Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Author Interview with Kate Walker

Hey everyone!  It's been a week of guest posts!  Today with have the wonderful Kate Walker here to chat about her latest novel, Return of the Stranger.  (I also apologize for being completely MIA for the past four days.  I've been sick and Internet has been fritzy and things just all around have been bleh.)  But anyway, without further ado, I present to you, Kate Walker and Return of the Stranger!

What inspired you to write this novel?

The original idea came from an editorial through my editor. They had an idea they said -  a mini series of books that were based around some of the classics of romantic fiction.   Not copying them but taking the classic book as the springboard and using it to create a whole new story, a modern and contemporary take on the story. The whole series was to be called The Powerful and The Pure. Originally the book they suggested that I let myself be inspired by was North and South – the book by Elizabeth Gaskell which was hugely popular because of a wonderful TV series based on it, starring Richard Armitage. But I was worried that perhaps American readers might think this was the North and South written by John Jakes and televised starring Patrick Swayze. It was when the Executive Editor realised that I had loved and studied the Bronte sister and their books for years – growing up near Haworth where they lived, studying their books for both my first degree and my MA and that I had a special love for Wuthering Heights that she asked me to use that as my book. Then I had to let the wonderful original classic inspire me and make me create something new. I could never just copy the plot of the original, but thinking about the characters, the atmosphere, the high-voltage intensity of the story inspired me to create my own book.   The Return of The Stranger is a  Presents style/Modern Romance new take on an old story.  It might be inspired by a classic but I’ve taken the characters, brought them into the 21st century and made the story my own.

Do you use the same writing process for each novel you've written or does it change from work to work?

Well, this one was that bit different because of the way that the editors wanted the mini series to be, but in the end, it meant that to create a book that was mine and not a weak copy of the original, I had to turn to my personal writing process to make it work. And that process is working to get to know my characters, digging deep into their personalities, seeing who they are and what makes them tick.   I do this following a sort of character questionnaire, like the one I have given in my how to guide -  the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance as a basis for knowing them, adding more and more layers as they grow in my imagination.  - Then I need to look at what the conflict is between them – why they can’t be together and just fall into each other's arms!  I create a situation that will create that tension and build on it so that they seem further apart than ever. And all the time I am asking myself why this is happening, why they feel this way. Of course I also need to ask myself why they will eventually fall in love and how the conflict can be resolved so that they can have their happy ending. I let the scenes of the story grow from these questions and ideas.

Is being a well-published author different from what you had expected when you had first started out?

Being a published author is constantly changing, the longer I do it. I started out with a manual typewriter, turning in a book when I could, waiting two years or more for it to be published, doing very little promotion, not even having the books go into different lines – there was no Modern Romance etc in the UK. Now I work on a computer, submit by email, connect with readers through the internet, and have fixed deadlines. . . I never expected that I would go to America and meet readers there. One thing I never ever expected was that I would be so much in demand to teach writing - and that I would end up writing the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance so that now lots of people write to me to tell me how much it’s helped them. I regularly run courses in Wales and all over the UK and next year I’ll be teaching a week long residential course in Tuscany - I certainly never saw that coming!  One of the things that I am most proud of is that in my 25+ years as a published author I have kept up with the changes, kept current – and kept selling. I’ve never strongly changed my style but learned from what is being published now – and what is selling now
 
Promotion is essential for all authors in building a fan-base and reaching new readers.  How do you promote yourself and your work, and what would you recommend to other authors?


When I started out there was no internet, no web site, no Facebook . . . . I’ve had to learn to use those and to promote my work this way. There is much  more competition to promote and be seen then there ever was when I started out.  I have a web site, a blog and a Facebook page – they’re great ways of being able to connect with readers and hopefully get them interested in my books.  I live in the UK and one of my greatest markets is in America- another is Japan – so obviously I can never – or very rarely – get to actually meet up and chat with those readers. I've  been to several Romance Writers of America conferences  and they were great opportunities to meet readers, but I can’t do that every day. So that’s where my blog and web site come in. But I do think that authors should always remember that it’s the writing that comes first – always. The promotion is fine when you have a new book out but if social networking takes you away from actually writing a book then it’s a real waste of time. The other thing is that I know readers hate the hard sell – the ‘Here’s my book – buy it!’ approach. So I prefer to use my blog  etc to keep up a conversation with my readers, tell them what I’m doing my my life, what I’m enjoying – what my cats are doing! -  in amongst that will obviously be news about my books because that’s what I do – but I don’t want to push them down readers’ throats. I hope they’ll think I’m seem interesting and appealing and  so they’ll think my books will be too.

Here's a fun question to wrap it up: If your hero could honeymoon anywhere, where would that be?


In The Return of The Stranger,  my hero - Heath comes back after so many years away, he has made a new life for himself by going to Brazil and working there. He’s made himself a fortune out there too, and bought a huge estate where he breeds horses. Kat has stayed at home in Yorkshire all that time, so I’m positive he would want to take her to South America to show her his new home and his very different way of life.  They would travel to Brazil where he has a huge, luxurious estate that would provide plenty of privacy and comfort.

Blurb:

Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer. When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...Revenge - and Kat - will be his!

 Buy here!

 From Kate Walker's Website - The Return of the Stranger

UK Cover
US Cover

 Amazon UK - The Return of the Stranger

 Amazon US - The Return of the Stranger

 Kate's Website - 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

Amazon UK - 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

Amazon US - 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

Where can readers find you?


Website 

Blog

Facebook

Author Page created by Romance Book Paradise Promotions.

24 comments:

  1. Hi Marlena, thanks for hosting Kate, you ask some fabulous questions!

    Hey all friends, Kate Walker has decreed: ONE LUCKY COMMENTER WILL BE GETTING A SIGNED BOOK! Winners choice from her backlist!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A weeks residential course in Tuscany? Wow, wish I could come. Do you run these every year Kate?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Marlena

    Thanks for hosting Kate:)

    Great questions! I learned a lot. Amazing to see how writing has evolved through the introduction of technology and how the different marketing avenues need to be used to generate awareness of your product.

    Thanks guys:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. ...well done, Marlena ;)

    That may be the best written blurb, (which are always tough to drum out in the first place,) that I've read in quite some time.

    Congrats, Kate on your newest release!

    El

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Kate,

    I am so glad to see your back home safely from your holiday!

    Marlene I loved the interview you asked so really good questions !

    Kate the more I read and hear about The Return of the Stranger the more curious I get I simply must must must read it !

    I so wish it was available to buy over here already I be at the store in a heartbeat !

    But untill then I am not giving up trying to win a copy so I ll be stalking you every step of the tour ! But please do not think I am only here for prizes I have allways loved talking to you and hearing your stunning advise for writers so even if no prises I would stil be here there and everywhere your work is all kinds of awesome !

    Take Care
    Desere

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great interview. Now I really need to read Wuthering Heights. I'll probably read your book first and then WH. I'm just curious what other books are in the series and if they are connected by anything but the theme of writing a book based on a classic?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I imagine it would have been both fun and challenging to come up with a new twist to an old tale. Congrats on your new release. Wishing you tons of success with it.

    Thanks to both of you for providing an interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very interesting questions - loved the post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh - 8 comments already! I'd better catch up. Thanks for dropping by Nas - and for setting up this visit to Marlena's blog. I'm loking forward to meeting some new friends.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Susie - that teaching course in Tuscany - next year will be the first time I'll be running this one. I was approached by the owners of The Watermill at Posara (http://watermill.net/) and asked if I would be interested in running a course there. It was a hard decision ;o) - a week teaching in Italy, in an idyllic setting, food and wine provided . . . but I soon made up my mind! So it starts in October next year and, hopefully if we get the students signing up, it will continue.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Elaine - publishing has changed and developed so much since I first started - and yes, now there are all these new avenues and different ways to promote your work - and different ways to read it of course! It can be difficult to keep up with them all. That's why I appreciate people like Nas Dean who has helped me set up this blog tour

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Elliott and thank you for your congratulations on my new book release. The blurb is taken from the back of the UK edition and when my editor sent it to me I was very pleased with it - I think it really captures the atmosphere of the book

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Desere - good to see you again! My trip wasn't exactly a 'holiday' - I was teaching a workshop and gave a talk in the afternoon so I was busy.

    >>Kate the more I read and hear about The Return of the Stranger the more curious I get I simply must must must read it !

    That's what I hoped you'd feel! When do the books get to you? I hgope you enjoy it when you get your hands on it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kaelee - the other books in the series are:
    The Matchmaker Bride (Emma by Jane Austen) by Kate Hewitt
    The Forbidden Wife (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) by Sharon Kendrick
    In Want of A Wife (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) by Cathy Williams

    No - they're not connected in any other way than that they are in this The Powerful and The Pure mini-series. If you do read Wuthering Heights I think you'll find it a very different book from the version I have created - some people find it too dark and cruel to really enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello JL - you're right - it was both fun and a challenge - but more of a challenge with this particular book. But I'm proud of the way it turned out in the end. Thank you so much for your wishes for success for it - I have my fingers crossed

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Xandra - they were good questions, weren't they. Marlena set up an interesting interview - and they're the ones it's easy to make an interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Kate!

    I haven't read Wuthering Heights as well, but maybe it's time I pick that up, just to see if I can spot the underlying premise of it from The Return of the Stranger!

    It's great to see how the story was inspired! And promo during days of non-internet etc.. I feel you did awesome :) I am just unable to imagine such a scenario!

    Great questions, Marlena.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Welcome back, Marlena; the weekend wasn't the same without your SNL post. :) And I hope you get to feeling better very soon.

    Kate, I've always been attracted to books that put a new spin on a classic tale. What a great idea, and I love that you chose Wuthering Heights as your inspiration. I like that this series is a combination of having a framework yet scope to be creative, and I also appreciate your advice about social media.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Kate, Marlena,

    Great interview! I haven't read Wuthering Heights yet, but after reading do much about it, i think it's about time i start hunting down a copy of it.

    Kate, i am just in awe of your book 'The Return of the Stranger'. I am so hyped up about reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Helo Ju - if you do decide to read Wuthering Heights, you'll find it is a rather different novel from mine - dark and difficult. I had to work hard to give my book the needed happy ending.
    And yes - trying to do promo when there was no internet was a totally different game. It makes me feel old to think of it!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi again Michelle - I'm glad you like the idea of putting a new spin on a classic. Some people, mistakenly, have thought it plagiarism. I have to admit I didn't choose Wuthering Heights - the editors asked me to do that one. But it was the book I would have chosen if I'd had the choice.
    I'll look forward to joining you on your blog soon

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Sonali - it's interesting that the publication of this book has started a whole new interest in Wuthering Heights! I do hope that you enjoy The Return of The Stranger when you get to read it

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Marlena, loved your interview with Kate Walker. hope to get more spicy updates from you soon.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Kritisha Thanks for visiting - I'm glad you liked the interview.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for dropping by!