Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 22 - Kate Hardy

Right - I checked - and yes, today's blogger will have time to come and chat with us today. Officially it was her turn to blog at the weekend but I knew she was agonisingly tight on a deadline so I waited until she'd finished the book before I posted her blog here.

And of course she did finish her book - not that I ever doubted it - because today's blogger is Kate Hardy - the lady I affectionately call Scary Kate. Want to know why? Well, you'll have to read my Guest Blog over on her blog party - when I get to write it that is! And Yes, Kate I will write it - promise - but there's a small touch of pots and kettle here when it comes to delivery of blog posts.

Scary Kate is only Scary Kate professionally of course -she's a one woman dynamo, writing all sorts of books at incredible rates - that's why she's having a Blog Party too - to mark her 25th - er that's her 25th Mills & Boon title - we're not counting the other non fiction books she's created as well. See what I mean? Scary?

But in real life Scary Kate isn't Scary at all - she's warm, generous with herself and her time (Scasily so when you think about the books she's writing- and her family commitments) and she's a very special friend to have in my life. And not only because she is one of the few people who can talk history and research with then BM- and stay as long in secondhand bookshops - and spend as much as he does! I find it hard to believe that it was only 5 years or so ago that we met - it feels as if she has been in my life for ever. Kate's blog post today recalls that meeting and all I can say is that I'm so glad we ended up sitting next to her or I would have missed making a great friend.
Oh yes - and that last comment about being in trouble - not a bit of it! Unless you count reducing your friend to tears of happiness on a very special occasion cause for trouble - if you didn't read about it before - or you need a reminder then check out my celebration dinner pictures here and my very special memories of that occasion here. Not to mention Kate's own memories of the event on her own blog here. Because of this, as well as Kate'ws official photo, I'm also posting a photo of a moment that really sums up our friendship and Kate herself.

Kate Hardy blogpiece for Kate Walker’s 50th

The first time I met Kate Walker, I was a relatively baby author: my first Mills & Boon had been accepted but was about six months away from publication in paperback. I’d been invited to a Mills & Boon authors’ lunch. Suddenly, from being a journalist and mum of two small children, I was in a room with all these people who were Really Famous. People whose books I’d read and loved over the years. And I was having lunch with them.

Daunting, or what? And I must’ve been looking a bit lost because this lovely woman was sitting next to me at lunch and started chatting away to me, drawing me out of my shell. I felt as if I’d known her for years. And it was only a bit later, when we finally got round to exchanging names, that I realised who she was…

A Very Famous Person.

Kate Walker.

But she didn’t act like a star. She was kind and down-to-earth and funny and warm and she made me feel as if I belonged in this group of talented (and did I mention famous?) writers.

That was back in 2002. Although I’ve known Kate personally for only five years, it feels more like fifty years – because it’s the kind of friendship you know right from the start is going to be special and last a lifetime. The kind of friendship where you ring for a five-minute chat… and two and a half hours later, you’re still talking, though it only feels as if you’ve been talking for five minutes. The kind of friendship that when you realise you’ve been shortlisted for an award and you’re panicking just a teensy bit about the fact you’ve never been to the Savoy before and you’re going to fall flat on your face or spill wine over yourself or… (take the rest as read), she stops you jabbering and says, ‘Meet me at my hotel at ten and we’ll have a cup of coffee and you can talk history with the BM, and then you can travel to the Savoy with us and we’ll hold your hand.’ (Kate – and Steve – you have no idea how grateful I still am for that.)

Over those years, we’ve laughed a lot and talked a lot and set the world to rights over a glass of wine/water/cup of coffee – to the point where we’ve both had a croaky voice, the next day. We’ve shared pictures of heroes and inspiring music and the sort of little snippets that set the novelists’ inner lightbulb flickering. It doesn’t matter that we write for different lines and we have different styles. It doesn’t matter that she’s a cat person and I’m a dog person. It doesn’t matter that she’s a vegetarian and I’m an omnivore. Our differences complement rather than divide.

I’m proud to call Kate my friend.

And I’m even prouder that she’s reached a special milestone. Fifty contemporary romance novels for M&B, all with her trademark intensity and all with the feeling that you’ve met new characters in new situations – our Kate never cheats readers by recycling.

Here’s to you, Kate Walker. By the time this is posted, I’ll have celebrated your fiftieth properly with you in person. (And I might also be in trouble… but that’s a different story…)
And whoops, nearly forgot. This is a blog party celebration, which means authors get to give away books! So I’m delighted to include two books that are special to me. The first is Breakfast at Giovanni’s, my newest book (which also happens to be my 25th). And the other is a release from last year – Strictly Legal – which I dedicated to Kate with love and thanks for her encouragement and support over the years. I think that says it all. Thank you, Kate.

Kate Hardy

To win, just post a comment about the first time you met someone who became a very special friend.


Donna Alward said...

What a great post, Kate!

I don't actually remember the first meeting with my best friend Krista. And no, it wasn't one of those "I was too drunk to remember" things, it was because we gazed at each other over our high chairs. :-) We lived next door to each other for pretty much the first 23 years of our lives - until I got married! She was my first friend and she's still my best friend. And look out! Cuz she's as protective as a mama bear! LOL

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Donna! And how lovely to have a friend who's been part of your life for so long.

I remember meeting my best friend (who's been my best friend for over half our lives now - scary!) at our first lecture in Victorian Studies. We went for a coffee and ended up talking for hours: bonded over books, music, chocolate and gorgeous men. (Hmm. Not much changes there, then. Hey, guess what - September, when I get to meet you in person, there's going to be wine and chocolate and coffee and talk of gorgeous men...)

lidia said...

I met a very close friend of mine when my daughter was two. Our children were in the same nursery school.

Now 22 years later we are very good friends - still. Nowadays we don't always get a chance to speak as much or spend as much time together as in the past. However, we are always there for each other. We're a phone call away. If either one needs something, or just a willing ear to listen, we're right there.

I wouldn't trade this friendship for anything.

Unknown said...

My best friend has been my friend my entire life, literally. Her mother and mine were best friends. They we were both born less than a year apart, so we have been around each other our whole lives. When we were little, we were mostly friends because of our parents friendship. By the time we were teenagers though, we became true friends just because we liked and respected each other so much. Gina now is really more like a sister to me than a friend. I know she would be there when things are bad as well as in good times.

Nell Dixon said...

I met Linda when we both were being interviewed for a place on our nursing course. We were 18 and there was a strike outside the hospital, the pickets let us through and we were smuggled through the kitchens into the school of nursing for our interviews. We've been friends ever since.

Anonymous said...

Lidia, that sounds like the perfect definition of friendship to me.

Bamabelle - wow, that's fabulous that you've taken the best friends on another generation.

Anonymous said...

I met my best friend Marina during our first time in high school. I remember how we came to the class room, all we young boys and girls, a little bit nervous, but eager to learn to know each other and excited about our new school and everything. And then Marina came to talk to me, with a bright smile on her face. From that day we've been friends, talk to each other on the phone and of course meet often. I'm the god mother to her son Daniel. WE've known each other for so long, know each others thoughts. to be friends in both good and bad times, that's wonderful. I'm so grateful for my friend and hope I can be a good friend as well.

Anonymous said...

Lovely story, Tessa. And you're absolutely right in that true friendship goes both ways :)

Donna Alward said...

LOL at Kate (not *that* scary).

And thanks for getting me all spooled up for September again. LOL. Wine and chocolate and coffee (presumably to sober up?) and talk of gorgeous men...with some fabulous ladies. Can't wait to give you a big hug!

Anonymous said...

My oldest friend and I met in school. We were both teased, me for being very skinny and her for being the opposite. We bonded over my offering her a pinapple chunk (that's a hard candy for anyone that doesn't know)and have been firm friends ever since. Throughout our school years our nicknames changed from fatty and skinny to dead slow, and stop. As we always got into trouble for being late to classes because we talked so much along the way. When she had her first child who was born prmaturely and weighing one pound thirteen ounces, which was ver scary 25 years ago, I was the first person she called to come and hold her hand.


Minna said...

I met my best friend in elementary school and I possibly couldn't have found a better friend. We could talk about anything, did a lot of fun stuff and helped each other through some hard times.

Anonymous said...

Chris, that's a lovely story. In November, I'm writing a medical set in a special care baby unit (my Christmas book) - dedicated to my twin great-nieces, who were premature and will be one in a couple of months. Scary how fast time goes.

Minna - it's really heartwarming to hear of so many people who met their best friends so young and whose friendships have lasted a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Donna - hug back atcha!

Marcy said...

I remember meeting my best friend for the first time--my husband. We met a party in highschool. He had a cheezy teenage mustach, I had big 80's hair. It was love, or at least lust, at first sight. And we've been together now for 20 years.


Anonymous said...

Marcy, that's lovely!

I had 80s lace fingerless mittens when I first went out with my DH - remember them? And the bright pink and blue eyeshadow. And those lovely suede pixie boots... ah, those were the days.

What worries me now is that my 10-y-o keeps referring to 80s music as "classic"...

Sue A. said...

Well I don't remember the meeting, but it happened on my birthday, my very first. My mom's my best friend.

Anonymous said...

Sue, that's a wonderful sentiment. And it's pretty much how I felt about my own mum.

(No, Kate W, I promise I'm not going to make your readers cry today!!) (Especially as a rather gorgeous Spanish doctor has just walked into my head, which means I have to watch Antonio Banderas films. Now, where did I put Zorro?)

Unknown said...

One of my best friends is the midwife who looked after me when I was pregnant with my first daughter 12 years ago, and throughout two more pregnancies and deliveries. (Though when we have lunch together it's quite important to forget the angles from which she's seen me...)

I've also met some lovely friends since I started to write for HMB!

Dena said...

I met my bestfriend when we were babies,so it isn't a memory I have but she has always been there for me. Our moms were friends and lived a few houses down from each other. Even through all the moves out and back to Washington we are friends. She is so sweet,caring, and understanding.
Congrats to you too Kate for your 25th book!

Cherie J said...

My best friend is my identical twin sister. I am the eldest by one minute. She and I have known each other all our lives, obviously, since first meeting in utero. :-)

Kammie said...

Congratulations to both of you for publishing so many books. Wow...25 and 50 that's something to be proud of.

I met my best friend of 30+ years when she was sick. We were neighbors and I had heard that she was in the hospital with hives and just come home. She couldn't go outside to play. I went over to her house to sit with her for a while because I felt sorry for her. The rest was history. We've been best friends ever since.

Unknown said...

I met Bebe when we were very small, her parents and mine were good friends. We kind of grew up together. If I wasn't at her house she was at mine. I lived with her for several months when my mother was injured in an accident, even through out teen age years we hung out together. As we got older we drifted apart, after she got married and then I married and moved. We still see each other through family gatherings, and keep in touch through e-mails and phone calls every now and then.

ChristyJan said...

I met a special lady 3 years ago who has become a wonderful friend. I won a vacation to Vancouver, Canada and another winner was a lovely 83 year old woman. She e-mails me every now and then and lets me know how she is and what is going on in her life. Even though we live miles apart and will probably never meet again, and there are more than 30 years difference in our ages, she is someone who I consider a special friend.

Anonymous said...

India - lovely story :o) (See, if you wrote Medicals...) Me too on HMB.

Dena - that's lovely you've stayed such good friends during moves apart.

Cherie J - that beats everyone else for the earliest meeting! :o)

Kim W - I bet your best friend's memories are similar. And that's so nice that you went to play with her rather than leaving her all on her own, feeling miserable. Sending you a hug. (My theory that everyone is basically nice (until proven otherwise!), and you've reinvested my belief in that theory.)

Virginia - lovely story.

Christyjan - wow, that's an unusual meet. (And I'm envious about the vacation. Canada's on my list of places I'd love to visit, especially since my uncle went whale-watching for his 50th and I saw my DH's eyes light up.)

Anonymous said...

I met one of my best friends--my husband--when my older brother brought him home for dinner. He was 12, I was 9. And I knew I wanted to marry him even then! He was so gorgeous ;) I had to wait 15 years though...

Great post, Kate. It's lovely to read about the incredible friendships that develop between authors.

--The other Kate H.

Anonymous said...

Kate H, we could really freak people and be a scary triumvirate. Kate H, T'Other Kate H and T'Other Kate... (All right, all right. I'm researching my new book and that means Googling pics of Antonio Banderas and I'm a bit light-headed. Sorry, Kate and Kate. Forgive my frivolity.)

That's so cool, meeting the love of your life and knowing straight away you're going to marry him. (Me, too: I was 19 and he was 20. We've been together 22 years, this August, married for 15 and... hm... OK, Kate W. I admit. Scary.)

CrystalGB said...

I met one of my closest friends through work. I had been transferred to another department at work and was unhappy and sad. She noticed this and started dropping by my office and chatting with me once a day and I started to feel better because she made me feel welcome. We have grown to be really good friends.

Anonymous said...

Crystal G, what a lovely story!

All these stories of thoughtfulness and kindness are really good to hear on a cold, VERY wet day when I had to drive through floods on the way home (and we've got off lightly compared with the north and the midlands).

robynl said...

I met my best friend upon her coming to the drug store I worked in and applied for a job. The day she started working her and I hit it off and we have remained friends through thick and thin; she being 2 divorces, a death, the loss of half of one of her legs and me being a divorce and another marriage, etc. A great friend all the way.


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