Today, I would like to welcome Choc Lit author Christina Courtenay to Jera’s Jamboree. Christina is visiting today as part of her book launch for new novel Highland Storms.
Highland Storms is Christina’s third Choc Lit novel. Her debut, Trade Winds and prequel to Highland Storms,was short listed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Awardof Best Historical Fiction 2011.
Christina’s publishers have offered to giveaway a copy of Highland Storms to one of my lucky readers. Carry on reading to find out how you can enter.
Knowing that Christina and I share the passion of genealogy, I asked her if her love of family history had an impact on her writing. I am excited to be able to share with you her response:
Yes, I would definitely sayit’s had an impact on my writing – not directly, perhaps, but certainlyindirectly.
I’ve always loved anythingto do with history, so it was a natural progression to start researching my ownfamily tree. As you probably know, I’m half Swedish and grew up in thatcountry. Therefore I knew all my Swedish relatives very well, but not myEnglish ones. The weird thing was that my maiden name, which was Tapper,is actually a Swedish word, so I thought perhaps my father was descended fromsome Viking or other who’d settled (or should that be ‘gone berserk’?) in theUK. That turned out to be completely wrong, but I had a great timeresearching the name anyway (and incidentally it means “innkeeper” in MedievalEnglish apparently, so evolved completely separate from the Swedish word, whichmeans “brave”). At one stage, I thought perhaps the name had comedown from Scotland, where they have a lot of Scandinavian names. Strangely enough, I’ve always felt at home there, and that was partly why I setmy latest novel in that country. I was a bit disappointed to find I don’thave a single Scottish bone in my body. Still, it helped fire myimagination and was a great excuse for visiting the Highlands! And oncethere, I found I just had to write about it, which is why my first hero(Killian in Trade Winds) was Scottish and his son, Brice, goes backthere to take over the family estate.
As you probably know fromyour own genealogy research, you find lots of interesting ancestors, some morelaw-abiding than others! The more they misbehaved, the easier it is totrace them, as there are lots of records of trials and so on, and as I’m verypartial to “bad boy” heroes, the naughty ancestors are great for inspiration:) I’ve used some of them in novels (none published yet though). The genealogy research has also made me look at certain periods of history in adifferent light. For example, I’ve always been fascinated by theCavaliers and Roundheads during the Civil War (and have to admit I wanted theCavaliers to win – they seemed so much less dull and worthy!). Seeingthis war from the point of view of my ancestors, however, I’ve realised what ahorrible and confusing time it must have been for everyone. They had tochoose sides, whether they wanted to or not, and I’ve used this in the storyI’m working on at the moment, which is a sequel to my second novel TheScarlet Kimono.
There is one other thing thegenealogy research is very useful for when it comes to my writing – thenames. I don’t know about you, but I’ve come across some both weird andwonderful names that just cry out to be used in a book. For example, Ifound a poor baby in a Wiltshire parish register who had been baptizedsomething like John Napoleon Bonaparte Smith in the early 1800s – that musthave been a very unfortunate name to have when Napoleon was soundly beaten byWellington! Some are very obviously hero names though, others definitelybetter suited to villains. I love unusual ones and can spend ages tryingto find just the right one for my hero or heroine. The surnames too aregreat, and if I’m stuck for a good surname, I’ll just look through my ancestorlist to see if there’s anything I can use.
I won’t go on – I can bequite a bore on the subject of genealogy (according to my family), but I dohope my love of history shines through in my novels and this is partly thanksto my newly discovered ancestors.
Thank you so much for havingme on your blog!
Thank you for sharing with us Christina.
Christina has occasionally used the genealogy sites Ancestry and FindMyPast. I’ve had subscriptions to both of them at some point during my own family history researching. Both sites have trials so if you’ve been inspired to start researching your own genealogy, I would recommend you have a look at both websites!
Highland Storms published 1st November 2011 is available to pre-order now.
Who can you trust?
Betrayed by his brother and hischildhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start. So he welcomes theopportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the familyestate.
But there’s trouble afoot atRosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate’s in ruinand money is disappearing. He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, thebeautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?
Marsaili is determined tobuild a good life. She works hard at being housekeeper and harder still atavoiding men who want to take advantage of her. But she’s irresistiblydrawn to the new clan chief, even though he’s made it plain he doesn’t want tobe shackled to anyone.
And the young laird has morethan romance on his mind. His investigations are stirring up an enemy. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants – including Marsaili –even if that means destroying Brice’s life forever …
About the author:
|Photo by Helen Bartlett
Christina livesin London and is married with two children. Although born in England she has aSwedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved toJapan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.
Christina is Vice Chairman of the RomanticNovelists’ Association. She won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historicalshort story in 2001 and the Katie Fforde Bursary for a promising new writer in2006. Highland Storms isChristina’s third Choc Lit novel. Her debut, TradeWinds and prequel toHighland Storms, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award of BestHistorical Fiction 2011.The Scarlet Kimono was short listed for the Big Red Read and The Festivalof Romance Readers Award for Best Historical Read 2011.
As well as her novels, Christina hasnovellas published by DC Thomson’s ‘My Weekly Pocket Novel’ series.
Follow Christina on twitter www.twitter.com/PiaCCourtenay
To link in with the family history theme, if you would like to enter to win a copy of Highland Storms please share with us if you do genealogy, what is the weirdest or best thing you have found so far? But don’t worry if you don’t … you can also leave a general comment to be entered. On offer is either a signed paperback copy (UK only) or an e-copy (UK or International) so please state your preference in your comment.
The giveaway is open until midnight 13th October 2011. Christina Courtenay will be choosing the winner.
We hope you have enjoyed the blog today and good luck!