Sunday, October 02, 2011

And What Happened Next . .. By Kate Walker

Why do we read novels?  To relax?  To escape from the stresses and  troubles of the world? (I’ve been trying to do that with a lot of things this year!)  To learn new things?  To indulge in fantasy? 

All of those, I’m sure – but for me the most important part of reading fiction is  because my curiosity is  sparked, I get involved with the characters, I start out on a journey with them. I watch the hero and heroine of a story  meet, get to know each other – then something comes between them – a problem develops – they argue . . .and what happens next?   That’s what keeps me turning the pages. I want to know what happens next.

Of course, in  a romance novel, we already know how the story is going to end. That’s the promise that Harlequin, and the author, makes to the reader – that no matter what happens to the hero and heroine along the way, they will end up with a happy ever after ending. But we want to know  how they are going to get there – what happens next?

This is what got me fascinated by Wuthering Heights - When I was eleven, I was  at a very small junior school that was in an old building, where the wiring wasn't very reliable. The was in West Yorkshire where the weather was often wild, and storms could break over the hills with great drama and  force.  One day there was a huge thunderstorm, great flashes of lightning, and the lights in the whole building fused.  We were sitting in darkness, with  a lot of the girls getting scared and screaming when the thunder roared and the lightning flashed. (Not me - I have always loved storms and still do.)

To distract us from getting worried and while waiting for the electricity to be restored, the teacher - told us to sit quietly and he would tell us a story.  The story he told was about a man who returned home to his farm, high on the Yorkshire moors, bringing with him an orphan gipsy boy he has found in the streets of Liverpool . The farmer already had a son and daughter, Hindley and Catherine - and the gipsy boy's name was of course Heathcliff. This story was the beginning of the classic romantic novel  - Wuthering Heights.

I never got to hear the end of the story that day because the lights came back on before my teacher had got past the point where Heathcliff and Cathy fight, and Heathcliff runs away,  to go and make his fortune. I never learned what happened when he came back - because it was  obvious that he did come back - and I always wanted to know.  But of course most of the story of Heathcliff's revenge was probably not suitable for young children.

But the story stayed with me and I wanted to know so much about it.  I wanted to know what happened next.   It was some years later that I found a book on my mother's bookshelf and, opening it, saw the names I remembered so well. I started to read  - and didn't put it down until I had finished. It was an amazing story - but  it never had the happy ending that I had hoped for. 

So I was excited when editorial told me about the mini series The Powerful and the Pure  where authors were inspired by the classic stories of romantic fiction and using them as a  springboard created a whole new romance for the Presents line.  This time I could create my own ‘what happens next’ – the one that I’d been wanting to know about all that time when I was younger.

So I wrote The Return of the Stranger. It’s not Wuthering Heights – it’s a brand new story. You don’t need to know anything about the original to reader it. And, I hope enjoy it.  Lots of readers in the UK have already loved it - it was the #1 bestseller on  the Mills & Boon  website for the whole  month of August after its release here in the UK.  It also had a great five star review that said:
Mrs Walker triumphantly produces a powerful and intense novel which involves your emotions from start to finish. Heath is a super hero full of brooding passion and the delightful Katherine evokes your sympathy. Not to be missed - as they say they saved the best till last.

This blog is just one part of my great big blog tour (you can find the details here)  to celebrate the publication of The Return of the Stranger – so I hope you’ll join me as I  visit lots of different blogs all over the world.  There are  posts, writing advice – and lots of giveaways.  And talking of giveaways, I have a copy of my book Bedded By The Greek Billionaire  to give  away with this post – just tell me what is the latest  book  made you think ‘what happened next . . ‘  so that you couldn’t put it down but just had to keep turning the pages. And all the posters in the comments section will be put into a draw to win a copy of this book.
Kate Walker’s The Return of the Stranger is out now in the UK and published on October 4th in Presents Extra in America or Sexy Romance in Australia. You can find out more details over on Kate's Web site – with all the most up to date news on her blog.


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Kate, The Return of the Stranger was a wonderful romance. I've also enjoyed your blog tour.

runner10 said...

Emily and Einstein by Linda Frances Lee. This is the first book I have read by her. I will definitely be looking for more of her books.

Kaelee said...

Kate ~ That's a great memory to have about your teacher, the storm and the story. I am looking forward to reading The Return of the Stranger.

Desere said...

Hi Kate, that is very nice memory thanks for sharing. The latest book that I read that I could not put down and finished it in one sitting was His Poor Little Rich girl by Melanie Milburne I just had to get to the end to see what happend !

Thanks for a great post and for the chance to win !


Melanie Milburne said...

Hi Kate,
I loved Wuthering Heights and can't wait to read your version of it, including the HEA.
It's a great cover, isn't it? So brooding and Heathcliffish!

marybelle said...

NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman did this to me. I was transfixed by the world he had created. Genius!! **SPOILER** - when Richard returned to London Below at the end of the book I wanted to follow.

Nas Dean said...

Hello Kate,

THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER is a very intense story and I enjoyed it very much!

Kate Walker said...

So sorry to be late coming back to reply - pressure of work, unexpected visitors and not very reliable health mean I'm not keeping up as much as I would like. But I'm here now so . . .

Kate Walker said...

Marilyn - thank you. As a long-term reader it means a lot to me that you enjoyed The Return of the Stranger. I hope you'll continue to follow the blog tour too - there's plenty more to come.

Kate Walker said...

Hi runner - I don't know that name at all, I must look for her - but if you have more boks by her to get hold of that's great - I hope you enjoy them too

Kate Walker said...

Hi Kaelee - that has always been a special memory of mine to - it was a time when the force of a story hit me so hard I couldn't let it go. And Wuthering Heights has been a book that has been part of my life ever since.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Desere - thnkas for commenting - I'm glad you liked the memory - and did you notice who is the next person to comment after you! I hope Melanie read your praise for her book

Kate Walker said...

Hi Desere - thnkas for commenting - I'm glad you liked the memory - and did you notice who is the next person to comment after you! I hope Melanie read your praise for her book

Kate Walker said...

Hello Melanie - I hope you saw how much Desere liked your book! I hope you enjy my take on Wuthering Heights if you read the book - and yes, the cover angels were so kind to me with this one - the USA/Australian cover is good but the UK one . . .

Kate Walker said...

Marybelle - my son would agree with your about Neil Gaiman's books he thinks they are brilliant. I think it's amazing when authors create a world that is so believeable that you want to live in it.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Nas - I'm so happy you enjoyed The Return of The Stranger - and that you found it intense! I wanted it to be that way!

Kate Walker said...

To pick a winner, I had to go and find Charlie my Maine Coon cat - if you didn't hear, sadly we lost Sid who usually picks the winners to cancer ten days ago - so Charlie has taken over prize winner duties. And he was running wild in the garden!

But he's now done his duty and the winner is MARYBELLE - Marybell please email me kate AT so that I can have your postal address to send your priz eto.

Desere said...

Hi Kate,

Yes I did see who commented after me and I do hope she saw the praise for her book lol she is my very favorite author in the whole wide world and I will never get enough of her work ,dont understand me wrong I do adore your books , it is just that I have this really special place in my heart for books by Melanie , I feel connected to them some how , no matter the story she just I dont know how to decribe it but even if I feel down I can read a new or re-read a old Melanie Book and I always feel better

Take Care

Pat Cochran said...

I'm currently re-reading a story set
just after the Civil War in what was
called the Utah Territory. The book
was written by Elizabeth Lowell and
is entitled Reckless Love. I can't
recall exactly how the story ended
and what I have read so far causes
me to wonder what happens next. Can
only be sure that I would certainly
read any following novels!

Pat Cochran

Sonali said...

Hi Kate...sorry for being late. Well the last book which i read in which i wondered what happened next was the last book in the Twilight Saga.

marybelle said...

WOW!! I'm having a lucky streak. THANK YOU!!

Nas Dean said...

Congrats Marybelle!

Friends, next Kate would be visiting with a book giveaways, here: