Monday, September 26, 2011

Stories that Never Leave You - by Kate Walker

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

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

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

But the story stayed with me and I wanted to know so much about it.  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. 

I've read Wuthering Heights many times again and again since that day. I've studied it at school and at university  and never tired of it. It's a story that never really leaves my imagination, specially as the place I grew up was so close to Haworth village where the Bronte sisters  lived and where Emily Bronte  wrote Wuthering Heights in the parsonage there.

So when editorial suggested a special mini series where Presents Authors took the themes of classics of romantic fiction - Jane Eyre, Emma, Pride and Prejudice - and Wuthering Heights, 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 had happy endings already set, I had to create one for my characters. I also had to take wild, willful 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. 

Last week I was back in Haworth village, talking to The Bronte Society about writing The Return of The Stranger. I met a lot of people there who had never been able to get the story of Wuthering Heights out of their minds too - and I was trilled to find that so many of them felt that way about Return of The Stranger too They loved this modernised, Presents version.  (I'm going to be sharing some of my pictures of Haworth on my own blog soon - and on the I Heart Presents blog at the begining of October.)

Oh yes - and they loved the cover too. I've posted the Presents Extra cover of The Return of the Stranger because that's the one that will be in the shops in October - but I have to share the UK cover with you as well - because  . . . . well - look at it! It's fantastic - isn't it?

I hope you enjoy The Return of the Stranger as much as they all did.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family - Helen Bianchin

My last release was"Alessandro's Prize" which came out in July of this year.  Northern Italy became the setting of choice ... A little sentimentality on my part as my husband was born in the province of Treviso in northern Italy. I have to admit to admiring the culture, cuisine, fashion; gregarious temperament; above all,  famiglia - family.

Our marriage produced three children, who were aged 3, 5 and 8 years of age when I wrote my first book. Consequently they've grown up with a mother who spent a lot of time initially keying words onto a typewriter, then into a computer.   Even now, my daughter will 'phone me, sigh heavily as I answer, and offer 'you're in the zone, Mum, I'll ring back later'. She can tell just from the tone in my voice?  Really?  Even after all these years when I'd thought I'd mastered the smooth switch from writer to mother?

Perhaps I can lean back a little from the slight edge of guilt that while I was always there for them, in truth I was inevitably a little distracted by the current opus and a hero and heroine who refused to comply with my direction. Sound a little familiar?

At the moment I'm currently working on my 61st manuscript, as yet untitled, which should be completed by November.  The hero is of Greek/American heritage, the heroine third generation Russian on her mother's side, and the theme is revenge. It's sizzling nicely ...

All the best


Thursday, September 1, 2011

September releases

Too Proud To Be Bought by Sharon Kendrick

The humble waitress and the Russian billionaire…
Waitress Zara Evans doesn't belong in glittering high society. That is until she finds herself unexpectedly at an exclusive party, and manages to captivate the most sought-after man in the room—Russian oligarch Nikolai Komarov.

For Nikolai, there's something about Zara's beauty that makes her stand out from the first-class crowd. Experience has taught him all women have their price, but he has never encountered anyone like Zara—a young woman who is too proud, too independent, too willful to be bought…

For more information, please visit

The Secret Baby Scandal by Jennie Lucas & Kate Hewitt

The Count's Secret Child by Jennie Lucas
Theo St. Raphael summoning Carrie to his castle means only one thing to her—he's finally ready to accept their baby son. So as she walks up the grand steps, the last thing she expects is to discover that all Theo wants is her back in his bed—and a paternity test!

The Sandoval Baby by Kate Hewitt

For Rafe Sandoval, discovering he has a three-year-old son by his late ex-wife is a shock. Max's nanny, quiet, beguiling Freya Clark, is a godsend. One night, the growing tension between them turns to passion, and soon Rafe discovers he's to be a father again.… This child will have two parents from the start—and Rafe wants marriage!

For more information, please visit

Maharaja's Mistress by Susan Stephens

Monte Carlo is abuzz with news that Ram Varindha—young, hot and royal—is without a co-driver for the biggest rally event of the year. Though it's been years since she last saw him, Mia leaps at the chance to get up close with the maharaja!

With time to spare before he takes on more serious royal duties, bedding this beauty is top of Ram's list. But Mia has long known Ram's reputation. Is she just in for the hottest few nights of her life, or could her dream of finally taming Ram's playboy ways become reality?

For more information, please visit