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On Harlequin Presents author, Kate Walker

Kate Walker  was born in Nottinghamshire, England, but  didn't live there for very long. The family moved to West Yorkshire when she was just eighteen months old and so she has  always regarded Yorkshire as my home. She grew up there as the middle child in a family of five—all girls—in a home where books were vitally important and she read anything she could get her hands on.

Even before she could write she was making up stories. Kate's  mother tells the story of her  recounting the tale of the Three Little Raindrops — Drippy, Droppy and Droopy to her two younger sisters when she was four. She can't remember a time when I wasn't scribbling away at something, and I wrote my first 'book' when she was eleven, an adventure story, most of it in secret in lessons at school—particularly maths lessons, which she hated.

But everyone, particularly teachers and her parents, told her that she would never make a living as a writer, and she  should work towards a more secure career. So Kate decided instead that if she couldn't write books, she could at least work with them and so she settled for becoming a librarian. On leaving school, she went to the University College of Wales Aberystwyth where she studied English and Librarianship for her degree. She also earned an MA there, writing her thesis on the novels of the Bronte sisters,   Charlotte and Emily, whose dark  Alpha heroes had always intrigued her.

More importantly, university was also where Kate met her husband Steve who was also studying English there. They  married and moved back north, eventually settling in Lincolnshire where Kate worked as a children's librarian until she left work when her son was born.

After three years of being a full-time housewife and mother, Kate  was ready for a new challenge, but needed something she   could do at home, and so she turned to my old love of writing. Her first attempts at novels were written on the kitchen table, often late into the night when her son was asleep or during a few snatched hours when he was out at nursery school.

The first two novels sent off to Harlequin Mills & Boon were rejected, but the third attempt was successful. Kate can still remember the moment that a letter arrived instead of the rejection slip she had been dreading. She thinks she must have read it over and over at least a hundred times before the reality of what it said sank in, and for days she kept checking it just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. In 1984, The Chalk Line was published in hardback just in time to be one of Kate's best Christmas presents ever.

But her writing didn't take off immediately. She was ill with ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for two years after her first acceptance and so her second book, Game of Hazard, wasn't published until 1986 but since the she has written over 50 novels, with The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge as her 50th published title – and with another two books coming up in the next few months.   The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge (Vito's story) is Part Two of The Sicilian Brothers duo. Part One  Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride (Guido's story) was published in April 2007.

Kate's novels have been published in over thirty-five countries and around twenty different languages worldwide. Countries where her novels are sold include North and South America, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Australia, Italy, Russia, Arabia, Norway, Israel and Japan.

Her 1999 title, The Groom's Revenge was short listed for the Bookseller's Best Award in the USA . For the past five years, her recent titles have all been on the Booktrack Top 100 list in UK and in America, they have also been on the Waldenbooks Top Ten list for at least two weeks.   In 2005 she published the best-selling trilogy The Alcolar Family. The first part of this trilogy- The Twelve Month Mistress - was nominated for the Best Presents Romance award by the USA magazine Romantic Times.  Her recent USA release – The Italian's Forced Bride -   sold at #1 on the Waldenbooks chart.

Kate Walker is also the author of the 12 POINT GUIDE TO WRITING ROMANCE (Studymates 2004) which gives an introduction to the essential skills needed to succeed as a writer of Romance.   This book won both  the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Best Book for Writers' 2004 Award and the CataRomance Readers' Choice Best Writing Reference 2004.   The third edition, revised and much expanded, of her   Straightforward Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction (Straightforward Publishing) has just been published.

Fitting in hobbies around working and being a wife and mother can be difficult, but Kate always find time to read. She loves all sorts of fiction, especially Romance, obviously. She also enjoys historical novels, detective fiction and long, absorbing biographies about fascinating people and can spend hours in bookshops just browsing. She enjoys knitting and embroidery, but  rarely gets time to do either now that she's a full-time writer. She also loves looking round antique fairs or junk shops, hoping to add to my collection of Victorian embroidery samplers. During her working hours my four cats, all adopted from the RSPCA, usually keep her company in my study, though they have to be dissuaded from sitting on the piles of papers that they are convinced are there just for them. One of them. Sid,   helps Kate to pick the winners of her contests. Kate writes  the names of all the entrants onto pieces of paper and then spreads them out on the floor with a cat treat on top of each – then she lets Sid into the room. The name under the first treat that Sid eats is the winner.  As a result, Sid now gets as much fan mail as Kate herself!

Kate also  loves to travel and visit new places, especially places with an interesting history, and she always enjoys visiting old castles or stately homes and imagining how the people who used to live there spent their days.

She's often asked if she's  a romantic sort of person because she specialises in writing Romances. Well, if being romantic means caring about other people enough to make that extra special effort, then yes, she am. Romance is about making the important people in your life feel valued and letting them know that you care. But she also writes about relationships and the difficulties people sometimes have in understanding each other, or expressing affection, or overcoming problems.

Sometimes—when the right words won't come, or an idea hasn't worked out as she'd thought,  Kate wonders why she doesn't have some regular nine to five job, but when the story's flowing and the characters come alive, she really can't imagine any other way of life. And there's a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that she's proved wrong all those people who told her that she would never make a successful career out of her writing.

and her novel,

Wild Indigo

They shared one night of passionate lovemaking. Then in the cold light of day, her secret tore them apart. Now Vito has come back – and he’s determined to have his revenge.

Emily Lawton never expected to see him again. But Vito Corsentino has tracked her down and he wants Emily. This time he’ll take her and he’ ll be the one to leave when it’s over.

But Emily has one last secret for Vito . . . She’s having his baby and if he finds out, he’ll want more than revenge!

I'm so excited to bring you this spotlight on Kate Walker. I've been a fan of her books for years and it's wonderful to be able to help her celebrate this landmark event in her career!

Be sure to stop by Kate's website and read more about her books - there's a lot more information there. And don't forget to pop in on her blog as well. It's fun to read and a great way to find out going on in the writing world. Kate's always got her finger on the pulse.

Now, to celebrate the release of Kate's 50th book, she's decided to do a huge contest and give away a book a day! How exciting is that? All you have to do to win is come back each week and answer all 7 questions below. Every week we'll have different questions so there will be plenty of chances to win. You'll have to pop over to Kate's website to find the answers. She's been planning the layout for weeks with her wonderful web-people and we've done our best to make it as easy and fun for you as possible. This is also a great way for you to learn more about Kate's back list and find any books of hers you may not have already read.

So, have a look the questions here and pop over to Kate's website to find the answers. You might be one of the 50 people who can win!

Week 1:

Question 1: What are the names and the hero and heroine of Kate's very first published book?

Question 2: What kept Erin and Nick trapped in her cottage?

Question 3: what is the name of Micky's father's business partner?

Question 4: How old was Kara when she first met Saul Diamond and how long ago was that?

Question 5: What job is Jill hired to do?

Question 6: What crazy plan did Helen's brother come up with?

Question 7: Name the hero of MAN OF SHADOWS.

Week 2:

Question 8: What business did Matt Highland own?

Question 9: Who did Laurel pretend to be?

Question 10: Who kidnapped Ginny and the children?

Question 11: What business did Jessica run?

Question 12: Why did Rowan run away?

Question 13: What job did Leigh Benedict employ Jassy to do?

Question 14: How had Richard and Liz communicated before they met?

Week 3:

Question 15: What is the name of the heroine of NO GENTLEMAN?

Question 16: Why had Charlie written to Paul Sarrizen?

Question 17: Who did Kyle Jensen claim that Eve was?

Question 18: On what Mediterranean island is CALYPSO'S ENCHANTMENT set?

Question 19: What is the title of the 3 in 1 By Request volume NO HOLDING BACK was reprinted in?

Question 20: In the book, FLIRTING WITH DANGER, why was Catherine in danger?

Question 21: Where does Georgia 'win' Lucas?

Week 4:

Question 22: Natalie has loved Pierce since she was how old?

Question 23: Who is the groom in The Groom's Revenge?

Question 24: What year was THE TEMPTATION GAME first published in the UK and in USA?

Question 25: Name the hero and heroine of WIFE FOR A DAY.

Question 26: Who does Sean believe Leah to be?

Question 27: How many days does Connor have to change Jenna's mind?

Question 28: How long does Sienna propose that she and Keir will be married for?

Week 5:

Question 29: How long is it since Grace has seen Constantine?

Question 30: What is the name of the baby in RAFAEL'S LOVE-CHILD?

Question 31: Why does Amy think Vincenzo had married her?

Question 32: What nationality is Rico, the hero of HOSTAGE BRIDE?

Question 33: How long does Lydia have with Amir?

Question 34: Luis is the heir to the Dukedom of what part of Spain?

Question 35: What is the name of the hero in THE SICILAN'S WIFE?

Week 6:

Question 36: What do Liam and Peta find on their doorstep?

Question 37: Gio from THE SICILIAN HUSBAND is related to the hero of what other book by Kate?

Question 38: How long ago were Damon and Sarah married?

Question 39: What is the name of THEIR SECRET BABY?

Question 40: What bestselling trilogy is the story WIFE FOR REAL the very first part of?

Question 41: What award ws THE TWELVE MONTH MISTRESS nominated for?

Question 42: What is the full name of the heroine in THE SPANIARD'S INCONVENIENT WIFE?

Week 7:

Question 43: What is the name of the member of the Alcolar Family who is the heroine of BOUND BY BLACKMAIL?

Question 44: What are the names of the hero and the heroine in STOLEN BY THE SHEIKH? (ebook)

Question 45: What does Theo find that Skye is about to become?

Question 46: How long did Alice spend as Domencio's mistress?

Question 47: Who must Abbie marry to win her brother's freedom?

Question 48: Who is the hero in SICILIAN HUSBAND, BLACKMAILED BRIDE?

Question 49: What last secret is Emily hiding from Vito?

Question 50: Kate asked the first 49 questions. This one is from me - and there's no right or wrong answer! What do you like most about the Presents hero?

Once you're sure you've got the answers right, please submit your full name, mailing address and correct answers to me via email.

I'll be picking a winner every day for 50 days and we'll be posting the names here as we go along. There will be one Grand Prize winner who, if all 50 answers are correct, will receive a hard cover copy of SICLIAN HUSBAND, BLACKMAILED BRIDE, a hard cover copy of THE SICLIAN'S RED-HOT REVENGE and a really nice gold heart pendant! So be sure to check back often.

Kate's very excited about her 50th release, naturally and would love to hear from you once you've had a chance to read the book. Drop her an email and share your thoughts. She's also hosting a special contest for her newsletter subscribers so be sure you check her website for details on how to join.

Have a great time hunting down the answers and Good Luck!


A Secret Life

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Week 1 Winners:
Mendy V. of Mexico, MO
Joanne M of Lincolnshire, UK
Sara W. of Blacksburg, VA
Eva M. of Richmond, VA
Robyn L. of Canada
Marcy S. of Hartford, MI
Shonda S. of Williamsburg, KY

Week 2 Winners:
Mona H. of Egypt
Moo Pih C. of Malaysia
Christine I. of Plano, TX
Kimberly L. of Portagevill, MO
Sue A. of Canada
Christy H. of Tremonton, UT
Dena W. of Bremerton, WA

Week 3 Winners:
Cherie J. of Pensacola, FL
Cheryl S. of Conneaut, OH
Janet R. of Katy, TX
Judy T. of Erie, PA
Debra G. of Wolcott, CT
Lois M. of Perth Amboy, NJ
Amanda E. of Seychelles

Week 4 Winners:
Saloni P. of Mumbai, India
Wendy K. of Colorado Springs, CO
Neha T of Secaucus, NJ
Crystal B. of Williamsburg, KY
Sameera Z. of Overland Park, KS
Mandy G. of Miami, FL
Terri W. of Birmingham, AL

Week 5 Winners:
Ali F. of Houston, TX
Christa R. of Canada
Joy I. of Mesa, AZ
Taline S. of Bellevue, WA
Carol W. of Mount Arlington, NJ
Rima B. of Gainsville, FL
Maya C. of Reno, NV

Week 6 Winners:
Ronda M. of Plano, TX
Tara P. of Hamburg, PA
Jennifer S. of Chicago, IL
Sanaa R. of Pensacola, FL
Carmen S. of Portland, OR
Miriam J. of New York, NY
Doris K. of Bay City, MI

Week 7 Winners:
Rita de C. of South Africa
Monica R. of Hughes, OK
Randi C. of Boulder, CO
Tracy L. of Georgetown, SC
Mitzy S. of Franklin, IL
Brenda G. of Kent, DE
Daniella B. of Lincoln, NM

Grand Prize Winner:
Nathalie D. of Canada

Congratulations ladies!!