Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Wednesday, 13 January 2016

In which we ask our guest Christina Courtenay one or two questions



Award-winning novelist Christina Courtenay publishes her fifth Regency novella this week, Marry for Love. We took the opportunity to ask a few questions about her writing. Congratulations Christina, the book sounds great (Gill has read it  - she says it is great!). We wish you loads and loads of sales.

Gill asked - What does your hero dream about? – At the beginning of the book, his only wish is to escape the situation he finds himself in, ie. forced into marriage with a girl he doesn’t want (she’s tricked him and he knows life with her won’t be pleasant).  Other than that, he’s got pretty much everything he wants so hasn’t given much thought to the future, but at some point he would have liked to find the perfect wife and start a family.  He cares deeply about his estates and would want to leave them in good hands, so he’d need a son to teach.

Rae asked - Is this a stand alone novella or does it link to any others in a series? – It’s a stand alone, as are all my Regency novellas so far.  I do like writing series, but Regency ideas only ever seem to come to me as separate stories for some reason.  No idea why!

Neil asked - if you had to live the life of one of your characters who would it be? – Definitely the heroine’s.  I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say all my novels and novellas have happy-ever-after endings so I would be very pleased to end up with what she gets J  I usually say that I write fairy-tales for grown-ups as I’ve always loved them and dreamed of being the princess with the HEA.  Most Regency tales seem to me to fit that model – just substitute the prince for a lord of some sort.

Jennie asked - Are you a plotter or a pantser? – I’m a pantser, which works fine most of the time, but sometimes causes me headaches.  If I have the entire story in my head when I start, that’s okay, but if I only start with a single scene and try to wing it from there, I often get stuck halfway because I have no idea where I’m going with it.  That’s when I have to force myself to become a plotter for a while and try to map out the rest of the tale before continuing.  It doesn’t come easily to me but it’s the only way to fix the problem, I’ve found.

Jennifer asked - what do you do if (when) your characters just won't do what you want them to? – I let them do pretty much what they want.  After all, they know best what they like and where they want to go, so if they surprise me then hopefully they’ll surprise the reader too, which could be good!  The characters grow and develop as I get further into the story and I discover things about them I didn’t know.  For example, my heroine in Marry for Love is forced to go and work as a housekeeper, which might have seemed like a bleak prospect at first (she’s used to living a life of luxury as a lord’s daughter), but she finds that she actually enjoys it and it’s not the hardship she thought it would be.

And finally from ‘Novel Points of View’– as we’re all about points of view, we had to ask which point of view do you prefer to write from, male or female? – I actually like both as I feel that it makes the story better if the reader gets to see both sides.  I was a bit of a tomboy as a child, so I really like writing some of the “wilder” things the hero gets to do, like fighting scenes and so on, especially if the hero is giving the bad guy his come-uppance or something like that.  (Bloodthirsty, moi?)  It’s also fun to try to go into the mindset of the hero and of course in historicals the men see women in a totally different way to what they would now, with them being supposedly weaker in every way.  My heroines usually challenge that, giving my heroes a hard time J
Many thanks for having me as your guest!

If anyone else has questions for Christina, feel free to ask!
 
Marry for Love, blurb:-

Trapped in an intolerable marriage?
Delilah cannot bear to watch as her twin sister Deborah marries Hamish Baillie, Fourth Earl of Blackwood. Not only because she knows that her conniving sister has manipulated the poor man into marriage, but also because she has been in love with the Earl since she first set eyes on him …
Delilah is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Hamish from a life of unhappiness – but will her plan work, or will she have to accept that she is no match for her twin’s scheming ways? 


Pia Fenton (writing as Christina Courtenay) writes historical romance, time slip and YA contemporary romance, all published by independent publisher Choc Lit.  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 Jade Lioness (historical) and New England TLC (YA contemporary romance).

13 comments:

  1. Interesting peek into your writing style, Christina. Love the fact you were a 'tomboy' - explains how you write heroes so well! Good luck with 'Marry for Love.'

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  2. Apart from length, are there other differences in the way you approach novellas as opposed to novels?

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    1. Not consciously, but I guess that I allow myself less sub-plots and fewer characters with a novella because it's shorter. Other than that, I just approach it the way I would any of my stories :-)

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  3. I share your writing method, Pia - diving in headfirst, then having to stop and think about when I'm stuck half way through! Interesting post.

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    1. Thank you! So glad it's not juse me - it's brilliant when it works, but not as much fun when you get stuck :-)

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    2. Well that makes three of us then as I'm the same -although I'm trying to be more of a plotter. Interesting blog Christiana and nice to see you here.

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  4. Good to see you here, Christina, and get a peek into your writing 'secrets'.

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    1. Thanks, Linda, I always enjoy being a guest on this lovely blog!

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  5. I am an obsessive plotter, and it doesn't always work. I could learn from you, I think!

    And I love the idea of fairy tales for grown ups.

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    1. Maybe a happy medium is best, Jennifer? Although I wish I was better at plotting :-)

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  6. Great idea to have questions from different people! Really enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading the book, Christina.

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