Book tour launching Christina Courtenay’s Highland Storms

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


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!


22 thoughts on “Book tour launching Christina Courtenay’s Highland Storms

  1. Wow. I look forward to reading about these “bad boy ancestors.” LOL.

    I, too, have used those websites, namely I think it was. Well.. I searched for the Chevrestt family. I couldn't find a single Chevrestt before my paternal grandfather. It's like the name appeared out of thin air. We do know that the French traveled to Puerto Rico during the 1800s when Spain was concerned about a slave revolt and wished to increase the caucasian population. They invited the French and the English to buy land in PR. Well, we assume that our name got changed somewhere.. possibly from Chevremont.. as like I said, it doesn't appear to exist before my paternal grandfather. No trace of anyone. We (my father and I) also wonder if someone committed a crime and changed the name to avoid the authorities. LOL

    I have already read this wonderful book and there is no need to enter me. I just wanted to stop by and read the lovely interview. Thank you.

  2. Great feature! I don't have any great ancestry stories but I would love to enter your giveaway please, for the paperback copy. I am in the UK.
    Lindsay @ The Littlereader Library

  3. Oh, I love mysteries and there's nothing better than discovering your ancestors committed a crime! That sounds terrible, doesn't it, but if they did something bad there are records of them everywhere, whereas the law-abiding ones might not leave a single trace of their existence. So for me, the bad ones are the best 🙂

  4. Great interview, Sharon and Christina

    You would not bore me with Genealogy.
    I researched my family tree for a few years whilst I was at home with the older children.

    I loved to go to the Records offices and search the registers. A great big jigsaw and finding the missing pieces was a challenge.

    My christmas card list is longer now with distant cousins. The best thing was getting a copy of a letter my paternal nana wrote to her cousin who had emigrated to USA. His grand daughter still had the letter when we found each other via the internet genealogy search.

    I look forward to sequel to The Scarlet Kimono (congrats on the award) and Highland Storms.

    Not entering the comp, Sharon, as I have a copy already.

    carol 🙂

  5. I have a few fun genealogy stories!

    1. I can trace my father's side back to Brigadier-General Simon Fraser, a Scot who served in the British Army during the American Revolution. I can trace another branch of my father's line back to the Hart's who lived in New York, one of whom served in the American Army during the Revolution. Talk about a family feud!

    2. If you trace my father's line back to colonial America you will find we are the direct descents of three brothers… that is to say, two of the brothers had children who later married and their children married the grandchildren of the third brother. Bit of a surprise to discover that the family tree actually bends back on itself.

    3. For all that I can trace my mother's family and my fathers paternal line back an average of 24 generations, there seems to be no record of my father's maternal line. My grandmother rarely spoke of her parents and the only information we have been able to locate is her birth certificate. Complicated, as my grandmother was a war bride who immigrated to the US just after WWII. Still, even our English relations haven't had any luck.

    Would like to be put in for the ebook please!

  6. I love reading your discoveries 🙂 Genealogy is so addictive!

    I was really excited at one point to find my paternal gt gt grandfather in the Old Bailey records … but unfortunately he turned out to be a witness. I have one ancestor who was shipped out – several records of his enforced stay by his majesty and the ship he was on. Nothing in the ships log to say he died on the way either (although there were plenty of deaths recorded). I have another direct ancestor who was born in Holland (Soards) but a British Subject and he mysteriously disappears between the 1851/1861 census. My favourite direct ancestor has to be my 5 x gt grandfather John Hinde – a well-know pewterer, who was a Master in the Worshipful Company of Peweterers – loads of information about him including his will and I even have his 'mark'. It's amazing what you can find out from a paper trail 🙂

    Good luck everyone who has entered. And good luck with finding answers to your mysteries (although some things should remain mysterious!)

  7. I am currently researching my family history and finding it fascinating. The strangest thing I have found so far is that my great grandfather started married life at the farm where I used to take my dog when we went on holiday. I had no idea he farmed in that area, let alone that particular farm as he sadly died in 1897 when my grandfather was only 7.

  8. Hi Suzy,

    They say there is no such thing as a coincidence 🙂

    Interesting that you were drawn to your great grandfather's home! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Well, apparently, calling myself Lady Baggot isn't too far from the truth if tales of my ancestors are to be believed. Alledgedly my great grandfather was the illegitimate son of Prince Leopold, the son of Queen Victoria. Who knows?! Another family tale is my great grandmother once put a hot water bottle in Cliff Richard's bed. Why? Where? No idea!


  10. We'll have to bow down to you Lady Baggot 🙂 Always some truth in family myths I think. I know my paternal relatives were waiting with bated breath when I ordered my gt grandfather's death cert – they had been told he'd taken his own life. Sigh of relief when it came through … BUT when I ordered my gt gt grandfathers… I found newspaper articles about it too. All rather sad. He was 70, had lost my gt gt grandmother a couple of years before and was in a deep depression. Had a stay in a mental hospital too but they released him. He was a French Polisher and cabinet maker (as was my gt grandad, my grandad and my father – family trad there) and swallowed his own chemicals on Hackney Heath. Found by the policeman on his beat and taken to the German Hospital. It was hushed up in the family but of course there is always some talk!

    As an aside, Cliff Richard visited my secondary school but it was quite a while before I went there (I was only 7 at the time!). Shame you don't know more about her gt gran!

  11. So many wonderful stories! No royals in my family unfortunately, but plenty of rogues 🙂

    I really think serendipity (love that word!) plays a huge part in life though – I had been trying to find my 5 x gt grandfather's birth place in Dorset for 10 years and had given up all hope. Then when looking for someone completely different, I suddenly found him in a Salisbury church register! I wanted to shout out loud, but of course you can't as you're supposed to be quiet. But that was pure chance and I'm so glad I found him at last. Another piece of the puzzle in place, very satisfying 🙂

  12. I enjoyed researching my own ancestors for my WW1 novel recently. It's a fascinating thing to do and something I'll keep returning to.

    I'm sitting down to read Christina's book this weekend and I can't wait. Her novels are always so beautifully written.

  13. Another interesting interview, Christina.

    Names tell a lot about a period of history. In Golden Documents of the Victorian Age, I found a family with eleven sons, all called Edward. It makes a strong comment about infant mortality in Victorian Times. The family was very anxious that the name survived, and this was the way in which they had to go about it.

    Please put me in for the signed copy giveaway.

    Liz X

  14. Yes, genealogy is highly addictive, I must say! Once you start, you can just continue forever and there are so many lovely names to research!
    Liz – do hope those poor people had at least one surviving Edward? How sad otherwise 😦

  15. I've been researching my own ancestry for over 20 years. I love it, the unearthing the details of my ancestor's lives and pondering if that has influenced my life.

    This was a great interview Christina; I loved your two previous books and this one looks great too.

  16. Great interview, but I don't have any genealogy snippets to share!
    I am fascinated by the name Marsaili; it's so unusual!
    If I win I would love a paperback copy, please! 🙂

  17. After wondering why a gentleman would abandon his son with a significant amount of money into the care of friends in 1840, asking them to purchase some titled land- discovered that he had returned to Spain to spend 25 years as a trustee of Lovelace to bring his will and assets home. And also that he was descended from the Kings of Moylurg. Can now trace back to 900AD

  18. Thank you, Julie, glad you enjoyed the other books!
    Joanna – I loved the name Marsaili too. I can't remember where I came across it, but I wrote it down and decided I had to have a heroine with that name. I really like unusual names and can go through name books for hours …
    Ally – wow, you're so lucky! No such illustrious ancestors for me 🙂

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