Thursday, October 22, 2009

Romance as a Deep Tissue Massage

by Anna Sugden

I'm thrilled to welcome to the Lair one of category romance's top authors, my dear friend and fellow Brit, the fabulous Kate Walker.

Kate has been writing for Harlequin Presents since 1984. In that time she has over 54 novels published in over thirty-five countries and total sales amount to over twelve million copies of her books. Kate is also the author of the award-winning 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance. Her latest book, Kept For Her Baby is out now.

You can find out more about Kate at her website and on her blog .

So, without further ado, I'll hand you over to Kate.

Hello Banditas – thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog. I’ve visited often, but only as a reader, never actually as a blogger before, so it’s wonderful to be here at last.

I really sympathised with a recent posting on this blog. When I was reading through all the fantastic Romance Bandits blogs that have appeared over the last week or so the one by Christie Kelley really rang bells for me. What can I blog about, she asked – just as I was wondering exactly the same. The point is that I’ve been invited on to a lot of different blogs just lately. The reason for that is pretty obvious. It’s October and I have a brand-new book out in October . Kept For Her Baby was published in Harlequin Presents Extra on October 13th and so lots of places have wanted me to guest on their blogs and talk about my latest novel.

And they all want something different. I know I could make it easy on myself and simply say that’ I have a new book out – the title is . . . and it’s about . . . Please buy it.’ But that just doesn’t seem right. I’ve never been a fan of the hard sell, and I really think that if wonderful people like the Romance Bandits are kind enough to invite me to join them, the least I can do is to chat with you a while. But that means that I have to find something to chat about. Specially for this occasion - my very first visit with the Banditas.

I could tell you just how many months – er – years – this visit has been in the planning. With Anna and I trying so hard to connect up and arrange for me to come and visit, ISP problems and email providers that just wouldn’t talk to each other meant that I thought Anna hadn’t sent an invitation and she thought I was ignoring her message. But we got there in the end and here I am – and can you just guess that I’m prevaricating like crazy and rambling on about nothing because I still haven’t thought of something to talk about?

Well no, that’s not really true. I thought of several things – like discussing the difference between Presents and Presents Extra (there isn’t one – it’s the Modern Heat books in the main Presents line-up that are different) . But I did that for Tote Bags. Or there’s imprisoning my characters – that was on I heart Presents. I was running out of ideas. But then I spent a couple of days away when I was doing a library talk and so was my husband, and the hotel we had an overnight stay in had a spa and as a special treat I booked myself in for a massage and . . . well inspiration struck.

I’d write about why writing Presents is like having a deep tissue massage.

Huh? I can hear you all saying that even as I write those words and yes, it does need a bit of an explanation. So bear with me and I’ll tell you what I mean. You see, a deep tissue massage is quite unlike the other massages this spa had on offer. You could have an aromatherapy massage, a ‘serenity’ massage or a ‘feel good’ massage – all of which were tempting. But I knew that life had been so fraught lately that I needed a really deep, strong pressure massage, one that dug deep and helped to get all the kinks and the knots out of my muscles. And I was right. It was amazing – it was partly painful, partly sensuous, partly curative - and it left me knocked for six and yet wonderfully relaxed at the same time.

And that is really why I write for the romance line that I do – why I write for Presents. It isn’t easy. Sometimes by the end of a book (OK, who am I kidding – by the middle of a book.) I feel as if I’ve gone three rounds with the emotional equivalent of the heavyweight champion of the world. Because the vital part of writing a Presents novel is digging deep into the emotional intensity that makes these stories work. Yes, I know, they also have a reputation for being sexy and sophisticated – the tag line ‘seduction and passion guaranteed’ wasn’t invented for the classic Presents stories for nothing. But it’s the emotional intensity, the powerful conflicts that create such emotional responses that are really at the heart of writing a Presents book. And that’s what takes the effort and the concentration when I’m writing.

Because the conflicts have to be so intense then the characters have to have really good reasons why they are behaving as they do. To me, it’s important not just to write about a ‘Greek Billionaire’ who’s out for revenge because that’s what the line demands. I have to give my hero – and my heroine – really deep, intense, truthful motivations for their actions. And the worse, the more dramatic, the more intense those actions are, the deeper and more involving those motivations have to be.

And that’s why my latest book, Kept for her Baby was a difficult, a powerful, a complicated book to write. I set out to do what my dear friend and wonderful Presents writer Michelle Reid describes as ‘digging myself – and my characters – into a hole.’ And the deeper you dig, the harder you have to work to get them out of it. So I started Kept For Her Baby with a premise that really needed justification if it was not to alienate every reader right from the start. Because my heroine does what might look like the unforgivable – she runs away and abandons her very young baby, leaving him behind with his father while she . . .

Ah but no I’m not going to tell you that. Because that’s what the whole book hinges on. The reasons why Lucy, my heroine acts as she does. The reasons why she thinks she has no alternative but to go. She can’t think of any other possible choice of action – and it’s when I put my hero or heroine into a situation where they really have no possible other choice and they have to behave as I want them to, then I know I’ve succeeded. That’s when (hopefully) the book has that vital ‘deep tissue massage effect.’ It digs deep and exposes uncomfortable feelings to the sunlight. When it reaches out and grabs the reader and just won’t let go.

I had to do a lot of research for Kept For Her Baby. I had to get my facts right – medical facts. But most of all I had to get my emotional facts right so that readers not only sympathised with Lucy but understood exactly why she behaved as she did. And if the emails and letters I’ve been getting from readers have been anything to go by that I’ve succeeded – and I’m really proud that I have. One reviewer called it “a powerful tale imbued with sensuality and pathos that had me reaching for the tissues and kept me engrossed and frantically turning the pages in the early hours of the morning.”

That’s the reason why I write classic Presents stories. So that I can dig deep into those emotions and bring out the stories that I hope will touch my readers hearts and keep them reading and reading until they find out just how the story will be resolved in the end. As a reader and as a writer, I like my romances deep and intense, I like them to wring my heart, to tug on my nerves, to be both painful and wonderful - like the very best sort of massage - so that at the end you feel wrung out, almost a little bit bruised, but so strongly affected that you were glad you went through the experience in order to get through to the other side.

And what about you? Do you like your romances sweet and gentle or powerful, intense and deeply emotional? Do you love to have your heartstrings tugged? Do you really enjoy a ‘weepie’ – a story that has you reaching for the tissues as you read? And what books have you read recently that have really moved you emotionally and had you dabbing away the tears as you turned the pages? I’d love to know

I have a signed copy of my Presents Extra title Kept For Her Baby to give away to one of the people who leave a comment to this post.


Pissenlit said...

Here GR GR GR!!

Natalie Hatch said...

Kate, you can't just tell us a tiny bit and then leave it at that. Why on earth would a mother abandon her baby. You're right I'd be wanting something pretty darn important for her to do that.

limecello said...

Hi Kate! Thanks for visiting with us today. Great post. I have to say... while I read a wide variety of romances, and I like ones with lots of strong emotions... I don't tend to go for the ones that are *draining.* And I do think there's a difference. [Not a bad draining even, necessarily, but one that wrings you out. You're actually exhausted after reading it. This can be a good or bad thing.]

As for a book that I found really emotional... gah. I know there were a few books that had me reaching for the tissues, but of course they've all slipped my mind. I love the books where scenes like that just slip in - oh. Laid Bare by Lauren Dane has a few of them. I think it's important for a book to be balanced, otherwise there's just "too much" and you're being pummeled by emotions. [Which personally, is not my thing.]

Congrats on the GR, Pissenlit!

Michelle said...

Hi Kate! I love my romances that are intense and deeply emotional... a weepie. The last book where I truly cared about about the hero and heroine's happy ending and pulled at my heartstrings was Julia London's The Book of Scandal.

Pissenlit said...

Poor GR, he missed last night's Toronto production of The Sound of Music. Instead, today he gets to help me run some errands, tidy up the house and figure out what to bring to my friends' housewarming party this weekend.

I like a balance of romances...some that are sweet and gentle and some that are powerful, intense and deeply emotional. I love being weepy and having my heartstrings tugged...but only once in awhile. I'd be too drained if I tried for that on a regular basis. The last book that made me all sob-y was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pissenlit!!!!! You go, girl! Yeah, I mean, really go! That rooster has a very determined glint in his eye. Run for the hills!

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, Kate, Kate!!!! Excited squee. Vrai Anna has brought Kate to the lair. How exciting! Welcome, welcome. Have a margarita! Have a cabana boy! Have one of Sven's massages - or perhaps you should just give him some tips!

Congratulations on your new release. It sounds really delicious.

Now for the really important question - when are you coming back to Oz? We loved having you! We want you back again!

I met Kate at the Romance Novelists' Association Conference I attended in Leicester in the UK in 2004. Kate was in charge of the virgins (ahem!), those girls who had never been to an RNA conference before. And she was marvellous. She teed us all up on an email loop beforehand so we wouldn't feel lonely and she kept checking to see if we were OK. An all round saint you were, Miss Kate!

Then the following year, Kate was an incredibly popular guest at our conference at Coogee in Sydney. Kate, the conference is there again next year and the hotel has been refurbished. Wanna come? Hey, wanna?

Then in 2007, I met up with Kate on the wettest day in living memory in York and we ate morning tea at Betty's famous tea rooms. Absolutely delightful morning - and then I spent the rest of the day navigating flooded railway lines and wondering if I'd end up sleeping on a railway platform somewhere instead of in my nice warm hotel bed in Edinburgh (I did get there but I was very soggy!).

Kate, do you remember that beautiful Venetian glass heart you gave me? I still wear that all the time and it never fails to get comments.

Oh, dear, I'd better stop. This is turning into War and Peace. But needless to say, it's great to see you here! Thanks, VA, for inviting Kate!

buddyt said...


So many books these days do not try to address any real problems or emotions. To put it bluntly, they are just targeted at a mass audience and what the author feels will sell.

It is refreshing to read an interview with one of the modern authors who still believes in trying to educate us about why people do the things they do.

Good on you Kate.


Kate Walker said...

Wow! You're all here and busy chatting already.

I got held up because my DH the Babe Magnet had to have a repair done on the wireless connection to his computer and as the two computers are linked, that meant that mine was out for a while too.

But now I'm back and I can start chattign with you at lasy

And congratularions to Pissenlit on the GR - I wouldn;t have understodd that if Anna hadn't kindly explained it to me.

Thanks for the welcome Anna - I'm just so glad we finally got this together


PS My cat Sid wants to know where that Rooster is - he had turkey for breakfast but that was 3 hours ago . . .

Kate Walker said...

Hi Natalie -
>>you can't just tell us a tiny bit and then leave it at that.

Oh but I can;o) - I'm mean that way! And of course I want you to go and read the book and find out just why she does it. And you're right in wanting something pretty darn important - that's why I had to make sure this book really worked. Luckily I've had so many letters and emails telling me it did.

And that it made people cry. I'm mean that way too - love making my readers cry!

Kate Walker said...

Hi limecello - I'm seeing you around a lot these days

Yes, I totally understand the difference you're making between strongly emotional romances and the ones that are 'draining'. That's why it weas important in this bok to make sure that while it had that vital emotional intensity it still lived up to the Presents 'promise' and that meant that the ending would lift the readers' spirits.

There's an author I love to read because she writes so wonderfully - Jodi Picoult - now her books are 'draining' - magnificent but draining. I have to take a break after reading one and get myself back together before I can face another of her novels. And sometimes they live with me for days and days.

Mind you, someone said that about KFHB too! But they were so glad it had the happy ending

Helen said...

Congrats Pissenlit have fun with him.

Hi Kate it is great to have you here and thanks Anna for inviting Kate along today I have your new book Kept For Her Baby on the TBR pile I must move it up.

I love reading emotional books and have read many over the years that have had me laughing and crying and it depends on what mood I am in when choosing the next book to read as to whether I want something very emotional or light but I love them all. I love it when I start a book and I am drawn in from the start and just feel so close to the charaters that I feel their pain and happiness and understand where they are coming from if that makes sense LOL.

Congrats on the new book Kate I look forward to reading it. I am not sure whether Sid would want to get too close to the GR he can be a bit fiesty when he wants to LOL

Have Fun

Lynz Pickles said...

Hi, Kate! I loved your post on Tote Bags, but I think I like this one even more. What a great topic!

I read a little bit of everything, but I must admit that almost all of my favourite books are the ones that suck me in emotionally. If a book makes me cry, I'll probably like it. A lot. Unlike Lime, though, I tend to prefer the ones that drain me. (That's the perfect word for it, btw!) Most of my favourite books have wrung my emotions out so much that by the end, I'm absolutely exhausted.

My ultimate examples of this is Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, and, most recently, R.A. Nelson's Teach Me. I've yet to read any of them more than once, and I probably never will. To me, they're just not the kind of book you re-read. Yet all three are among my favourite books of all time. Why? They made me cry. None of these sob sessions were snifflers, either. They were the kind where you curl up into a ball, hide in the corner, and use up a full box of tissue paper. And then you go to sleep for a very long time.

None of those three are romances, but each contains romantic elements. My favourite romances also tend to lead to me crying at some point or another, two notable examples being To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney and Lady Gallant by Suzanne Robinson. I love them both, but each is horribly emotionally taxing. And that's probably why I love them.

Of course, I can't read these all the time. While the draining ones may be my favourites, I like all sorts of stories, and I need the break that lighter fare provides. Badly.

Congrats, Pissenlit! Hey, wait a sec... how did I not notice you were Canadian until now?? (Conclusion: I am very, very dense.) I saw the musical with a friend this summer and loved it - too bad the GR had to miss it!

Anna Sugden said...

Morning all - sorry I'm late - been one of those mornings.

Natalie - don't worry, Kate will deliver for you (in her book I mean *g*). Trust me.

Anna Sugden said...

I agree, Lime - I don't like heavily emotionally draining much either. Life's too emotionally draining, you know!

I feel the same way about gritty romantic suspense. I have to be careful not to OD on those or I'm a wreck!

Anna Sugden said...

Sending you a virtual box of tissues, Michelle!

I'm always surprised at the books that make me tear up. They're often not the ones I expect, but a scene is so powerful that emotion wells up inside.

Anna Sugden said...

Interesting, Pissenlit. I keep meaning to pick up The Time-Traveller's Wife, but never quite get excited enough to do it.

I like the mix too - since my TBR mountain stretches from RomCom through historical through dark RS to cosies, I can always find something to suit my mood.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Anna - I knew you'd be thrilled to see Kate here.

Tea at Betty's - very nice. I love the cauliflower cakes from there, though the last one I had wasn't the same, because I hear they've taken the alcohol out!

Anna Sugden said...

Good point, Carol/buddyt. I must admit, within romance, it's rare to find an author that doesn't push the envelope on emotions and issues. In fact, when you come across one that has skimped you feel cheated - at least I do.

I know my fab friends, who crit my work, are always pushing me to go deeper ... and deeper.

Anna Sugden said...

Waving northwards to Kate and the Babe Magnet! And the lovely Sid. LOL

Know how you feel - weve had everyone ringing the bell this morning from the window cleaner to the shed delivery men ... even the postman, despite the strike. Glad you're up and running again.

Anna Sugden said...

Of course it makes sense, Helen. I think that's what all romance authors aspire to - characters who make you feel for them. The best books are always ones where you feel like you know the characters so well, you almost forget they're fictional.

Mind you, with some of the dark stuff I've been reading lately, it's a worry to know some of those villains so well!

Anna Sugden said...

We probably need to send you virtual headache pills to go with that virtual pack of tissues, Lynz!

Wow on the books that have drained you so much that you respond like that! I have family members who make me feel like that - wnat to adopt them?! LOL

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Pissenlit! The chook is YOURS! Grins!

Hi Kate! Big, fat, HUGE welcome to the Lair! We're so glad you finally made it, and to promote what sounds like a wickedly good book.

The premise would be daunting, I'd think, to make work. Like Natalie said, it'd have to be pretty darn important...yeah, okay, I know, gotta read it. Hahah!

I'm not as big on weepies as I am "intense." I don't like to cry, as a rule, since it gives me a killer headache, but feeling the tension, being deeply emotionally connected to the characters is fabulous and I DO like that.

Thrilled for you about all you've accomplished. Way To GO! Loved the analogy of th deep tissue massage too. *note to self, schedule massage when deadline is met*

I'm off to the writing cave, but wanted to be sure and drop in and say WELCOME!!! Grins.

Kate Walker said...

Oh Anna (C) please stop tempting me! The Babe Magnet and I would love to visit Oz again- it's just that it's a bit of a journey . .

And you've brought back some lovely memorires for we - way back when- when you were a virgin! At the RNA I mean. . And wasn't that the wettest day ever in York? I knw we only got back home before the floods hit. I thought we would be swimming home

And of course I remember the glass heart -I buy those for special friends when they are published . . . So the other Anna will get one one day!

Hmmm - Saint Kate - that has a ring to it! But what was it I was known as that annoyed someone on the RNA committee- the Virgin Mother!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Carol - like you, I'm disappointed when romance writers focus on the 'buzzword' plots - the ones that seem to have sold well in the past rather than trying to see if something more complex will work. I know I xometimes make things difficult for myself because I want to dig deeper - because once you've dug that hole, you have to get yourself out of it!

I'm always afraid of taking things too easy so I keep challenging myself

Kate Walker said...

Hello Helen and thank you for already having KFHB on your TBR pile - I do hope you enjoy it hen it gets to be the one you read. And isn't that what is so special about romances that they have plenty of variety so there is a story for every mood? I know I love to vary my reading

I'll warn Sid about the Rooster - he may be a big cat but he's a bit of a wuss. But he has a Maine Coon 'sister' who will tackle anything so she'd have a go at the GR.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Kate! Welcome to the lair. Glad you found something to blog about :)

And you are such a tease to not tell us why she left the baby! So not fair!

I love a good emotional story. I'm always so impressed with the HQ authors who can give so much emotion in a smaller book. It just seems like that would be so difficult.

You're book sounds great!

jo robertson said...

Welcome, Kate, thanks for guesting with us today and to Anna for inviting you.

I like your deep tissue massage analogy. I think many romance readers enjoy the genre for the catharsis those gut-wrenching stories bring.

MsHellion said...

I like my books deep and intense, but I also like them funny. So if you can be intensely emotional and intensely funny, you have a reader for life!

And I *LOVE* deep tissue massage: it hurts so good.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Lynz - I'm coming oer to the blog in between dealing with my latest Greek hero so I feel a bit as if I have a split personality. I'm glad you're enjoying my blogging all over the place. Is that cute little dog yours?

Thanls for the great list of emoitnal reads. I have to admit that i haven't read any of them - so I'm going to have to do a little book shopping - such a hardship! And I'm hoping to have a little more time to read when the Greek is on my editor's desk instead of mine so maybe I'll even get to enjoy the ones you suggest

Kate Walker said...

Hi Anna - I'm so pleased we finally got this RB visit off the ground - i've so wanted to come and say hi to everyone.

Perhaps one day we can have afternoon tea at Bettys - it's just the sort of ting romantic novelists should do. Cauliflowers cakes, hmm? I don;t think I've ever tried them - but I do recommend the brown bread ice cream sundae. Yes, I know it sounds wired but if you like caramel flavours then it's gorgeous

Kate Walker said...

Hi Jeanne - yes, definitely, book yurself a massage soon - I hadn'y had one for ages and this did me so much good (after it stopped hurting!)

I'm with you on loving intense stories - I don't go for weepies when they are sentimental or just plain tragic but intense emotion between two strong characters is what I love to read and to write.

And yes, you have to read KFHB to see if the premise works for you ;o)

Which reminds me- Anna thank you for saying I could be trusted to deliver. That means such a lot to me. I do believe - and as I keep saying when I teach romance writing - that if you have a very strong conflict then you have to have very strong reasons for it.

One of my very favourite quotes about writing romance comes from a very Senior editor - in fact she's now Executive Editor and she said 'Keep it simple, dig deep.' I've always tried to write like that

Anna Sugden said...

Good writing, Jeanne - we want that next fab book asap!

I keep thinking I should organise a massage - all this time working on the computer wrecks my shoulders!

Anna Sugden said...

Aww Kate - your faith is much appreciated! I long to join the other published members of the Brit Pack! If only the ediotrs would play ball!

Anna Sugden said...

It's especially impressive, Christie, when they manage to fit all that into the shorter category lengths! I'm in awe of people like Kate and Tawny!

Anna Sugden said...

I love the word catharsis, Jo! And spot on for how romance novels can work like deep tissue massage.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL you don't ask for much then, MsHellion! I think that's why I'm such a huge fan of Susan Mallery - she manages to make me laugh and cry regularly!

Anna Sugden said...

Uh ... I mean Susan's books make me laugh and cry!

Nancy said...

Kate, welcome to the Lair! I used to prefer my romances with more sweetness and light, but I've come to appreciate the darker, angstier stories in recent years. The bigger the struggle, the greater the triumph.

This has a very intriguing premise!

Nancy said...

The last book that made me cry was A Firefighter in the Family by Trish Milburn. I've read some wonderful, emotional books since then, some of which were gut-wrenching, but a conflict has to resonate in particular ways for me to tear up.

As Pissenlit comments, I do try for some balance in my reading because too much darkness and angst becomes draining after a while. I'll sometimes go rent a movie with lots of boom to recover. And I do need the darkness to be followed by HEA.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Kate!

And BIG THANX to VA for finally coercing you into a visit!

OOOO a deep tissue massage sounds heavenly right about now. Luckily we have our own magic fingered Sven here in the Lair, but he keeps himself very busy most days.

VA, I think you are correct when you say that most romance writers go for the deep emotions, and I definitely feel cheated as a reader when I don't get that pay off. :-( Fortunately, that doesn't happen too often, as I tend to only read books recommended by my Banditas and BBs. My reading time is just too limited lately! :-P

Back to work on my new proposal,

Nancy said...

Anna C.--Tea room? York? Do tell!

Nancy said...

Anna S., I hear you on the TBR pile. The nonfiction I so love keeps getting pushed farther and farther back--like my wonderful book on the Thames the dh got me early this spring. It's still waiting.

chey said...

I like a mix too.

Nancy said...

Jeanne--good luck in the cave!

Becke Davis said...

I feel like I've been away for months! Work, and a mystery writers convention, have limited my computer time. Kate's book sounds great, I just wish we could get the UK covers -- I'll see if I can do a swap with a friend of mine over there.

You've intrigued me with the premise of this story. It does sound like it would be a hard one to write, but I really want to read it!

Nancy said...

Hi, Becke--I'm not surprised work kept you busy. You have sooo many irons in the fire! The mystery conventions sounds like fun.

Caren Crane said...

Kate, it's so great to have you guesting with us at long last!

(And Pissenlit, you'd better not turn your back on the GR today. He's in a fowl mood! *g*)

Kate, I love my romances all tormented and emotional. Even in ones with humor and witty dialogue, I like the conflict to be layered and the emotions to run deep.

I think that's because I live a life full of laughter, humor and witty dialogue (at least on my end - snork!). I also have a family full of emotionally complicated people who tend to emote a great deal. I like all that sticky, complicated stuff. It feels real to me in a story because that's how my life is!

I can enjoy almost any type of romance as long as the emotions run deep and the conflict is strong. Thanks so much for being with us today!

limecello said...

Heh Kate- now I'm nervous :X where all am I? :X

Lynz - I liked them... until reading too much Thomas Hardy in a row just... it was too much. :X Especially after years of only reading classics, 89% of which are incredibly depressing. [More, really - or at least the ones I read.]

Also Kate & Anna too - that's why I read romances. I *know* there will be that happy ending, come hell or high water.

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks for visiting with us,
Miss Kate. I recently stopped by
at a blog where you were discussing
"Kept.." I was truly "grabbed" by
the description and your book is
now on my to-be-purchased list! I
must know how everything turns out
for this family!

Pat Cochran

Kate Walker said...

Life, writing and the need to sleep for just a little while means I'm tryign to catch up this morning (well, it's morning in the UK)

But that's fine with me as I get to spen more time with you lovely Banditas and as I've wanted to chat with you for so long I'm still happy to be here.

So there are some of you I still haven't said Hi to . . .

Kate Walker said...

Michelle - I have a nasty susocion that in my first run through of replies, I missed your post and I'm so sorry for that. I always like to 'meet' someone who loves intense and emotional romances - you're my kind of reader!

I think you've hit on the most important point about a romance - that the reader should care about the hero and heroine's happy ending. If they don't then the romance won't be satisfying. And if you can make them *really* care then you've done your job well.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Christie - and thank you for saying that you admire authors who can put so much emotion into a smaller book! I have to admit that I've done lots of other writing by these books - that the late great Charlotte Lamb called 'those complicated little books' are really difficult to write - and get right! That's why I love them when they are done well.

Lots of people think that they are just lightweight stories but I've read some real heart-wrenchers. My favourite authors like Michelle Reid really deliver. And I'm really happy if a reader thinks I've managed the same.

But I'm still not going to tell you why Lucy felt she had to do what she did ;o) That's the point though isn;t it - that she had to feel she had no choice!

Kate Walker said...

Hmm - I was doing so well catching up with my answers and then blogger went on the blink and I lost my message to Jo - it was something on the lines of how much I agree Jo that the catharsis of a heart-wrenching, emotional read can be a lot like a really good massage - you go through the wringer while it's happening and then you feel so good afterwards.

Kate Walker said...

Oh Ms Hellion, I hate to disappoint you but I'm not good at humour - my characters get so serious about everything. So i'll just have to stick with being emoitnally intense and hope my readers like that.

Kate Walker said...

HI Nancy - I love your comment :

The bigger the struggle, the greater the triumph.

I so agree with that. And I'm in agreement about needing to go and find somethng lighter or very different to change the tone after I've read some very emotional books.

Oh yes - and that tea room in York - it's called Bettys and it's world famous. Deservedly so. A wonderful place. A great place to meet fellow romantic novelists!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Loucinda - or do I call you Aunt Cindy?
I've been introduced to Sven and I think he's a near match for the best massage I ever had - this was a chiropractor - male - and he had the biggest hands I've ever seen - he was six four in height and had hands to match!

Your comment about feeling cheated if the books don't give the deep emotion and the right pay off is exactly why I worked hard to get KFHB right - I did a lot of research to make sure fo that.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Chey

Thanks for dropping by - a mix is a good idea. Like they say veriety is the spice of life

Laurie said...

There are only a handful of authors who can make me laugh or cry.

Elizabeth Lowell's books routinely make me cry.

Jill Shalvis, Sandra Hill and Rachel Gibson make me laugh.

I love it when stories are pwerful enough to make me feel!

Recent emotional read: Julia London's Summer of Two Wishes!!
2 husbands!!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Becke - great to see you here. That convention sounds fun - but not the work!

Do you prefer the UK covers to the USA ones? I must say that i love the cover for KFHB and it does look good on a UK cover - more space for the artwork.

I'm so glad that the premise of KFHB intrigues you . I didn't want to give too much away because I think if you know what has happened before you start reading the you read it with a different approach. I wanted my readers to sympathise with the heroine - my editor was worried that they might not. Funny thing is that no one has said that - but one person didn'tlike the hero! You can't win 'em all.

If you do read the book I have my fingers crossed that you enjoy it.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Caren Thanks for the welcome - I'm really happy to be here at last. It took too long!

Your family sound a lot like mine - well, my famiy tends to be in 2 halves. there are the emotional, emoting complicated people (They're the Celtic side) - and then there's the Brit side (my husband's family) They're just as complicated and emotional, they just don't emote about it!

I think you're right though - if we have the high emotions in family life then we can handle it in the books we read.

Kate Walker said...

Limecello - now you've got me thinking and wondering where else I've seen you - it will be on some other blog - or eHarlequin? I just recall your sign in name

And don't get me started on Thomas Hardy - so of those books are just so depressing! I could barely get through Jude the Obscure but my DH loves it

Give me a hppy ending any day!

Kate Walker said...

Hi Pat -= was the other blog you read on I heart Presents? Thank you for putting KFHB on your TBR pile. Of course you'll know that being a romance it does have a happy ending - but it's how the characters get there that matters. It's all in that emotional journey.

I do hope you enjoy it.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Laurie you snuck in while I was answering everyone. Ilove your list of authors who make you cry. And I am definitely going to have to read Julia London - I get so many recommendations for her books and the one you mention. Summer of Two Wishes souds amazing

Kate Walker said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful Welcome Banditas. I've had a fabulous time - just don't tell my editor how long I spent chatting with you.

I usually get my cat Sid to pick the winners of my giveaways but he's sulking bcause he didn't get to see the Golden Rooster so I'll ask Anna to get one of her cats to pick a name so I can send them a copy of Kept For Her Baby.

Thaks for inviting me here and now that Anna and I have sorted out our communication problems I'll hope to be back again before too long

See you soon (I hope)


ddurance said...

You know, it depends on my mood. If I really want to cry, I rely on good 'ol Nicholas Sparks, cuz he'll do it every time.
I do like strong emotions though, but it doesn't mean that the sweet and gentle love isn't good either. It's all about the quality of the story.


Mari said...

I like intense and very emotional books. The more tortured the better. But I do hate when they have misunderstanding between the protags that last the entire book that could have been resolved earlier