Saturday, July 12, 2014

Escapism - Kate Walker

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks.

Ok,  who am I kidding – it’s been a tough  couple of months  - and the last two weeks have been particularly hard. One of those times when life  gets up and bites you and turns the peace and quiet you’d been hoping for upside down.

My dearest friend – we’ve been friends for over 33 years  and we met when our sons were both in playgroup -  has been fighting breast cancer for  almost 3 years.  But she’s  been losing that fight recently and  3 weeks ago she had to go in to hospice care where she could get the best possible help. At the same time I was called up for jury  service . This meant a long train journey  to travel to the court – sometimes with a long wait between trains if the timings were wrong. Then there were  long difficult hours  in the court.
Sometimes these were spent  waiting and waiting for something to happen. And at other times the jury was actually in the court – and that was not exactly fun by anyone’s description.

Rarely, if ever, have I been so grateful for a good book.  There was all that extra travelling. When I’m used to getting dressed, making a cup of coffee and walking through a door into my office, the trip to the railway station,  train journey, walk to the court – and back at the end of the day, seemed  really long and tiring ion contrast.  The sitting about waiting for something to happen  - well, I’d been warned, so I had preloaded my kindle with plenty to read.

And then at the weekend I was warned that my friend had taken a turn for the worse.  Sadly she died two days later.  I’ve been  feeling lost as so so sad at this and once again I found that the only way to escape from the miserable day was  to bury myself in a book.

So I’ve read plenty -  Last Year’s Bride by Anne McAllister and  Second Chance Bride by Trish Morey were great company in the jury room.  Liz Fielding’s  For His Eyes Only and  This House is Haunted by John Boyne   helped those train journeys  pass. And  a great psychological thriller Precious Thing by Colette McBeth  kept me focusing on its mystery and tension when I couldn’t cope with much else.

If ever I wanted a classic example of why ‘escapist’ books are so valuable – contrary to the opinions of those who  might look down their noses at ‘light reads’.   These books were friends when I needed them, distractions when I needed distraction, and fillers of empty spaces of time when I wanted  that.

Some years ago I received an email from a reader  who wrote to tell me how much she had enjoyed one of my older books – His Miracle Baby. That’s always a welcome event but this time it was particularly lovely to read this one. The book had originally been bought by this reader’s mother who then passed it on to her
daughter when she had to get on a plane to visit her sick father in another state in USA.  Knowing her daughter was fearful of flying, she gave it to her to read on the flight, and it distracted her from the worry she normally felt.  That was good enough for me but there was more.

At the hospital, waiting for news of her father, she finished the book – shared it with her sister, her aunt, even her male cousin. It helped distract them from their worries,  fill those anxious hours.  And then, when everyone in the family had read it, the nursing staff – particularly those on duty at night – were able to share it and relax during their long shifts in the dark hours. 

Luckily my reader’s father recovered, which was great news. But as a writer the great news for me was the way that my light romance novel provided the perfect escapee from stress and worry for people who needed it. I’ve experienced that for myself this past few weeks and I’m truly grateful to the people who wrote the books who helped me through some difficult days.

It’s another reason why I’m proud to write what I do – why I’m never insulted or feel criticised when what I write is  described as escapist. That’s fine by me. And if I what I wrote helps someone through a hard time then I’m doubly pleased – couldn’t be more so.

What about you? Have  you read a particular book that helped you through a bad time?  Or is there one you turn to again and again knowing it will cheer you up when you’re feeling down? I hope so.

A Question of Honour  - or A Question of Honor depending on whether you're reading the Mills and  Boon Modern edition or the  Harlequin  Presents one  is out now .

And the new, revised and updated Kindle edition  of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide
to Writing Romance is now available on Amazon  at a much lower price than the old paperback.

You can find out more about Kate Walker and her books over on her web site  which has just been updated with new information added.

And there is all the up to date news on her blog   or Facebook page


Virginia C said...

Kate--I am so sorry for your loss. All of my immediate family has passed away, and so have some very dear friends who were "like family". I treasure my remaining friends and my precious pets. I agree with other readers who have stated that your books were helpful to them in difficult times. As you know, I am a longtime fan of the powerfully emotional stories that you write. I am glad that there are books by other writers who strike a resonant chord in you own reader's heart. I am thinking of you!

Christina Hollis said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Kate. There are times when pain makes it impossible to talk, and only books can offer an escape. You're in my thoughts.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Virginia - your post meant such a lot to me. I know you understand how I'm feeling and the way that like you I treasure my remaining friends and my lets. I'm sorry for your losses - it's the price we pay for love. And you couldn't have said anything more guaranteed to lift any writer's heart than the way you talked of my books. My friend loved them too - comments like yours make my day. Thank you.

Kate Walker said...

Thank you so much Christina - you're so right. At the moment I can't talk about her and when the loss hurts too much I don't want to think either - that is when books are a great solace. Thank you