Saturday, September 03, 2016

WEEKEND WILDCARD - The Joy of Dedications with Kate Walker

Yesterday on my personal blog I wrote a post about  a beautiful card I’d received in the post 
that morning. That  was a special thank you from  some dear friends who had just received a copy of my latest book – Indebted to Moreno – and read the dedication in it.  Because the book was dedicated to them.
A lot of my books have dedications in them and over the years I’ve loved being able to write a few special words on the opening pages to mark the publication of this book and to mark a friendship or a memory along with it.  So because of this card I went back to look at some of the dedications I’ve made and who I’ve made them to.  There are quite a few years to go back, and quite a few dedications – my first book was published in 1984 – and this new title is my 65th novel published. 

That first book – er – no, I didn’t dedicate that to anyone. You see, the truth was that I was still so nervous about things, and when I sent it in I didn’t really think it was going to be published-  so . . no dedication.  But I made up for that with my second book. There was really only one person I could dedicate that to – my husband who had supported and encouraged me through my trial and error period of  trying to be a writer. It was just a simple dedication but it said it all – For Steve. That was Game of Hazard in 1986

The first books were obviously mainly dedicated to family.  My son, my sisters,  my in-laws - and then there was one really poignant dedication that came unexpectedly late. After The Chalk Line was accepted, it was just in time for me to be able to tell my mother about it. But in the exact same week that I learned the book was accepted, I also discovered my mother had liver cancer. I tried to write the second book for her but sadly both she and the book died  in the following year. But because I’ve always believed that  you never throw away anything  you’ve written – it can always be rewritten – I went back to that ‘second’ book some years later.  Chase the Dawn was finally accepted and published in 1988.  And although she never saw it, this one was always my mother’s  special book.

Through the years friends have had books dedicated to them  and a couple of names have appeared  more than once.  Broken Silence was for a dear friend Pat who, apart from my husband had been the only person to know that I was even trying to write. Broken Silence was the  reworked version of the second novel I’d  ever  tried submitting and Pat had encouraged me to submit that.  Sadly, I  dedicated a more recent book  Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal  to her  because, like my mother, cancer took her too soon and I had to mark her memory with a special title.  Broken Silence and Olivero mark most of the 35 years of our friendship.  

  Luckily the other friend to have two dedications – Noelle - is  still with me and  I am still able to provide her with the wedding present she and her husband asked for  - a copy of everything I wrote. I don’t suppose they expected that wedding present would still be going  all these years – and 65  volumes later!  The Babe Magnet of course has had more  dedications than anyone – some of the publication dates have fallen on special anniversaries which is great,.

Many of the dedications have been to special writing friends – fellow writers like  Anne McAllister,  Michelle Reid and Abby Green, Michelle Styles all of whom have contributed something to the books dedicated to them – even if, in the case of Abby, it was  the inspirational effects of a glass of Kir Royal in a posh Dublin hotel!     And going right back to 1987 there’s a mention of an elderly 
Irish poet  called Ewart Milne who was kind enough to buy me a small, bright yellow, portable typewriter when I was first married and had no keyboard on which to create my novels.

Through my dedications I’ve been able to thank people who’ve helped me – with research for a particular topic  or, as in the case of The Return of The Stranger – a thanks to the long ago (l-o-n-g ago) teacher who first introduced me to the wonderful  book that is Wuthering Heights and so set me on a path that led to my own reworking of this iconic story, a copy of which is now in the Bronte Parsonage Museum  permanent collection which is such a  thrill.   I’ve been able to acknowledge wonderful writers who have inspired me – Mary Stewart, Dorothy Dunnett and  Marjorie Phillips who all helped to introduce me to the dark and ambiguous hero.  There’s also Marguerite Lees who was the very first Mills and Boon author I
ever met.

 Lately a lot of the inscriptions  in books have been the result of the teaching part of my life – classes at Caerleon or Fishguard (specially the Advanced  Writing Romance Course in February)  or writing retreats because talking about writing with interested and enthusiastic students always inspires and revise me.   Kept For Her Baby marks a special (25th  anniversary of Writers' Holiday - it's amazing to think that was 5 years ago!

Which brings me full circle to the dedication for Indebted to Moreno  - which is dedicated to dear friends from Writers Holiday, Alison who is a poet and teacher and Malcolm who is always there to help if I need him as my tech support guy.

I haven’t been able to list all the people I’ve dedicated a book to  - and some of the books were written at a time when I was writing so hard that there wasn’t always time to think of who to dedicate it to.  But looking back at these inscriptions in each book that does have a dedication, I’ve loved revising memories, been so happy to think of who is still apart of my life – and, I’ll admit, I’ve shed a few tears over the ones who are no longer here.   

I always believe that it’s important to tell the people that you love  how you feel about them  and I’ve stuck to that in my life.  It’s one of the very special delights of being a published author that I have this special way of showing my feelings to people I care about  - in a permanent way too. Even if I can’t see them any more, I hope they know what it meant.

All this talk of dedications and the look back at the past has reminded me of how important the dedications I’ve made were  - and as I come to the end of my (I hope) 66th title – I’m already looking forward to dedicating it to another special someone  - and another one after that . . . 

My latest title - the 65th! is published  at the end of
September  but the UK edition is on sale on the
M&B site right now. 

Also out is a reprint of  A Throne For The Taking - which was originally published in  June 2013. This is reprinted in a 3 in 1 By Request - entitled Claiming His  Princess which is out in August.

All the up to date news can be found on my web site  on my blog    or my Facebook page


  1. Wow, Kate, 65 books!! I started reading Harlequins in my teen years, so I'm sure I read your books back then! That is so cool! And I love that you wrote the special book for your mother even though she'd passed. Bless you! And here's to 65 more books!

  2. Thank you Jill - yes, I find that 65 figure hard to believe myself! I perhaps didn't make clear that the book for my mother was the one I started writing before she died, then couldn't finish - but some years later I took it out and finished it in her honour. Thanks for the wishes on ore books - I'm just finishing what I hope will be 66th.