Saturday, April 12, 2014

Achieving a dream? with Kate Walker

When you were young,  you have a dream of what you wanted most  from life? Was there a job you wanted
to do?  A special type of  man you wanted to marry? A certain number of children you wanted?  

Well, when  I was small – almost from the moment that I could write anything  down, I wanted to be a writer –a novelist, with my name on the jackets of books you could find in the shops.  I used to make up stories all the time, sometimes when we were on car journeys – to help to pass the time, sometimes when trying to get to sleep, sometimes (and I admit I sometimes got into  trouble for this) at school in classes  when I wasn’t interested.   I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be a writer, but  no one was ever encouraging. In fact, some people were really  the opposite – telling me to stop dreaming and to  plan on having a ‘sensible’ career.  Perhaps, like my mother, I could be a teacher?
Well, I took their advice – to start with.  I worked hard at school, studied at university, gained  degrees and a professional qualification – as a  children’s librarian. Not a teacher. I hated the idea of being a teacher. It was  not what I wanted to do!   

And then – well, as  you all know, I became a writer. I have 61 books with my name on them.  And this year I’m celebrating  the 30th anniversary of being  first published.  I achieved that dream.
So I did both –the dream and the sensible option -  and I  escaped being a teacher – didn’t I?  Er – no.
Well, that number of books should be 63 books with my name on them. Because only this last week, I realised that, in spite of everything. In spite of never ever wanting to do it,  I’ve  become a teacher – and I’ve gained quite a reputation for it.   I started out giving talks about my writing. Then I did  short talks about How to Write Romance. Those turned out to be very popular  so I ran a few How To Write Courses . . .  The next thing I knew, I was being asked to do more. . . and more.  And when people wrote from USA or Australia and asked questions about what I taught in those courses ,  and said   how much they wished they could come on them, I wrote a book  called  The 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.  That was published in 2004.  And  that first edition sold out. So I wrote a second edition . . .and a third.

It’s not 10 years since that book first appeared. In that time I’ve been asked to run more and ore courses. I have to be careful not to do too many or they’ll   interfere with writing the novels! I started with running a 
course at the week-long Writers’Holiday. Then they added the weekend course in February – both take me back to Wales, which I love. (After all I went to university in Wales and I met my husband there – so obviously it’s one of my favourite places!)  These are my ‘regular’ courses, I would teach others during the year but nothing else so regularly. But now I’ve been asked to run some course for  Relax andWrite  which aims to – well, to do exactly what it says on the tin.  Again, I started with plans for one weekend course. Then two – now there are two courses, a writing retreat, and plans for more . . .

Hmm – it seems I’ve ended up being a teacher after all. And  the courses are almost always sold out.  When I asked some students to comment on how a course had gone, one student told me that: “coming on your courses is like a blood transfusion, minus the blood!”

So this year, I’ve decided to admit that perhaps I  do want to be  teacher– at least when I’m teaching the thing that I love doing – and that’s writing romance.  Because of this, I wanted to take that 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and make it available to more people. There wasn’t an ebook – and the book was difficult to get if you were in America or Australia or Canada . . . And it was expensive!

So I got my rights to the book back and I decided that I would  self-publish an ebook  edition – and that I would make sure that this time the book was easily and cheaply available to everyone who wanted a copy.  I didn’t know what I was doing  but I needn’t have worried – I had fantastic help from  the lovely Lee Hyat here at   at Author Sound Relations – who also designed me a fabulous cover. And so this last week, I finally published the Kindle edition of the 12 Point Guide. At the moment it’s on a special introductory price of  
$0.99 . And the new cover looks like this:

The book has been flying out of Amazon, so it turns out    that perhaps I have become well known as a teacher too after all! Oh well, my mother  and the teachers at my school who said I should do that will be delighted! I’m happy to have achieved both my dream of becoming a published novelist  - and this ‘sensible’   achievement of being a teacher as well.

Special thanks must go to Lee Hyat for helping me with this. And to everyone who bought a copy of the 12 Point Guide this week – or at any time in the past.

The special introductory price comes to an end this weekend – so if you want to grab a copy while it’s on sale, you want to move fast. Bit afterwards it’s still only going up to $3.99  which is a tiny price compared with the   $16  I’ve seen quoted for  the past paperback  (or even  - eeek  ! -  $93  used!)

And, I know it’s a long shot but – if you should ever want to come on one of my courses, then you can find the details on my Events page. on my web site.

That's where you'll also find all the news and updates about my books - including the new title out in June - A Question of Honor
And all the latest news and interest is on my blog page there.


Sonya said...

Wow, that's not just achieving a dream, over sixty books is amazing! I'm really liking the cover of 12 Point Guide. :)

Noëlle said...

Good for you! I never planned to be a teacher either, but enabling people to develop something they - and you! - love can be so much fun. I'm so glad you're enjoying this un-asked-for aspect of your career!