The first of these is Elaine S from Ontario who already answered this question over on Tote Bags 'N' Blogs when I blogged there. Here's what she said:
You have asked a difficult question to answer. Back "in the day", I didn't keep track of who wrote which books. I just read them. I went to your web site to check out your back cover blurbs and cover pictures to refresh my memory, and three books seemed familiar: BROKEN SILENCE, MAN OF SHADOWS, and THE SPANIARD'S INCONVENIENT WIFE.
I DO know that I recognized your name as someone whose books I read often, like Anne Mather and Penny Jordan. That would have been in the eighties, so I was having kids then! Ahhhh, those were the days. And I thought I was busy THEN! I would have picked them up in a local book store (one of my favourite places!!!), and then I would have passed them on to one of many girlfriends (as I still do).Since I've started blogging, I now write down my comments on Post-It notes and attach to the books.
I recently read CORDERO'S FORCED BRIDE, and I wrote "fast read (GREAT!!!) ... made sense throughout ... liked how they talked to each other ... realistic re details - could imagine it actually happening ... wished I were the Heroine ... dress on cover was blue satin and pg 9 said it was pink satin."Thanks for offering all the great books through the years. Now you've whetted my appetite to read even more (which is the reason for blogging, I imagine)!!!
Back to today.... Since I can't remember which was the exact first book I read, I looked over your backlist again. The first one published of those mentioned above was BROKEN SILENCE from Feb/88, so I'll go with THAT being my first book. It IS possible that it was MAN OF SHADOWS from July/88, as I didn't read books in order of publishing dates then, nor do I now. (In fact, I have boxes of over 500 books I bought during the last several years that have just sat there for the past few months, because when I started blogging this summer, I started to record my comments and save all the newest books with those remarks. It really messes up my process of passing my books on to friends, so I MUST figure out a new system for this. So far, I'm only coming up with quitting blogging/recording and just passing all books, including those autographed, on to my friends. I am very confused.... Any help you could provide would be most appreciated, but it's my problem, so I'll have to deal with it....)
Thank you Elaine! You've talked of a couple of very early books of mine. Although they both came out in the same year (1988), the first publication (UK) of Broken Silence was actually in 1987. And although that made it my 5th published title, it was actually originally written much earlier than that. It was the second submission I made to HMB - Garrett of Stoneroyd - the one that didn't have enough 'emotional velocity'. But it did earn me a letter from a Senior Editor.
So I put it away and some time (years) later I took it out again, reworked it, revising it with the new knowledge I now had and this time managed to get it accepted. So there's a piece of advice for all you would-be writers out there- never throw away a rejected manuscript, no matter how dreadful you think (OK - you know) it is - It may one day be possible to revive it and rework it and turn it into something worth published. That worked for me with Broken Silence
The second winner is Kelly W from Manitoba (I've only just realised that both my winners today come from Canada). Here's what Kelly has to say:
I first read Calypso's Enchantment when I was only 13 years old! My mom has a small bookshelf in the basement and had asked me to dust the books and put them away in a box to give to a charity book sale. As I was doing this I found a section of romance novels and the cover of Calypso just really drew my eye. It was so colourful and pretty! I started to read it right away in the basement and after a few chapters I stopped reading, finished what I was supposed to be doing, and took the book upstairs to hide it under my bed so I could read in secret later. That was the book that got me addicted to Harlequin novels in general and yours in particular! Until I was 16 I would read my mom's or grandma's stash in secret, and then I finally got up the nerve to go to the store and buy my own!
While I don't remember the specifics of that first book, I do remember being completely caught up in the romance of the characters and the exotic location of Malta. It was a beautiful story! I still remain a devoted reader of Kate Walker books, and I thank you for introducing me to the wonderful world of romance novels!
And just for fun I thought I would list my top 5 favourite books for you to help you with your poll:
Thank you Kelly for that - and for including your personal Top 5 Books - I'll add them into the total poll and post some results soon.
And another reader, Pat C from Texas wins a copy of At The Sheikh's Command for her selection of Top Five favourites:
2. The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife
3. Bound By Blackmail
4. Kept for Her Baby
5. Cordero's Forced Bride
So if you want a chance to have your work read, assessed and critiqued by a professional author from the Association, then now is the time to get your application to join in the post so that it reaches the secretary as early as possible in the year. There are only 250 places available on this scheme and they are allocated on a first-come, first served basis - so send those applications off now.