Please give Kate Walker a warm welcome! Kate’s here to chat about her latest release, A Throne for the Taking, and she has a copy for one of you to win after the interview!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Kate Walker] One of a family of five girls. I’m happily married with one grown up son. I live in Lincolnshire UK. I love books – reading and writing, embroidery and cats.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Throne for the Taking?
[Kate Walker] My working title for this book was The Black Sheep Prince. Alexei Sarova, is an exiled, rebellious prince of Mecjoria , living with a scandalous reputation, who has to face up to a new and unexpected destiny when he finds he is now the heir to the throne of the country he thought he had left behind. The person who brings him this news is Honoria Escalona (Ria) who was once his friend before he was banished from the country, but his life since them has changed him from the young man she once knew. And she has grown up into a beautiful woman
Here is the blurb for the book:
A kingdom’s safety…
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend… Alexei Sarova-the true King of Mecjoria.
In exchange for her happiness
But Alexei’s tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria’s family for his bitterness, and his help-when he offers it-comes with a price: he’ll take his rightful place as King with Ria as his wife, until she produces a true-blood heir…
A Throne For the Taking will be published in the Royal and Ruthless miniseries in June.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Kate Walker] The recent marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton has created a lot of interest in the royal family and royal romances are always fascinating with the idea of a fairytale marriage and an ordinary girl becoming a princess. I’d never written a royal romance, but I ran a workshop of writing one in 2011 and thinking about the ideas and emotions involved in such a story intrigued me. I’d read several books where the hero came to find the heroine to tell her that she was really a princess and that started me thinking about turning that idea on its head, with the hero discovering he was a prince. Because of this, Alexei is off balance as the new king, while Ria is the one who knows the ritual and ceremony of the royal family because she has been brought up inside the palace, with her father being Lord Chancellor. But she is the one who has so much to lose personally if Alexei doesn’t agree to take the throne. It’s only later that she realises she could have even more to lose if he does.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Ria?
[Kate Walker] Strong loyal loving
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Alexi had a theme song, what would it be?
[Kate Walker] There’s a wonderful song called The Rose by Bette Midler, which is all about love lying dormant in the cold earth until the sunlight wakes it. Because of his past, Alexei has come to feel like that. And there are a couple of lines that say
It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
There is an important scene in the book where Alexei and Ria dance together and this changes their relationship in a very dramatic way – so those lines fit that scene particularly.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Ria is never without.
[Kate Walker] Her dignity! She has been brought up in the formal atmosphere of the court and taught to keep control over her emotions – in public at least. She is always aware of the fact that she is expected to behave in a particular way – until she meets up with Alexei again and finds that her feelings for him challenge everything she has been taught.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Alexi’s bedroom?
[Kate Walker] It’s easier to say what things would always be in his bedroom – they would be an old camera (a present from his father) and a photograph in his wallet of the only other female in his life before Ria (you’d have to read the book to find out who that is.) And of course, from the moment they realise how attracted to each other, the you will always find Ria in his room!
But the things you wouldn’t find – are the formal ‘trappings’ of the royal life he’s now had to accept. He may have to attend formal receptions, ceremonies etc and so wear a tux or – as on the cover of the book – a uniform and a decorative sash. But in the privacy of his room he discards those, choosing comfort over formality anytime (unlike in the picture on the cover!) His bedroom is a private retreat where he can be himself – a man rather than a Prince. And he always makes sure that his bodyguard stays well outside the room.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Ria’s greatest regret?
[Kate Walker] That she didn’t really understand how difficult Alexei found it trying to fit in with the formality and restrictions of court behaviour when he was much younger. And that she accepted her father’s interpretation of everything that happened, never believing he would lie to her.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You are so prolific! What’s your secret to keeping your stories so fresh?
[Kate Walker] I’m not really as prolific as some authors – some writers create books in a very short time. But my ‘secret’ is simple – it’s my characters. Each book is the story of two different people – the hero and heroine – with their different pasts, different conflicts, different emotional journeys. There are only a few real romance plots and most are variations on a theme. It’s those variations that intrigue me – like making my black sheep prince the one out of his depth in the royal family. And I love putting my characters into situations that will take them a lot of effort and emotional struggles to get out of. Those sorts of problems are what make a tense and page-turning read.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What has changed the most in publishing since you started your career as an author?
[Kate Walker] It’s scary to reckon up that as my first USA title was published in 1986, I’ve been writing for over 25 years! So a lot has changed in that time.
The divisions of the books into so many lines each with their own specific tones, sensuality, plot types etc have developed over the years I’ve been writing., When I first started there was only a ‘Mills & Boon Romance’ in the UK so some of my earliest books came out in Harlequin Romance and some in Harlequin Presents. Then when the lines became more focused, writers had to choose which type of story they most wanted to write. That’s when I concentrated on writing for Presents..
Obviously, romance writing and publishing is always changing and developing – nothing stands still. And one of the great challenges of being a writer is that you have to keep up with the new developments, recognize new themes, abandon old ones that no longer work. That way you keep your writing fresh and up to date
So, what sorts of things have changed? The obvious ones are the way that the books have become more explicit and sensual. Readers no longer expect to have the bedroom door shut in their faces so to speak! Today it’s much more likely that they will be right there with the characters.
Another one is the introduction of the hero’s point of view. One of the biggest changes in writing romance has to be the fact that the readers usually expect that. When I wrote my first book (The Chalk Line ) there was only ever the heroine’s POV and the hero remained a mysterious, distant figure. These days he’s still a mysterious distant figure – to the heroine -but the reader knows much more about him. Now the hero gets equal space with the heroine – or the whole book can be written from his point of view. As a writer, I like the challenge of this. You can study two characters in depth and give insights into both, their feelings and their motivation.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Kate Walker] A pen, paper and somewhere quiet!
Because I started out so long ago when I didn’t have a computer or even a desk of my own – I literally started writing at the kitchen table! – I find that I can work well the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper – or on a keyboard, whatever’s available. In fact now I can often turn to using a pencil and paper if I’m trying to work out a knotty plot point. I find I can scribble things down fast with a pencil and get my ideas flowing to work things through. But I can write almost anywhere and in any way, I’ve even been known to note down ideas/snatches of dialogue/phrases on my phone as I go for my daily walk so I get my exercise and start work at the same time!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Kate Walker] I’ve been enjoying reading some books that are not romances recently. Reading in another genre feeds my imagination and keeps me interested I n writing in a different way to the one I usually follow in my own work. So two great books that really impressed me were:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – a chilling story of the disappearance of Amy Dunne, and what happens to the husband- Nick – she left behind. The story is told from the two different points of view – Amy’s and Nick’s – and you soon realise that you don’t really know who to believe, or which one to trust – if any.
And then there’s The Good Father by Noah Hawley – Dr Paul Allen is a well-respected man. He lives a happy, comfortable life with his second wife and their family. Until the night when a knock at the door blows his world apart: a hugely popular presidential candidate has been shot, and they say the young man who pulled the trigger is Paul’s son. What follows is a powerfully emotional and suspense-filled quest that keeps you guessing to the very end.
I galloped through both of these, not wanting to put them down.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Kate Walker] I do a lot of teaching – writing romance – on courses for weekends and a week- long course. These are in Fishguard in Wales and at Caerleon Writers’ Holidays every year. Sometimes I’m asked to do more but any courses I run are always up on the Events page on my web site.
Obviously I love reading – anything and everything. I always have a book beside my bed and another one beside my chair downstairs. My husband and I love to travel, both abroad and to visit places we’ve never been to in the UK. We‘re both fascinated by history so visiting stately homes or historical site – or looking round antique shops ore junk stalls. I collect Victorian embroideries and I like to see if I can add to my collection. I really enjoy going to the theatre whenever I can, walking and swimming when I get the chance. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything in but at least I’m never bored!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Kate Walker] My web site is at: http://www.kate-walker.blogspot.co.uk/
My blog : http://kate-walker.blogspot.co.uk/
I’m on Facebook and I run a newsletter to keep readers up to date:
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
[Kate Walker] Thank you for inviting me to Manga Maniac Café.
I’d love to give away one signed copy of my new book – A Throne for The Taking to someone who leaves a comment
Ready to enter for a chance to win a copy of A Throne for the Taking? This one is easy to enter! Just leave a comment for Kate!
You can purchase A Throne for the Taking from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below
About the book:
A kingdom’s safety
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend… Alexei Sarova—the true King of Mecjoria.
In exchange for her happiness
But Alexei’s tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria’s family for his bitterness, and his help—when he offers it—comes with a price: he’ll take his rightful place as King with Ria as his wife, until she produces a true-blood heir….