We moved house in Easter and I thought I’d opened every single carton, but lo and behold I discovered another unpacked box. Like so many of the sturdy archive boxes we purchased, intending to use them for permanent storage, this one was full of books. Yay, more books! – not that I haven’t still got heaps from our recent RWNZ conference to read :-). And inside this carton I discovered a very special book.
Two years ago in 2004, I went to my first RWNZ conference. And because I had finalled in the Clendon with my first fantasy manuscript, my husband bravely opted to attend the Awards Dinner with me. One of our key-note speakers for this particular conference was a wonderful lady who writes as Kate Walker. Kate’s a best-selling Harlequin Mills & Boon romantic novelist. She’s multi-multi-multi (!) published. But aside from all that, she’s an incredibly entertaining speaker and a very gracious woman.
Now, you should know a couple of things before I continue: in August of 2004 I was a brand new writer and a very recent RWNZ member. I knew nothing about category romance and even less about the amazing ladies (and men!) who wrote them. My book shelves were full of fantasy and SciFi – Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Stephen Donaldson, Julian May, Melanie Rawn, Robert Heinlein and the like. So I’m very ashamed to say that I had no idea of who Kate Walker was. Of course that all changed at the Conference when I heard her speak and I must say I was awed! But I didn’t think to brief my husband on Kate’s stellar career as a writer, as I didn’t think he’d have any reason to personally speak to her.
Just before the dessert course of the Awards Dinner, we were all given a card with one half of a famous duo on it and told to find our ‘other half’. My hubby’s was ‘Tarzan’ so two guesses who his ‘Jane’ turned out to be… Kate! And when he struck up a conversation with her, being at a writers’ conference, the first thing he naturally asked was, ‘So, have you written any books?” “A few,” she replied. “So, you’re published then?” he hazarded. “Yes.” The others at the table, who knew exactly how famous Kate was, were looking slightly uncomfortable by now and my hubby began to have an inkling there was more to this woman than met the eye. “More than one book, then, huh?” She smiled. “A few.” He just had to ask, “How many?” “Oh, more than forty.” Gulp! Not an auspicious beginning, but Kate seemed to find it refreshing that he knew nothing about her and wasn’t too awed to actually engage in conversation. In fact, when it came time to return to our seats, she wouldn’t give him back!
When they finally finished nattering and my hubby returned to my side, Kate came over to compliment me about my charming husband, and to my delight, presented me with one of her books. I opened the cover of ‘The Twelve Month Mistress’ to discover she’d signed it for me. It reads: ‘For Maree, Thank you for the loan of your husband! Love Kate Walker, RWNZ 2004′.
I’ll always treasure this book (and it’s a fabulous read, by the way!) because of the memories it recalls for me. I know for a fact that my hubby (a dedicated non-fiction reader) has read it, too, and he confessed he thought Kate was a fantastic writer. So do I, and the memory of Kate’s kindness always makes me smile whenever I think of this book. It’s now back on my bookshelf, where it deserves to be.
Signing off now, to go ice my daughter’s birthday cake in preparation for the big sleepover party tonight. At 4pm I’m being invaded by 10-year-old girls… eek!