Kate Walker reveals all about her Returning Stranger

I’m delighted to welcome back my dear friend and Lair favourite, Kate Walker. It’s wonderful that Kate was able to join us for this special celebration in our new digs and as part of the fun, she’s donating an extra-special prize for the treat winner today!

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

Hello Banditas – it’s wonderful to be back with you. And  specially great to be here  when you’re relaunching the blog, the site – and celebrating  with trick or treating  to mark this special time. I’m so happy to be part of your celebrations and I hope the Bandits go from strength to strength in the future.

 I said, in the Coming Attractions post, that I’d share with you about my new and rather special title The Return of The Stranger (Presents Extra October ) . I promised to let you know about the way that the seeds of this book were set  in my mind when I  was eleven and have been growing there ever since – and that literally is the case!

I’ve been telling this story in a few places across the internet  – but it’s worth mentioning just once more because it’s so relevant to my latest book.  In fact, if you take a look inside The Return of the Stranger you’ll see that it’s dedicated to a long ago junior school teacher of mine, Mr Grogan – who first told me that story of 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 school 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 — Mr Grogan — 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 gypsy boy he has found in the streets of Liverpool . The farmer already had a son and daughter, Hindley and Catherine — and the gypsy 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  leaves the farm,  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.   My friends and I used to talk about the book in the playground and  we would even play at  being Heathcliff and Cathy ( I was always Heathcliff – no idea what that says about me!) My friends wanted to give the story a happy ending. They wanted Heathcliff to come home and  be reunited with the love of his life. They wanted  nasty brother Hindley  to be defeated, Heathcliff and Cathy and everyone  to live happily ever after.

But even as  I went along with the game, that never quite satisfied me. I didn’t know it but at the time – age eleven  – I was already  starting to think like a novelist.  Something about the story my teacher had told me didn’t add up to a happy ending – no matter how hard I wished that could be!

The story stayed with me and I wanted to know so much about it.  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.  And of course as I grew older I saw Heathcliff’s behaviour in a much in a much less romantic light, but the impact of that first telling of the story stayed with me.

So when editorial suggested a special mini series  –The Powerful and The Pure –  where authors took the themes of classics of romantic fiction  and recreated  Modern/Presents  romances from them I was thrilled to be asked to take part in it.  Specially when I learned that the book they wanted me to work on was my own favourite — Wuthering Heights. I’ve had an amazing time looking back at this great book and  honouring it by using it as the inspiration for my own Presents version of  this amazing story. I’ve had to make changes of course – Wuthering Heights isn’t really a love story. It’s a story about passion and possession and  power –  so while all those other books in the series  had happy endings already set, I had to create one for my characters. I also had to take wild, wilful Cathy and dark, dangerous Heathcliff and give them the happy ever after ending that Emily Bronte’s story never had.

I found it a challenge – but I loved doing it. I created the story I had always hoped for all those years ago. I didn’t copy or steal from Wuthering Heights, just used the basic themes that are in the book and created a romance that stands on its own. You don’t have to have read Wuthering Heights to enjoy The Return of The Stranger – you can read it entirely on its own and enjoy it.  But for me it’s really been a dream come true.  Looking back I think that my idea  of  romance hero was formed  on that afternoon in the middle of a thunderstorm and I’ve loved that , dark, ambiguous,  brooding, difficult, perhaps even a touch dangerous, sort of character ever since.  And I’ve been able to change the story so slightly, add in the details that  were needed –  turn the original story of power, passion and possession into the love story that I always hoped it would be.  It’s not Wuthering Heights – I could never claim to write something as powerful and  stunning as Emily Bronte’s original but it’s  an honouring of the original  – and my own dream story combined in one.

What about you? They say that there are no original plots in the whole of literature –  well, one Russian guy claims there are just 7 different plots and the rest are variations on those themes – so what classic  romantic fiction novel would  you like to update – or perhaps give a happy ending to?  Gone With the Wind?  Romeo and Juliet? Othello?  Tristan and Isolde?  Or can you remember the book you read that  – or the story you heard  – that made you realise  that this was the type of romantic hero you loved and wanted more of? Was it  proud Mr Knightley or patient  Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion?  Dark and  dashing – and not quite trustworthy  Rhett Butler ? Or perhaps a Quiet Gentleman in Georgette Heyer’s novel? I’d love to know if any story hit you quite as  hard as Wuthering Heights hit me.

As part of our fabulous Trick or Treat promotion, Kate has very generously agreed to give our ‘Treat’ winner a copy of The Return of The Stranger and an exclusive Kate Walker tote bag. There is also a ‘Trick’ lurking, but don’t worry – our ‘Trick’ winner will be entered into that special Tricks Grand Prize drawing on Halloween.

Sadly, Kate’s trusty prize selector, the lovely Sid, crossed the Rainbow Bridge recently. But, before he left, he trained up his very handsome apprentice, Charlie. Charlie will have the task of picking the winners from today’s commenters.

To find out more about Kate and her books, please visit her website www.kate-walker.com

Don’t forget – everyone who signs up for our Newsletter will be entered into the Halloween drawing for a Kindle. Joining the Members Den was step one -but don’t forget to respond to the Newsletter Confirmation email (sent to the email address you used to join the Members Den) in order to complete the sign up and be entered!

 

 

Posted in , , , ,

Comments

86 Comments

  • Fedora says:

    LOL! How fun, Kate! So you’ve been preparing to write this one since you were introduced at the tender age of 11! I love how sometimes seeds can take a little time to germinate 😉 As for plots or heroes… I do enjoy those updated or new spins on beloved classics 🙂 I have been very fond of Mr. Knightley, and do find remakes of that tale very fun reading (or watching, for that matter) 🙂

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Fedora – congrats on being first and so grabbing that rooster . Not only has this ‘seed’ been germinating since I was eleven – I had to wait till the whole idea of the mini series came up. Before that, I’d put bits of Wuthering Heights into books but with this one I could take the story and run with it.

      Mr Knightley is a great hero – I was never very fond of Emma though. She really annoyed me. I thought he deserved someone better. But then love has its ways . . .

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Congrats on nabbing that pesky chook, Fedora!

      I’m another one who didn’t like Emma, though loved Mr Knightley.

  • infinitieh says:

    I think the only book that affected me in a similar way (but led to a totally different direction) was “Romeo and Juliet”. I read it for school about 12 or so. I was appalled that a couple of teens would kill themselves for love. I vowed that I would NEVER be such an idiot when *I* was a teen – no teenage boy was worth my life! “The Catcher in the Rye” also made a big impression on me although I thought Holden was a whiny idiot and a hypocrite to boot. Another book in that vein is Heinlein’s “Friday” which the school librarian suggested that I read (since I was really into sci-fi) – the gang rape scene was appalling enough but what freaked me out was that so many years in the future, people were *still* killing rabbits for pregnancy tests. That book probably was the reason I didn’t read romances for so many years. I guess I was more appalled by, than drawn to, these classics.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi ninfinitieh – I tend to feel the same about Romeo and Juliet – I always felt they should just run away and live happily ever after. Their families were the problem, not them. You sound as if the books that affected you most were the ones that really shocked you – I hope you have some happier reading memories in your book history!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I’m with you, infinitieh. I hated the ending of Romeo and Juliet – quite spoiled one of my favourite Shaekspeare’s (shh – I’m not a big fan!) I’m not one of those people who finds beauty in a depressing ending – there’s enough of that in the world! Give me a happy ending every time.

    • Caren Crane says:

      inifiniteh, my daughters had the exact same reaction to Romeo and Juliet, though the first version they ever saw was the movie Romeo + Juliet. I always thought it was beyond tragic, but the bottomless pit of emotion that was Young Caren always believed the depth of their love could lead them to such a bitter end. Of course, by the time I was 20, I was WAY over all that high drama! 🙂

  • Mary Preston says:

    I love WUTHERING HEIGHTS, but it was another classic that I adopted – LITTLE WOMEN. I wanted my family to be like this & it is in many ways. Lots of love, lots of girls, lots of dramas.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Mary – I loved Little Women. I ad four sisters and I always wanted to be just like Jo – I think she became a role model for me – wanting to be a writer etc

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I loved Little Women too, Mary. I’m another Jo wannabe.

      I was always envious of big families. I adore my only sister, but would have loved to have had more siblings.

  • Helen says:

    Well done Fedora have fun with him

    Kate

    I do so love the sound of this one and I have to say that I am with Mary I so loved Little Women and I am the eldest of 4 girls Mum and us would always watch the movie when it was on TV together and the tears would flow LOL.
    But I would love to see Rhett and Scarlett in a HEA another favourtie of mine.

    Kate I am so sorry about Sid Hugs

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hello Helen and thank you for your kind words about dear Sid. He is very much missed and it was a very hard decision but cancer was eating away at him and he will be so much happier over the Rainbow Bridge.

      As you’ll see from m y reply to Mary, I related to Little Women too but I was the middle of 5 girls! It would be quite difficult to give Rhett and Scarlet their HEA – but perhaps in some ways not as difficult as with Wuthering Heights!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I”m glad you mention Gone With The Wind, Helen. I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t like the film or the book. I can’t stand Scarlett! That said, gotta have a happy ending and it would be nice to see one in that book. Maybe it would have redeemed it for me.

  • Sonali says:

    I would have loved to see Tristan and Isolde get their happy ending. While watching the movie i was in tears and kept hoping that a happy ending would emerge although i knew that, that story was a tragedy. Know i can only hope that a remake or rewrite would give me the happy ending that i would like to see. As for heroes, i don’t think i have a type. I love them all…

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Sonali – you know, I do exactly that – even wheh I know something is a tragedy I can still wish that it might just turn out right this time. But I think if all love stories ended happily then we wouldn’t have those amazing moments of sobbing out hearts out at the ending of the sad ones!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I’m with you on hoping for a happy ending, even though I know it’s a tragedy. I loved Shadowlands, but switched off the ending because I didn’t want to go through the angst with them. I’ve been that way ever since Love Story.

      I’m a tears of happiness gal, rather than tears of sorrow *g*.

  • Kirsten says:

    Wuthering Heights is one of my fav. Heathcliff was madly in love, Cathy was too unsure of (herself and) her love. Their passion, her caution and his need to posses her destroyed that love… I still say it’s a lovestory, of epic proportion. Just without the HEA.

    Perhaps that makes it so powerful a story, the unfulfilled dreams… Convincing you that the love you feel is bigger every day. More meaningful, because it is denied to express or enjoy. I would like to see them united at last though, not in death as “suggested” by Emily, but in your book 😀

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Kirsten – I think oyu make a great point – that Wuthering Heights is such a story of unfulfilled dreams. I think that is what gives it some of it’s strength and the power that lingers long after the book is finished. I had to try and hold on to that power and still give Cathy(Kat) and Heathcliff (Heath) their happy ending. I hope I did it without weakening the intensity of the story and as a fan of WH I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I think you have the same view of love stories as my hubby, Kirsten. Although he doesn’t believe in heaven or an after-life, so there’s no hope of any kind of them reaching happiness in his version of things *g*.

      That said, even though such ending don’t appeal to me – the power of the characters and their passion is hard to deny. It is a haunting book, for sure.

  • Di R says:

    I will definitely be on the look out for this book.

    When I was 11 or12, I used to read a set of historical ya- all the titles were girl’s names. Well, I read one and was so angry that the main character chose the wrong boy, that it became my first wall banger. Her choice went against everything the author had told me about her. After that I had to read Lord of the Flies for school, and was so upset that Piggy died, that I quit reading.

    A couple of weeks later we were on a car trip, and we stopped at a rest area, my mom came out with a Silhouette Christmas anthology and told me to read. I didn’t even remember my sister was sitting next to me. LOL! I still have that book and reread it every yerar.

    Di

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hello Di – you make me shiver slightly with your reminder of the power that books can have on readers. You are so right – if a writer makes a character go against the personality and motivation she has set up for her she has only herself to blame if she disappoints the readers – and then they don’t read her again. I felt like that about a book I’ve been reading this week. I was afraid that it was going to end in a way that I couldn’t believe in and if it did it would spolil the whole book. Luckily it worked out as I wanted – perhaps even slightly better – so I was ahppy in the end.

      And that’s the feeling I always want to leave my readers with

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Yay to your mum, Di for tapping into your inner romantic!

      I’ve been reading a book like that too, this week. Sadly, all the way through, the author kept making the characters behave in ways that just weren’t believable and the ending, when I finally managed to drag myself through the book, was a real wall-banger!

      I always have to read a great book by an author I can trust after an experience like that – luckily I have Kate’s book to treat myself to as she never, ever lets her readers down!

  • Kate Walker says:

    Hello Again Banditas – and many thanks to Ann for the warm welcome. It’s lovely to be back with you again – and I’m so imporesed by the new site, it’s v posh (if you ignore that rooster) And I’m glad that Sven came along too.

    I’ll just catch up with what everyone has said and I’ll be able to chat . . .

    Kate

    • Anna Sugden says:

      So glad you were able to join us for the fun and games in our spiffy new Lair, Kate.

      Sorry I was late – it’s a beautiful day here, so we decided to walk into the village for our monthly farmer’s market.

      The stories that hit me and make me want to write them a happy ending are actually true stories – ones you will be familiar with, though some of our visitors may not be. The first two aren’t romances, but so powerful and sad that I want to give them a resolution. I’d love for the poor mother of that boy killed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley to be reunited with her son’s remains. Similarly, I’d love for Suzy Lamplugh’s mother to know what happened to her daughter. Can you tell I’m on a romantic suspense kick at the moment?!

      The other story is that of Jill Morrell, the ex-girlfriend of John McCarthy (he was kidnapped and held captive for years). She was such a stalwart fighter for his release and after he came home they split up. He’s now happily married, but she never got her HEA and I so desperately want her to have one. It’s on my list of books to write some day.

  • Laurie G says:

    I’d love to give a happy ending to Dr Yuri Zhivago and his beloved Larissa (Lara)! Dr. Zhivago had such a sad, uncertain ending. Very tumultuous time!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Oh yes, Laurie. I haven’t seen Dr Zhivago for many years – probably because I didn’t like the ending when I did see it.

      Isn’t it funny how people fell in love with Omar Shariff after that film and many still adore him, even now?!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Laurie I think thst is a great suggestion – the melancholic end to Dr Zhivago could be changed to a real, sweeping happy ending and a great love story made ever greater . . . Now you’ve got me thinking!

  • Maureen says:

    I remember watching Gone With the Wind with my mother when it came on television many years ago and I always felt that the story ended too soon.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Definitely, Maureen. I know from a purists point of view, the ending is very dramatic and will have raised many sighs, but having gone through the length of the story, I really felt we deserved some happiness.

      Then again, I’d have walked away from Scarlett too!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Maureen, I liked the ambiguous nature of the end of GWTW. It’s definitely not your traditional romance, but I felt that Scarlett would get Rhett back LOL.

    • Kate Walker says:

      I liked the ambiguous natureof the ending of GWTW – I always felt that Scarket had some more learning and emotional growth to deal with before Rhett could really feel that she loved him. From a novelist’s point of view – that would be a great story to write!

  • Kaelee says:

    Casablanca wasn’t a book but I did want Rick to get together with Ilsa. I loved the fact that he helped his formed lover even as he wanted to hate her.

    I must have had a thing for Humphey Bogart as The African Queen which does have a happy ending is one of my favorite movies. It was adapted from a C.S. Forester book.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Oh, me too, Kaelee! That and Brief Encounter were two films where I desperately wanted that happy ending. I know they gave Brief Encounter the happy ending in Falling in Love – which is one of my favourite movies, but it would have been nice to have one for Casablanca too.

      Love African Queen! Such a fun film.

    • Kate Walker says:

      I wanted a happy edning for Casablance, too Kaelee – but then, as a writer, I always knew it had to end the way it did because that was the way that Rick coujld show his love for her. Which gave it the sigh quality that makes everyone remeber – and of course that fabulous line ‘we’ll always have Paris’ – another sigh moment.

  • Mozette says:

    I read one called ‘The Silver Metal Lover’ by Tanith Lee when I was young. And being a sci-fi fan, it had that mix of science-fiction and romance at just the right blend to keep me interested.
    When I was older, I read it a few times more and absolutely bawled my eyes out seeing that these two lovers had a very star-crossed kind of affair. It was very much like Romeo and Juliette where people didn’t think that robots could have the same kinds of feelings as human; especially the ones which are programmed to love… that they couldn’t possibly have true feelings for anyone -could they? Nah, impossible! I found it was a brilliant – if not thin – novel about something so simple as love that was taken into a context that was so totally different how most people would write a romance. And the other characters? Well…. let’s just say, there are a few of them I could have just slapped silly because of their attitude towards the union. 😉

    • Kate Walker says:

      Mozette that sounds like a fascinating novel – and as you say one with something really important to say about love. I think I’m going to have to try and hunt down that book because I;ve never read it. Thanks for telling me about it

  • Rose in Bloom was my favorite, I even do rereads on that book. Mac and Rose got their HEA but not before the heartbreak of losing Charlie.

    Wuthering Heights was beautifully written, powerful, passionate, but I will never read it again because I can’t handle the UnHEA.

    A movie that I watched one time had the same effect. Somersby messed me up for days because of the way it ended. I just don’t deal well with it at all. The power and the passion I recognize and admire but I am just devastated when there is no happy every after.

    Gone With the Wind I rewrote in my mind many, many times over the years……LOL I always gave them a happy ending of course. If I was ever tempted to actually rewrite a story that would be the one for me.
    Though I often wanted to shake Scarlett until her teeth rattled, the heroine with more than a little feistiness and a “I can do it myself” kind of attitude is ranked at the top of my favs.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I agree Dianna. I was so sure “Somersby” was going to have a happy ending!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Oh Dianna you’ve reminded me of just how shocked I was by the ending of Somersby – I was so upset that it wneded that way. I really wanted a happy ending for that story. I’ve never read Rose in Bloom so I must look out for that one. And I hope that if the lack of HEA for Wuthering Heights disappointed you that maybe The Return of the Stranger will give you the ending you’d like.

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Dianna, I also loved Rose In Bloom. That and Eight Cousins are my favorite Alcotts.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Kate, welcome back to the Lair. It’s always a pleasure to have you here.

    I love the Wuthering Heights story and always thought of it as the destruction of obsessive love. Maybe it’s the first “stalker” story ever told LOL. As a reader I love that moment when you realize that Heathcliff’s doomed because he changes from an uncivilized boy with a basically good heart into a civilized brute.

    I enjoy exploring the idea of how long a person can walk down the road to perdition and still be redeemed. In fact, my fourth book in the series I’m writing relates to that concept.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Jo and thanks for the welcome back – I always enjoy visitign the Bandits. WH is definitely about obsessive love – or maybe just obsession and I thijnk you’re right about the change in Heathcliff – for me, it’s when he starts to turn his revengeon those who didn’t hurt him – like young Cathy and his son Linton – for me, revenge is only ever justified if it’s turned on those who deserve it.

      Like you, I’m fascinated by “exploring the idea of how long a person can walk down the road to perdition and still be redeemed. ” – I’ve always loved an ambiguous hero, one who with one little twist could be the villain or vice versa

  • Virgina says:

    I have always love Gone With The Wind so I would love to see it rewrote or have it continue with a Happy ending. It was a fabulous books but of so sad. I couldn’t tell you how many times I read this book and watched the movie, its been many years since I have read the book though.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Virginia – Gone With the Wind Keeps coming back in this discussion aand my mind is buzzing with ways to try and gie that story a happy ending. I always preffered the book to the film though – and that make it clear why there couldn’t be the HEA

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Another story (film, not book) that I always loved, but rooted for a happy ending was “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.” Since Deborah Kerr played a nun, I KNEW there wouldn’t be a romantic ending LOL, but still I hoped for it!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Oh Jo – I don’t know the film you’re talking about but I suppose the fact thatthe heroine was a nun did sort of give away the chance of a happy ending! Though I do have a friend who was a nun but finally had to leave the convent because she fell so much in love and desperately wanted to marry.

  • Minna says:

    I did see a version of Romeo and Juliet with happy ending in high school, I think. If I remember correctly, in this version Romeo was Swedish-speaking Finn and Juliet was Finnish-speaking Finn.

    And speaking of different versions, I really wish I would have had the sense to take my camera with me to the Crafts Expo today. Besides everything else, there was a Barbie exhibition and among the really old Barbies and Pirates of the Caribbean Barbies and customized Barbies there was a tattooed Ken, just about to tattoo Barbie.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Minna – I’d like to have seen R&J with a happy ending. I suppose it would be much easier to create now, when teenagers aren;t so likely to do just as their parents order them to. But of course R&J were so very young.

      My mind is slightly boggled by the thought of a tattooed Ken about to tattoo Barbie! That must have been a real sight!

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Welcome, Kate! So glad you could visit with us in our new lair *g*

    Love hearing about the first time you discovered Wuthering Heights!

    Not a classic by any means but I was majorly disappointed in the ending of Sommersby with Richard Gere and Jodi Foster. I could see myself rewriting that and giving it a HEA 🙂

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Beth it’s good to be back. I always love visiting the Lair – there’s always a great response and lots of interesting posts. As I said above, like you I’d love to change the edning to Soersby – I think it’s so sad – too sad – the way it is.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Yes, Kate, I meant to say what an inspiring story that was about your teacher introducing you to WH during a storm. Very Heath-ish!

  • runner10 says:

    Great to see you here, Kate.
    Gone With the Wind always comes to mind. It could use an updated ending, but I don’t know if I would change a classic like that.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi runner! Another vote for Gone with the Wind – but you’re right, if you change the ending it wouldn’t be the classic. That’s one of the worries I had about reworking Wuthering Heights – would readers hate the way I changed the ending? But I think so many people wish it did have a happy ending that many of them are OK with it

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Kate! Welcome back to the Lair!!!

    Fedora, congrats on the chookie!

    I despised Gone with the Wind and I’m a Southerner. I think Scarlett’s a whiney so and so. :>

    I’m also a Jo wanna be and didn’t like Emma all that much either.

    Grins. And obviously opinionated too!

    Now, back to the regularly scheduled Halloweeeeen Party Plans….At my house this time. Ha!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Heane thank you so much for the welcome back! It’s great to be here. Yes, I’d agree with you – Scarlett is difficult to empathise with. She’s selfish and careless of other people’s feelings. Mind you, you could say that about Cathy in Wuthering Heights so i had to change her quite a bit! I think we Jo wanna-be’s think alike. Emmma really anoyed me – I just wished she’s stop interfering. I found that so selfish too

      Have a great Hallowen Party – perhaps you could dress up as Scarlett? Emma? Jo? Have fun

  • Pat Cochran says:

    I’m with those whose favorite is Romeo & Juliet. I just couldn’t
    believe that a young couple would choose to give up their
    lives in this manner. There had to be, and were, other options
    open to them. Honey and I have known each other for fifty-
    two years and married for fifty. As much as we mean to each other, there is no way we would have put family and friends
    through such a tragedy! I think of the children and grandkids
    we would never have known and enjoyed. We just couldn’t
    have been so ….selfish?

  • Nancy Northcott says:

    Kate, welcome back to the Lair! That’s a wonderful story. I, too, have come to see Heathcliff’s behavior in a less swoon-worthy light, but the story remains very powerful. I seldom re-read it because the ending is so grim, but I keep the book anyway.

    The book that affected me as Wuthering Heights did you is To Kill A Mockingbird. I read my paperback until it fell apart. That required a lot of reading since I handle paperbacks with great care. Then I caved and bought the hardback. It’s not totally HEA, but the forces of good prevail over evil, and the villain gets his in the end. It’s also such a vivid picture of life in a small Southern time of its era.

    My vision of a romantic hero began taking shape with Sleeping Beauty’s prince when I was five. He had it all over Snow’s and Cindy’s guys, to me. Carry a shoe around to win the girl? Kiss her awake?

    Or fight a fire-breathing dragon?

    Give me the guy with the boom factor! *g*

    Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn are all serious boom guys. 🙂

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hello Nancy – it’s fascinating, isn’t it, the way we interpret the story of WH (And many other books) differently on another reading as we get older or our opinions change. I adored Heathcliff to start with and now, I find his so brutal, no matter how badly treated he was that it’s no justification.

      But To Kill A Mocking Bird is one of thos ebooks that just can be read over and over – and you get more out of it each time.

      I love your expression ‘Boom Guuys’ ! That sums it up perfectly – and in the best stories the hero(the bookm guuy) kisses the heroine awaks – and she does the same to him!

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        Kate, we love our boom in the Lair!

        I agree the h/h “kiss” each othere awake in that they awaken each other to the parts of themselves they haven’t wanted to face and enable them to oveercome those inner demons.

        I meant to say I’m sorry for the loss of Sid. Saying farewell to a beloved animal is always though. Glad you have Charlie to help out!

  • Kate Walker says:

    Oh Pat – congratulations to you on your 52 years together – how wonderful! I thought the Babe Magnet and I were doing well with 38 but we have a way to go to catch you up. It’s true though that R&J never really tried anything else but running away – and then suicide. I often wonder what would have happened if they’d just gone to their parents and said ‘we’ve fallen in ,ove’. One of the things my very first editor told me was to always make sure that a character had no possible alternative to what I made them do. I think R&J did have alternatives

    Here’s to many more years for you and your Honey together!

    • Welcome to our “NEW Lair” Kate!
      We always love to have you visit and BIG THANKS to VA for inviting you today.

      Loved your story about how you came to create The Return of the Stranger. 🙂

      I did my own riff on Romeo & Juliet with my Renaissance couple in Treasures of Venice, and of course, I gave them an HEA! I don’t think very many of my readers picked up on that little twist, but I had fun writing it all the same.

      My most sincere condolences about Sid.

      HUGS!
      AC

      • Kate Walker says:

        Loucinda I always love ebing back here – it’s likie coming home – and I’m so impressed by the New Lair – I’ve loved exploring. I’ll have to look out for your Romeo and Juliet story – I’ve done a family feud story – Konstantos Marriage Deamnd – but of course my H&h were a lot older than R&J.

        And thank you for teh condolences on Sid – he’s left a big hole ion our lives but Flora and Charlie are working hard to fill that

  • Kate, welcome back to the lair! We love it when you visit. What do you think of our swish new premises? Pretty snazzy, eh? Oh, so sorry to hear about Sid. I didn’t know you’d lost him. I know how much you loved him. His apprentice is indeed a handsome fellow and I’m sure will fulfill his duties with alacrity (don’t you just love that word?). By the way, I’d LOVE to win the tote bag. Bats eyelashes with alacrity. What a cool prize. We’ve given away some fabulous stuff in the last week or so, haven’t we?

    • Kate Walker says:

      Anna C! Waves madly! I was in York only lastweek and of course that place always reminds me of you. But this time it bwas dry and the sun was shining – you wouldn’t have recognised it. I love these new posh surroundings and I’ve had a great time exploring – Sven has a grat new massage room!!

      Thank you for your kindness about Sid – he was a big cat with a big heart and he ended up with lots of fans around the internet – and not just from the people whose names he picked – with alacrity – for prizewinners. Charlie has taken on his winner-picking duties just as you said – with alacrity – and enjoyment!

  • chey says:

    I always thought Gone with the Wind should be the first book in a series. I don’t know how the series would end–just differently than the book.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Chey I think you are right – GWTW could have started off a great series, there are so many people and characters and themes in that book that could be taken up in a second story . .. and another. I suspect that in the end, older, wiser and having learned a lot more Scarlett and Rhett could have ended up together

  • Cathy P says:

    What a wonderful story, Kate! Sounds like you had a wonderful teacher. I’m sure I have probably read Wuthering Heights but I don’t remember it. It’s so wonderful that you were able to come up with your own Wuthering Heights story and have a great HEA.

    If I was rewriting a story, it would have to be Gone With The Wind. I have so very much wanted Scarlett and Rhett to have their own HEA. In fact, I think I remember reading a book of where they did get their HEA as well as a movie. If that is the case, they weren’t as good as to leave a lasting impression on me since I can’t really remember them.

    So sorry to hear about Sid. but glad that he trained Charlie before he crossed that Rainbow Bridge.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Kate, a HUGE welcome back! This book sounds like marvelous fun and what a challenge! You are a very brave woman to tackle Wuthering Heights.

    I must say that my idea of what a romance hero should be was influenced by a couple of Brontes – both Emily and Charlotte. Yes, Heathcliff and the dark, tortured Mr. Rochester. Though Rochester was compelling in ‘Jane Eyre’, I must say that Jane herself was the stronger of the two characters. I think Jane’s rather modern strength of character and mind was quite influential on Young Caren. Of course, Young Caren had a think about tall, dark, handsome and emotionally distant men, so there you have the recipe for Disaster or a Novelist. Or both. 🙂

    I definitely loved the torment woven into the novels of the Bronte girls. I can’t wait to read ‘The Return of the Stranger’. I’m a bit surprised they let you have such a luscious, Gothic title!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Hi Caren – it sounds like you were influenced in much the same way as I was when it comes to dark, devastating distant men as heroes. It was trickly turning WH into a real love story in a short romance form – there was a lot I had to leave out so it wasa real challenge.,

      It’s funy sometimes people say they loved Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and loathed Heathcliff because Heathcliff was so cruel – but Mr R would have ruined Jane if she’d married him bigamously and he wanted what he wanted, not thinking about her. So her strength in standing up to him and leaving as she did was so impressive and yes, a modern day strength,

      Thank you about Sid – I know he had a long, loved and lovely cat life – I just wish it had been a bit longer!

    • Kate Walker says:

      PS CAren – I forgot to say that the titles now are so much better than those dreadful Millionaire’s Secret Baby’s Virgin Bride or whatever. I was pleased with this one – but even more thrilled that they let me keep my own title for the next book coming up – The Devil and Miss Jones!

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Sorry I’ve been absent, but my keyboard has given up the ghost so I’m stuck! Doing this on my ancient mobile phone and it’s taken forever! Thanks for dropping by and taking part in today’s fun!

  • Welcome back to the lair, Kate! Anna, thank you for having Kate on the blog today.

    Kate, what a lovely story! The Return of the Stranger sounds fascinating. I think those ideas that percolate over years often end up giving stories so much depth. I agree that Wuthering Heights was ultimately not about love, but I think it’s every girl’s dream to be pursued so relentlessly by the man of her choice. I love the idea of taking Wuthering Heights and giving it a happy ending.

    My favourite hero is probably Vidal from Heyer’s Devil’s Cub. He has that same wildness and single-minded determination to get his woman that Heathcliff had but more intelligence and compassion to go along with it. And I think Mary was a a far better match for a man like that than someone like Cathy!

    • Kate Walker says:

      Thank you for the welcome, Christina ! I think you’re right and it is every girl’s dream to be wanted so much and pursued – even after death! But that ferocity of passion is ultimately not HEA material – Heathcliff wanted to possess all that Cathy was and that wold be opporessive in a real life.

      Devil’s Cub is one of my personal favourites too – and yes, Mary was a much more ‘grounded’ person which is what a forceful character like Vidal needed. But in The Rteutn of The Stranger I try to show the two of them (Cathy and Heath ) learning how to love – becuase they both had a lot to learn beyond that passion and yearning

  • Louisa says:

    Good job, Fedora. He does love you so! LOL

    Welcome back, Kate ! Oh wow! Wuthering Heights. LOVE that book and I can’t wait to read your take on it in your new Presents!

    Pride and Prejudice definitely changed my life. I have made a long journey of it, but I am finally writing historical romance with the hope of selling it and it is all Jane Austen’s fault!

    I have to admit as much as I loved the Lymond Chronicles I still wasn’t completely happy with the ending. And frankly, Tolkien’s ending to Aragorn and Arwen’s love story ticked me off too.

    Romeo and Juliet is one of those great romance themes that many writers have taken a shot at. I wouldn’t mind doing my own version of that one.

    And who can forget Phantom of the Opera? Every time I watch the Gerard Butler version of the film I yell at the screen “You picked the wrong guy!” What’s a little murder and insanity when a guy loves you that much. 🙂 I’ll do a rewrite of that one eventually.

    My condolences, Kate, on the loss of Sid. He had a long and happy life and was greatly loved. No cat asks for more than that.

    • Kate Walker says:

      Thank you Louisa – I hope that my Presents version of WH doesn’t disappoint you seeing as you loved the original. I’ll admit that I was never as much a Jane Austen fan as much as I was a Bronte reader – so P&P is really the only one I fully enjoyed. Mr Darcy does tend to change people’s lives!

      Oh yes- Phantom of the Opera – he’s a sort of Heathcliff figure isn’t he wantig to posssess his heroine – and whne he’s in Gerard Butler form who wold want Raoul instead?

      Thank you too for the thoughts about Sid – I have such wonderful memories of a fabulous feline friend

  • Nas says:

    Hi Kate,

    Interesting to read everyone’s comment about which story they would change.

    Can Romeo and Juliet be reworked to give them a HEA?

    The HEA of The Return of the Stranger was believable and realistic. Thanks for coming up with your very own brand of romance for Cat and Heath!

  • Kate Walker says:

    Hi Cathy – if the markm of a great teacher is that you remember things he taught umpty-ump years later – then yes, Mr Grogan wasa great teacher. Trouble is, looking back, it’s slightly scary to think how young he was back then! Probably no older than my son now,. Eeek!

    Another vote for GWTW – I’m going to have to think about wokring on that one – though really I suppose it’s a historical story.

    Thank you too for your wordsa bout Sid – he and Charlie were close friends and Sid passed on all his wisdom – specially about picking winners so Charlie is off to a head’s start.

  • Kate Walker says:

    Hi Nas – it’s been a fascinating discussion hasn’t it – and R&J togethr with Gone With The Wind seem to have come out on top of the choices for reworking.,

    I’m glad you thought that the happy ending for Return of the Stranger worked out and was believeable. (Would you believe I almost wrote ‘Gone WIth the Stranger’ . . . now there’s another potential story!!)

  • Rita de Canha says:

    Oh man I’m so sorry I missed this ;(

  • Kate Walker says:

    Never mind, Rita – if you check out my blog tour details on my personal blog you’ll find the next one coming up – on the 26th I believe!

    To all Banditas and visitos to the Lair – thank you so much for your wonderful warm welcome back. I have got Charlie on the job of picking a winner and he has chosen a name – which I’ve sent to Anna – so watch for the announcement because it could be you!