone coming near through the clouded pane of glass, and be ready if the door should open and the man she was expecting appeared.

The man she was expecting? Dreading would be more like it, Alannah admitted to herself, green eyes clouding rapidly.

She shook her head so that the red-gold swathe of her hair tossed along her shoulders, straggling strands escaping from the black elasticated band into which she had confined it before leaving home that morning, and rubbed the back of her hand across her eyes in a vain attempt to drive away the weariness and apprehension that clutched at her.

She knew she looked pale and wan. The stress and sorrow of the past few days and drained every last drop of pink from her cheeks, tears had dimmed the brightness of her eyes, and the set of her fine features reflected the strain of the nightmare week she had just endured. The grey skirt she had pulled on together with a plain black, long-sleeved tee shirt, her mind too battered to even think of anything else, did nothing for her appearance. It took even more colour from her skin and left it looking lifeless and wan. And she hadn’t had either the time or the inclination to think about adding any artificial colour with a touch of makeup before she had left her flat. The need to know that her mother was settled at her aunt’s house, heavily sedated because of the shock, had been much more important than any personal grooming.

Still, what did that matter? The man she was here to see wouldn’t give a damn about her appearance or how she was dressed. He wouldn’t want to see her here in the first place and he’d be even less happy about it when he heard what she had to say.

‘Of course Mr Marcín . . .’

A sudden bustle in the corridor beyond the door alerted her, the sound of the all-too-familiar name confirming her suspicions. Not that she’d needed them confirmed. Whenever and wherever Raul Marcín appeared, it seemed that instantly everything was bustle and activity. Even the air around him appeared enlivened, stirring and swirling in a way that left other more ordinary humans catching their breath in the suddenly rarefied atmosphere.

Once she had been part of that atmosphere, carried along on the tidal wave of energy and power that Don Raul Esteban Marquez de Marcín created as he strode through life, arrogant dark head held high, golden eyes blazing. But not any more. Not since she had fled that world and all it brought with it.
And she was well out of it.

It was a world of power and money, yes – but there had also been cold deceit and even icier hearted manipulation. Don Raul Marcín took what he wanted from people - from women – and used them to fulfil his own desires, without a thought for their feelings. He’d done that to her. And he would have discarded her too, she had no doubt. He would have tossed her aside when the purpose she had served was finished – done with. But luckily for her vulnerable heart and before the foolish emotions she had allowed herself to feel had become so deeply embedded in her spirit that she could have had no hope of ever tearing them out by the roots, she had discovered the truth about their relationship. And that truth had set her free. Making her run as far and as fast as she could, never looking back, and never wanting to see Raul Marcín ever again.

Which was how she would have wanted it to stay. Except that now she had no choice. None at all. She had to face Raul Marcín once again. Face him and tell him things she had no doubt that he did not want to hear.

So that’s why I’m celebrating today. And we all know why Liz is celebrating – but what are you celebrating this year? It can be anything – big or small. The fact that you’ve won a million on the lottery – or just the fact that the sun is shining today.

Let’s share some of the good news .

I have a signed copy of Spanish Billionare, Innocent Wife to give away to someone who posts some lovely good news, a cause for celebration, in the Comments section.

And as I just received my own copies of The Duke’s Secret Wife, I’ll slip one of those into the package too – after all, we’re celebrating, aren’t we?

Thanks so much, Kate! I've already read the book, so I know just how great it is, so dive in for a chance to win a copy and good luck!


BethRe said...

I love Kate's books, I have some good news last Saturday June 7th was my hubby's and my 22nd wedding anniversary, this Saturday the 14th I'll be celebrating my birthday, along with my mother who's birthday is the same day!

Estella said...

I enjoy Kate's books.
At my age just waking up in the morning is good news.

Virginia said...

I love Kate's books, to me just getting up and having a good day is time for celebrating. Although I did quit smoking. I have noy had a cig since May 31 and I have smoked for 39 years so I guess that is a reason to celebrate.

robynl said...

Kate and Liz, here's to many more books and congrats on #50.
I'm celebrating dh's and my retirement last year. Things are really falling into place as we get the hang of retirement. We get to be around each other more now and there is no 'he's late for supper again' and 'how shall I keep the meal hot'; no phone ringing at 11:00 p.m. and a trucker wanting to unload fertilizer so he can continue on and get his next load. OH NO, things are looking up as we get to stay up late(as we're night owls)and sleep in late(as long as my friend doesn't phone, lol.) Life is so much more relaxed.

Nicola Marsh said...

My gorgeous little bub sleeping through from 11-6am for a week straight is huge cause for celebration here, Kate.

After not having sleep for years (kinder kid wasn't a great sleeper either) this is indeed the type of news I want to throw a party for :)

Liz Fielding said...

Congrats on all the birthdays, Bethre. Hope you have a great time. We have four family birthdays in a month at this time of year, too. Such a great time of year!

Estella, you are too funny!

Virginia, many, many congrats. My dh was a really heavy smoker way back when we first got together. He gave up finally when our daughter was born over 30 years ago and hasn't taken a puff since. Definitely cause for celebration.

Retirement? Oh, boy, how tempting is that! Glad you're enjoying it, Robyn. And Nicola... Bless you all.

Annie West said...

Hi Kate! I'm giggling at the thought of you swamped by Spaniards. What would the BM say? Tsk!

So many great causes to celebrate. Nicola's news of bub sleeping through in particular strikes a chord - I remember the thrill of that. For me, though it sounds humdrum, I'm celebrating a period of 'normalcy' - of being thankful for health, happiness and life on a relatively even keel. We had a rather manic time earlier this year but at the moment everyone in the family is well (touch wood) and we're not currently faced with a crisis. Who knows what next week will bring, but in the mean time I think life with good health and smiles is just grand.


Kate Walker said...

Hi everyone! I made it in here at last

Liz - I'm blushing all over at that wonderful and generous write up. You are lovely!

So glad to see so many of you have posted. I'm going to draw breath, make a cup of coffee, and respond to you.

Back in a minute


Kate Walker said...

Hi Beth! A wedding anniversary is always a good thing to celebrate - and so is a birthday. How lovely to share your birthday with your mother. I'll bet you were her favourite birthday present when you were born

Belated Happy Anniversary to you and your husband - and Happy Birthday to you and your Mother for the 14th. Have a wonderful day.

Kate Hardy said...

You were scared of LIZ? Blimey! I was just delighted to meet her and I expected her to be as warm and wonderful as her books - and I was right. (I have this theory that authors are like their books.)

Not entering your comp as I already have a copy of your lovely book (beam). But you want some good news? I just sold my 26th medical (= my 34th Mills & Boon); son has just turned 11; am celebrating my 16th wedding anniversary this summer; and yesterday, for the first time in a very long while, I had peace and quiet and no family traumas/illnesses demanding immediate attention from me, so I actually managed to write a few thousand words. Bliss and a half.

Kate Walker said...

Ooops - well, my visit in here didn't last very long - sorry - I got distracted by an interview for a newspaper and some basic life tasks like shopping etc

Estella- your post made me smile. I sometimes feel that way to ;o) But really you are so right. Just waking up in the morning to another new day really is some of the best news possible.
It certainly beats the alternative!

Long may you continue to wake to another day - and hopefully to enjoy some more of my books (thank you for that)

Kate Walker said...

Virginia, I'm going to send up a special cheer for you for not smoking. It may only seem like a start but it's a great start. Giving up cigarettes is a difficult thing - I've been through it.

I gave up smoking hang on - let me work it out - 20 years ago and I am so so glad that I did. It wasn't easy but I'm glad my days as a smoker are way behind me.

Good luck to you to keep going without smoking

Kate Walker said...

Hi Robyn - it's wonderful to reach that 50th book - and Liz has done it with sucha great story. I'm working on my 55th right now - maybe I'll aim for 100.

How lovely to be enjoying this new stage of life in retirement - it sounds wonderful - so relaxed and enjoyable. I sometimes think that I could enjoy that, but I have a nasty suspicion that the characters in my head would still want tehir stories told!

Enjoy every moment of this special time together

Kate Walker said...

Nicola - that really is a heartfelt cheer for good news ! I can just imagine how wonderful it feels to have had a week of good nights. My son never slept through the night for ages - in fact, he never slept - well, rarely!

He makes up for it now, but it's a little too late - like 29 years!

I do hope the sleeping through continues and you haven't jinxed it by telling us.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Liz

retirement, hmm - can you imagine it? I don't know if I'd be ecstatic - or bored ;o)

But please don't you retire - how would I cope without a new Liz Fielding book to read every now and then?

Kate Walker said...

Hi Annie!

Actually, the BM (for those who don't know, that's the Babe Magnet, my DH) loves it when I'm swamped by Spaniards. He knows it means that my writing has been going well and is sucessful and as a writer himself he understands how good that feels.

But now that I'm working on a story with an Italian hero I'm having a break from the Spaniards while you can all read them.

And I'm with you on celebrating a time of normalcy - hectic can be wearing. Though at the moment here in the UK with the 100th Birthday Celebrations for Mills & Boon there always seems to be something new coming up or just round the corner.

I hope the time of peace, good health and smiles continues for you

Kate Walker said...

Hi Scary Kate!

I wasn't scared of Liz once I met her - but scared of how great a writer she was! Her books are so beautifully written I felt sure that I'm feel overwhelmed when I met her.

But like you, once I met her all that melted away in the warmth of her personality - I'm still seriously in awe of her writing though!

As I'm seriously in awe of your energy and output. I don't want to think how long it took me to write 34 books!

And, as I said to Annie - a time of peace and smiles and no traumas is always worth celebrating.

And friendship - friendship is so worth celebrating so it's wonderful to see so many friends in here.

kimmyl said...

Big Kate Walker fan. I read Spanish Billionare, Innocent Wife and I loved it. I couldn't stop reading it until I finished the whole story.
Life in general is enough to celebrate. After my husband passed away I decided that my kids were only kids for so long and so I tend to enjoy them as much as I possibly can.

Tracy said...

To both Liz and Kate, congrats on the 50 titles!

I too have lots to celebrate. Today is the first time I am posting a comment on anybody’s blog! I have always been to shy, and today I decided to conquer the fear.

I am also celebrating 50! Years that is, and not titles unfortunately. I have also just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary.

But the most exciting news is - in February, I entered the writing competition M&B had running, and though I didn’t win, I was lucky enough to receive a very positive response to my submission, and a request to see the first three chapters and a synopsis of another novel. Now every day, when I put finger to keyboard, I still tingle with excitement.

So, plenty to celebrate!

Annie West said...

Hi Kate, what an wonderfully understanding husband you have! Not many spouses would be pleased to have their wives swamped with foreign heroes. He's obviously a man worth hanging on to. I wonder if, being a writer himself makes him more understanding. Though, imagine if you both had deadlines at the same time!

The Mills and Boon centenary celebrations sound very exciting. I'm enjoying them vicariously from Australia.


michelle Douglas said...

Hi Kate,

I am having a QUIET week - have caught up with good friends for coffee and cake, had relaxing walks (between rain showers) and have even cleaned the house. Am taking slow deep breaths before it gets busy again. Feels like good news to me!

Am thinking you and Liz, both with 50 books behind you, must very rarely get those lovely quiet weeks (will wish a couple your way, ladies, but only if it doesn't interfere with the wonderful books!).

Kate Walker said...

Hi Kimmy

You made my day with your comment on Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much. My sympathies to you on the loss of your husband . And you are so right a loss like that brings home to us how much life itself is for celebrating. The story behind Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife comes from the loss of my beautiful sister-in-law in a tragic car crash when she was only 36.

You are so right to enjoy your children while they are young and I hope that they bring you lots of joy both now and in the future

Kate Walker said...

Hi Tracy

As I've already said, any birthday is cause for celebration - and 50 is just a number. Congratulations on that and on your 25th wedding anniversary - that's a special one.

And extra congratulations to you on that request to see the partial of another submission - that's great news! I always say that editors don't have enough time to write to everyone who submits a manuscript so to get a response means that someone saw something worth following up in your work. I'm not surprised you're tingling with excitement.

Good luck with the new submission and if you get any more good news, I hope you'll let me know

Kate Walker said...

Annie - don't mention dreadlines when both the BM and I have one at the same time (Shudder!) It has happened and it's not funny. If it's only one of us with the dreadline then the other does the cooking and household jobs, but when they're both at the same time things descend into chaos.

I wish you could share in some of the centenary celebrations. They're fun - but exhausting.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Michelle! Your quiet week sounds wonderful - I am so envious! In my 'quiet' times, I sometimes wonder how I ever have time to write because I have so much to catch up on and sort out - blogs, teaching, talks, promos etc - but at least I'm not bored!
Boredom? What's that?

The problem is that if I did have a 'quiet' weekend I'd have so many books I wanted to read, films I wanted to see, people I wanted to have coffee with . . . . ;o)

Dena said...

It's good to see you visiting Kate. I love your stories and haven't been disappointed in all the books I've read from you. I only wish that I would have discovered you sooner to be able to enjoy all your past books.
I'm celebrating my daughter graduating from Grooming School. I have been so worried about her future and what she would do to take care of herself. She was going from one job to the next with no real goals or stability. Well she loves animals and applied for the part time job available at Petsmart for dog washing. It led to her grooming and getting a full time position with something she loves!

Kate Walker said...

Hi Dena - what a wonderful compliment to say you wish you'd found my books sooner. Maybe you'll find some of the older ones still around. And if I'm lucky more of them will appear as reprints or in ebooks like The Alcolar Family,

Congratulations to your daughter on her success. Isn't it great when our children find what they want to do in life and settle into it - and do it well? It's such a relief to know they are happy and secure. That must be a wonderful feeling for you. Congratulations on being Mum to a young adult who's found her place in the world.

Lily said...

I don't have such great news... other than summer is officially here as we had cold weather during the whole month of may!

Nathalie said...

Just being healthy and happy with my family is a good news for me!

Oh... and I also won the 1st prize when presenting a medical case report in an annual event!

Anonymous said...

I will soon be celebrating a new grandchild. This time we hope it is a boy.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Lily!

Summer arriving is good news - specially after a long cold month. We need a bit of sunshine to brighten our days.

Kate Walker said...

Nathalie - being happy and healthy is something we should always value, I know I do!

But that first prize is great news. Congratulations!

Kate Walker said...

Joye - how wonderful to be celebrating the arrival of a brand new gandchild. That really is a joy! (sorry about the pun ;o) )

Dena said...

Thanks Kate for your kind words. I was getting worried and thankfully now she's happy and that makes me happy. Have a great day.

Liz Fielding said...

So many wonderful things to celebrate! Thanks everyone for taking time out to share them with us, and thank you Kate for a great question.

Anonymous said...

Ennjoyed reading the comments. I've read alot of Kate's books and enjoyed them tremendously.