I’m joined this week by Christina Courtenay, who writes for Choc Lit.
Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and YA contemporary romance, all published by independent publisher Choc Lit (and also self-publishes YA romance under her own name Pia Fenton).
She is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, she moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan have both won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romantic Novel of the Year (in 2012 and 2014 respectively). Her latest novels are The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight (time slip) and New England Dreams (YA contemporary romance as Pia Fenton).
I asked Christina some questions:-
How do you get your mind into the period and place you are writing about?
I do a lot of research; first the general background for the period I have chosen, then the details of exactly what happened, what people wore, ate, thought, etc. The English Civil War is a time in our history I have been interested in for a long time so I’ve read a lot about it and that helped.
Other than that, I try to imagine myself inside the character’s head to see and feel what they may have done. And I go the place I’m writing about, if possible, plus I always have a photo of the hero to help me visualise him (usually a picture of someone like an actor or singer, whose face/looks I use as a basis for creating the hero). I have a very visual kind of memory so need to see things.
Your latest novel features Raglan Castle. When you first went there yourself did you have any strange feelings like your characters?
No, unfortunately I’m not the slightest bit psychic, so I didn’t see or hear anything supernatural or paranormal. However, the castle ruins are so atmospheric that if you close your eyes it’s very easy to visualise how it must have looked in the past and there is definitely a tangible feeling of sadness – or maybe wistfulness is a better word? – that sort of hangs over it. A strong sense of what a waste it was for something so beautiful to be deliberately ruined (as it was by the Parliamentarians after the siege).
It affected me deeply and from my very first visit I knew I wanted to write about Raglan Castle and the last, heroic stand by the Royalists there in the summer of 1646.
Can you tell us a little about your next book?
My next books are still in the planning stage – I say books plural because I like to write both the time slip stories and the YA ones at the same time and I work on whichever one fires my imagination the most on the day. So basically, I have two books “brewing” but I’m not ready to put fingers to keyboard yet. The adult story will definitely be time slip though, as that’s my favourite sub-genre and I just love writing them.
Thank you so much for having me as your guest today!
It was lovely to have you on my blog, Christina.
To buy Christina‘s books, click on any of the book titles in this blog to be taken to the buying pages at Choc Lit.
“As the velvet cloak of moonlight settled over the ruined towers of Raglan Castle, the shadows beneath them stirred …”
When newly widowed Tess visits Raglan Castle, she experiences an extraordinary vision that transports her to seventeenth-century Wales and a castle on the brink of a siege.
Even when Tess leaves Raglan to return to Merrick Court, her late husband’s home, the strange dreams continue as her life becomes increasingly intertwined with the past. And when the new owner of the estate arrives – New Zealander Josh Owens – the parallels become even more obvious.
But perhaps the visions aren’t just trying to tell their own story, maybe they’re also giving a warning …
I’ve read The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight and found it a captivating read. I love the way the past and present in this time slip echo each other. The hero in the present, Josh, has been added to my list of all time favourite heroes.
You can contact Christina on the following links :-