December 17th, 2017
Home | Log in! or Register

On Top Shelf
Fresh Fiction
Fresh Pick

Holiday Giveaways

Reviewer Application

Readers & 'ritas

Slideshow image

Since your web browser does not support JavaScript, here is a non-JavaScript version of the image slideshow:

slideshow image
Ex-NFL star + snarky single mom = a touchdown of a holiday romance

slideshow image
The vampires are coming... and this time, the lights won't stop them.

slideshow image
The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery...

slideshow image
This holiday season, love is on the menu.

slideshow image
A Spartan heart can conquer anything, even myths, magic, and monsters.

slideshow image
There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas...

December brings fabulous reads!

Barnes & Noble

Fresh Fiction Blog
Get to Know Your Favorite Authors

Kate Walker | A Fresh Look At An Old Favourite

It was the name of your site that  gave me the inspiration for this blog.  I've been rather  overdone by blogging recently – my own blog, the I heart Presents blog – a wonderful – but demanding  - great big Blog Tour  that too in  XX blogs, all needing new and interesting posts. (Can you tell that I've had a new book out?) I've been talking to so many people all over the world  and it's been stretching me to think up new and different things to say at each stop.

This book I've written – THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER -  is a brand new story to me and yet in many ways it's one of the oldest books in my experience of reading romantic fiction. It's  a modern romance – and yet it's a story that is timeless and has echoes for so many through the years. Confused? Well let me explain.

THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER is part of a mini series of four books that reflect and rework the themes of some of the most memorable stories in romantic fiction of all time. It was part of the mini-series THE POWERFUL and THE PURE based on classic books of romantic fiction. The premise was to take four of the great classics of romantic fiction and use them as inspiration for Modern Romances (Presents/Sexy). Iconic romantic stories that everyone who loves romance remembers – with fascinating heroines and specially with heroes that have set the ‘dark and devastating' standard for all time to come.  The books chosen were EMMA, JANE EYRE, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE  - and I was asked to do WUTHERING HEIGHTS

I was thrilled because this has been  favourite book of mine for a long long time. Ever since I was eleven in fact when I was  at a very small junior school that was in an old building, where the wiring wasn't very reliable. 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 told us to sit quietly and he would tell us a story.  The story he told 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. 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. 

In many ways that was one of the stories that started me out on my career as a writer of romance. I loved the dark, complex, rather dangerous hero. The sort of hero who is ambiguous so that you're never sure if he's the hero or the villain and all my favourite books from then on had this sort of hero at their heart.  My very first ever story – when I was in my teens – had a dark, mysterious gipsy boy as one of the central characters.

12 stepsOf course when I was asked to create a novel inspired by this amazing book, I found it both a delight and a challenge.  The original WUTHERING HEIGHTS was written in 1947 and there was a lot in it that just wouldn't fit into a modern day romance novel. It was a problematic novel to work on as a romance writer as I don't really believe it is a love story – it's hugely romantic in terms of powerful, passionate emotions but it's more a novel about passion and possession and power than a long-lasting love that translates easily into the happy ever after. The love these two share is ultimately a destructive one – it is a wild, ferocious storm of emotion. In the end, Heathcliff isn't a hero. He is too cruel and callous, taking his revenge on people who don't deserve his cruelty as well as those who do

So that's some of what I had to contend with  - giving my Heath and Kat  the understanding and strength of love, forgiveness, sharing while trying not to  diminish them in the passionate, tempestuous love. I also had to make two characters who some find unsympathetic and cruel, believably sympathetic and ultimately loveable.  But there was also the fun bit where I got to give Cathy and Heathcliff the happy ending that I'd always wished they could have – right from when I first read the book.

It's perhaps important to say that the plan for this series was not – as some people have thought – plagiarism or stealing from the originals.  We are using them as an inspiration, and honouring them by doing so. They were all much bigger books than a short category romance – with much more in them than just the love story that romance writing focuses on –but that central love story was what I needed to focus on and to weave into a Modern Romance for today's readers. I was inspired by the original story, not stealing from it. There are critics who say that there are in fact only 7 plots in the whole of fiction – and every book we read is in some ways a reworking of one of these.   Certainly every romance now, so much of romantic fiction is written by taking tried and tested plots, refreshing them by putting them in a new setting, a different time,  another country, and adding twists that grow from putting this new slant, a different spotlight on the story.

I found it a challenge – and  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 take it as it is. I hope you enjoy this fresh look at a classic romance as much as I enjoyed creating it.  It was like going back to the beginning – to the day that deep down inside I realised that what I most wanted to do was to build characters who stay in the mind long after the book is over. create stories that  held people fascinated as this one had always held me.  That I wanted to be a writer.







70 comments posted.

Re: Kate Walker | A Fresh Look At An Old Favourite

Hi Kate, I look forward to reading your books. Thank you
(Joan Richard 1:47am November 20, 2011)

Hi Joan Thanks for coming by to visit - I hope you enjoy any of my books that you do read.
(Kate Walker 4:27am November 20, 2011)

This book sounds wonderful! I haven't had a new book in awhile, since our
Borders closed. It's so sad! My nearest book store now is about an hour
away :~( I am hoping that my favorite authors (you included!) have
ebooks! I am putting the Kindle Fire on my Christmas list so I have easy
access to books !
(Stefanie Finn 5:50am November 20, 2011)

I am with you; I love the dark, complex, rather dangerous
hero. Wuthering Heights is also one of my favorite books. I
think the novel intrigues readers with its dark passion and
misguided characters. Both Heathcliff and Catherine are
flawed characters, but their flaws kept my interest. I look
forward to reading your book.
(Diane Brixius 9:13am November 20, 2011)

Your book sounds great. Many books have been inspired by other books or writers.
(Pam Howell 9:22am November 20, 2011)

Hi Diane - I totally agree with your that Wuthering Heights " intrigues readers with its dark passion and
misguided characters" - that's just how I see it but it does make it difficult to make it into a real 'love story'.As you say both Heathcliff and Cathy are flawed characters and those flaws keep them from finding real love in their 'dark passion'
(Kate Walker 10:31am November 20, 2011)

Hello Pam - you're right, many books have been inspired by other books and writers - there are a lot of authors who have written sequels to famous books like Pride and Prehudice and others. I uderstand that some authors are currently working on a series based on Jane Austen's novels.
(Kate Walker 10:35am November 20, 2011)

Because this is the time of year that the days are short, and the weather outside is so dreary, it's the perfect time for a wonderful love story!! I'm in the mood for something to lift the spirits, fill the soul with imagination, and take me for a ride to worlds unknown, no matter how long the book. If this is an old-fashioned love story, all the better!! I read the book "Roses" by Leila Meacham a while back, and couldn't put her book down. I love the old-fashioned romance novels, and I think I'm going to fall madly in love with your book. Congratulations on your latest book, and thank you for taking the time for the explanation. You've made a new convert.
(Peggy Roberson 11:50am November 20, 2011)

I have enjoyed your books before... I am sure this one will be as good!
(Colleen Conklin 12:35pm November 20, 2011)

Thanks for offering us a chance to win The Return of the Stranger. Someone in our group will have an enjoyable time reading it.
(Anna Speed 12:42pm November 20, 2011)

I am sure I am going to enjoy a fresh look at a classic romance, looking foward to reading The Return of The Stranger. My local Borders also closed---I really miss it.
(Shirley Younger 2:13pm November 20, 2011)

It is cool that you can get inspiration from anywhere. This sounds like a good read!
(Darci Paice 2:41pm November 20, 2011)

Whoops! I'm sorry to sound like a copy editor here, and to drag out my red pen, BUT!! "Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë published in 1847." (Wikipedia)

Otherwise, I enjoyed your post quite a bit. Personally, I've never really cared for the Brontés, whether singularly, or en masse, but that's my problem. If you can make their plots work better for me, you have my gratitude forever!!


(Lynn Rettig 2:48pm November 20, 2011)

Some stories can be told over and over again, and still seem fresh and hew.
(Marjorie Carmony 2:56pm November 20, 2011)

This sounds like a great book and I like the cover. Although I prefer the UK one. :)
Thanks for the great post and the giveaway.
(Patti Paonessa 3:03pm November 20, 2011)

Peggy - I so agree with. As the dark evenings draw in, for me it's the perfect time to curl up by the fire and read. And yes, The Return of The Stranger is an old-fashioned love story. So I realy hope that if you get your hands on a copy that you will enjoy it - I'd really love to think that you'll fall madly in love with it! (fingers crossed)
(Kate Walker 3:05pm November 20, 2011)

Hi Colleen I'm so pleased that you've enjoyed some of my books in the past and if you do read The Return of The Stranger, then I hope you will enjoy that too
(Kate Walker 3:06pm November 20, 2011)

Hello Anna and thank you for joining in. I really hope that someone in the group will enjoy the book
(Kate Walker 3:08pm November 20, 2011)

Hi Darci - I loved taking a fresh look at a classic romance myself. It made me go back to the original and read it, looking at it with fresh eyes. My sympathy to you on the closing of your local Borders - it was a shock when they closed all those shops, even here in the UK. Thank heaven there are the internet book shops - though you can browse so easily!
(Kate Walker 3:10pm November 20, 2011)

Hi Lynn -Ooops! How di that happen? You are right - this post really did need a red pen through that date! I don't know how it slipped through - I know only too well that Wuthering Heights was published in 1847. My typing fingers must have slipped. Thank you for picking up my mistake and pointing it out.

To correct myself -
Wuthering Heights was published in 1847

I know plenty of people who don't enjoy the Brontë sisters' books and I've been happy that some of those have written to me to let me know how much they enjoyed The Return of the Stranger - so I'd love to hope you might too.
(Kate Walker 3:21pm November 20, 2011)

Hello Marjorie - lovely to 'meet' you here. You are so right, some stories can be told over and over again with a new slant on the basic plot of the original to make them seem fresh and new - I hope that I've succeded in doing that with Return of The Stranger
(Kate Walker 3:23pm November 20, 2011)

Hello Patti - I'll let you into a secret - I prefer the UK cover too! I think it's amazing. I was so so pleased when I saw it - and lots and lots of readers have written to me to say that they agree with me - and you!
(Kate Walker 3:30pm November 20, 2011)

It's been so many years since I've read Wuthering Heights that I can hardly remember anything about it except that I couldn't put it down---maybe I should check it out of the library and read it again, then read your book.
(Sue Farrell 3:46pm November 20, 2011)

Hi Sue - I'm nodding agreement here. I found that each time I reread Wuthering Heights I find something new in it. And the first time I read it I couldn't put it down. I just hope that if you do try Return of the Stranger too, you'll have the same feeling. Of course a short, 55,000 word romance can't match the complexity and power of the original - but I hope that it workd as a romance for you
(Kate Walker 4:01pm November 20, 2011)

(Silvana Moscato 4:01pm November 20, 2011)

I love dark & dangerous!I love reading a new take on an old
(Lisa Richards 4:25pm November 20, 2011)

I always enjoy your books! This one sounds great (as usual!).
(Cheryl McEwen 4:26pm November 20, 2011)

I love the fact that you took an old favourite classic romance story and gave it your own twist. I think it's great that your teacher inspired you enough with his story-telling, the day of the storm, for you to have the passion to read the whole book and have those memories. Not only are many authors doing this (as I have found reading different romance novels) but movie producers, as well. I don't mind it if it's not copied too much. I read two books that were so similar, I wondered which author copied the other's story. In both stories, they'd purchased a run-down inn that needed total restoration. I very much enjoy reading romance stories and prefer the happy-ever-after type endings, rather than sad, like Nicholas Sparks does in many of his stories (made into movies). Thanks for the giveaway...your book is one I can't wait to read!!
(Linda Luinstra 4:36pm November 20, 2011)

Sounds like awesome action. I read Wuthering Heigts at least 10 times, I couldn't have enough of it.
(Alice Vernescu 4:37pm November 20, 2011)

I love Wuthering Heights and the dark, withdrawn hero. Just watched a video of
it recently and it brought all of it back. I would so enjoy reading The Return of
the Stranger and will add it to my Wish List. Thanks for sharing.
(Connie Fischer 4:46pm November 20, 2011)

I read Wuthering Heights awhile back.. Romantic and vengeful story about Heathcliff and Catherine. Their relationship was a love/hate and yet they really love each others. They were borne together and died together. It would be fun to read your parody of Wuthering Heights.
(Kai Wong 4:49pm November 20, 2011)

Looking at a classic in a new way appeals to me and many other readers. I like the brooding dark handsome hero along with the lady who gets stronger in her confidence over a period of time and experiences.
(Alyson Widen 4:52pm November 20, 2011)

Kate, I love stories like that! If I'm still thinking about
them long after I finished reading the, then that's the sign
of a good story, for me.
(Margay Roberge 5:10pm November 20, 2011)

I've never been happy with Wuthering Heights because it didn't
have an HEA - I'd love to read this one with an HEA.
(Diane Sallans 5:34pm November 20, 2011)

Thanks for the contest - love revenge as a theme.
(Beth Elder 6:13pm November 20, 2011)

Hi Kate,

I always enjoy your books. This one sounds great. I love Wuthering Heights
(Tammy Yenalavitch 6:50pm November 20, 2011)

I haven't read Wuthering Heights yet maybe your book will inspire me to.
(Diane Sadler 7:03pm November 20, 2011)

I have no problem with the same themes being recycled. I loved Clueless when it first came out and immediately knew it was a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma.
(Molly Wilsbacher 7:07pm November 20, 2011)

With all the books that come out pretty well daily, I've wondered why I don't get sick and tired of romances, mysteries and historical novels. I've read a lot of books and yet, have come across few books that were actually repetitive. True: most of the books I read feature two people coming to love each other. However, I suppose that no two real-life stories are exactly the same, so that you can hardly expect the it of books. If I'd ever written romances, I'm afraid they'd all have been pretty much the same since I haven't enough imagination or creativity to think up many plots myself. And it would have never thought of writing a book called "The Return of the Stranger." The title just doesn't seem logical. But the more I think of it, the more I can see the possibilities of having a stranger return. I'm sure you did a good job with this book and I'd love to read it.
(Sigrun Schulz 9:37pm November 20, 2011)

Great story idea Kate. I look forward to reading this book. Congrats on the release.
(Christine Arcidiacono 9:38pm November 20, 2011)

Kate- I am a big fan of Wuthering Heights also. I loved the book, very messed up characters. I have one of your books in my TBR pile, but moving closer to the top. Would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
(Chris Bails 10:05pm November 20, 2011)

I love the cover variety! Thanks for the giveaway!
(Jennifer Beyer 10:24pm November 20, 2011)

I have always loved the story of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Such passion & angst.
(Mary Preston 11:17pm November 20, 2011)

Hello everyone - the difference in time zones got me yesterday and I didn't manage to respond to everyone. But I'm back now and I'll be able to say hello properly to all of you.
(Kate Walker 2:20am November 21, 2011)

Good morning Silvana - well, it is morning here! Good luck in the draw to win
(Kate Walker 2:21am November 21, 2011)

Hello Lisa - I love dark and dangerous too - a hero like that helps to create a really good story as they fight their feelings almost all the way through
(Kate Walker 2:23am November 21, 2011)

Hi Cheryl - great to seee you here. Thank you so much for saying you enjoy my books - I hope you enjoy this one too
(Kate Walker 2:24am November 21, 2011)

Hi Linda - I agree with you about so many authors taking ideas and reworking them - but it's disappointing if they are really just straight copies and there is nothing new added. I tried to make my version of this story have different elements but the same atmosphere and 'brooding' mood! And of course I gave it a happy ending - I'm like you - a sad ending or not resolved leaves me rather unsatisfied.
(Kate Walker 2:27am November 21, 2011)

Good Morning Alice - another Wuthering Heigths fan! I think you've read Wuthering Heights more than me! Fir fans of the original like you, I always hope that you'll enjoy my take on the story.
(Kate Walker 2:29am November 21, 2011)

Connie - one of the great things about planning writing The Return of The Stranger is that I got to watch some of the older films of the book to remind myself of scenes in it - I had a wonderful time. Some of them dated a bit but others were just great
(Kate Walker 2:31am November 21, 2011)

Hello Kai - yes, Heathcliff and Cathy had a love/hate relationship but their feelings were so powerful that it ended in tragedy and no one was happy - except their children in the second generation. My book had to be different to give them that happy ending. I hope you feel it works
(Kate Walker 2:44am November 21, 2011)

Hello Alyson, nice to see you here, You summed it up perfectly - looking at a classic in a new way. That's not copying and a really great book can be viewed in so many different ways. Add in a dark and brooding hero - and again as you said a lady who gets stronger and I'm hooked too! That was why this was so much fun to write
(Kate Walker 2:58am November 21, 2011)

Good Morining Morgay - I love stories that linger in your mind after you've finished reading them - the only trouble is that then they can spoil you for the next book you try to read! I hope that Return of the Stranger has this effect on you.
(Kate Walker 2:59am November 21, 2011)

Hello Diane - you and me, both! I always wanted an happy ending to Wuthering Heights - though I knew from the characters that it couldn't. I was so happy to be able to create one for The Return of the Stranger
(Kate Walker 3:03am November 21, 2011)

Hi Beth - revenge is a great theme isn't it? As long as the person taking their revenge only aims it at the people who deserve it and not at anyone who is innocent.
(Kate Walker 3:21am November 21, 2011)

Hello Tammy - lovely to see you. You've started my day of so well by saying you always love my books - thank you so much for that!
(Kate Walker 3:23am November 21, 2011)

Hello Diane - well, of course you don't need to read Wuthering Heights to enjoy The Return of The Stranger - but it would be interesting to know what you think of the classic book if you did. It's much darker and deeper than my story and as you can see from these posts one you either love or hate.
(Kate Walker 3:25am November 21, 2011)

Hello Molly - yes, Clueless is a great example of one of the remakes and a modernisation of a classic. It just goes to show that a plot can be reworked and so recreated.
(Kate Walker 3:26am November 21, 2011)

Hi Sigrun - romance is always so popular isn't it - but for me it's the characters who make a book different, even if the plot sometimes is so much the same. About that title - the trouble with titles is that my editor chooses then and she came up with this one. It's sort of intriguing - and sort of confusing. I think she meant that when Heath comes back he is now a stranger to Kat and not the childhood friend she had - at least that's my interpretation of it!
(Kate Walker 3:30am November 21, 2011)

Hi Christine - I can't take credit for the idea though! That came from the editors and Emily Bronte! But the book influenced me so much so I know I've included elements from such books in some of the ones I write. I hope you do get to read it - and that you enjoy it
(Kate Walker 3:32am November 21, 2011)

Good morning Chris - now you have me intrigued. I'm wondering what book of mine is in your TBR pile. I do hope you enjoy it wheen it reaches thetop - and thank you for buying it. Hope you enjoy Return of the Stranger too
(Kate Walker 3:34am November 21, 2011)

Hello Jennifer - the covers are good on this one, are't they - but the UK cover is really something special. Everyone seems to love that one - except for one lady who didn't approve of the beard!
(Kate Walker 3:35am November 21, 2011)

Hello Mary - here you are stalking me again! Thank you for dropping by and keeping me company on my blog tour round the internet!
(Kate Walker 3:36am November 21, 2011)

It's always fun to read what other people do with old favorites.
(Renee Brown 10:20am November 21, 2011)

I think that there are certain books one can go back and modernize,
tweak, even add a happy ending to..I look forward to reading yours.
(Carla Carlson 11:12am November 21, 2011)

Sounds like a wonderful idea. I did love Wuthering Heights even though it's such a sad story...
(May Pau 1:48pm November 21, 2011)

Love your books Kate. You are such a prolific writer and I would be proud and honoured to have one of your signed books gracing my bookshelf. Hope I win! (psst if not could I have one anyway please?)
(Manda Ward 2:48am November 22, 2011)

HI Renee - you're right there. I was fascinated to see what the other authors in the Powerful and The Pure mini series did with the books they reworked in this way
(Kate Walker 2:58am November 22, 2011)

Good Morning Carla - I think it's the sign of a true classic that a book can be reworkd, 'tweaked' and the power of the original still stays. I've been writing for 25+ years and seen so many very similar plots and themes- but they've all been written so differently depending on who writes them and the dates at which they were written
(Kate Walker 3:01am November 22, 2011)

Hello May - I've been really happy to find that so many people who say, like you, that they loved Wuthering Heights, but were upset at that sad ending, have loved a chacne to see Heathcliff and Cathy happy for once in my story. I hope you enjoy it too
(Kate Walker 3:15am November 22, 2011)

Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!


© 2003-2017
all rights reserved

Google+ Google+