Writing, Work and Wine with… Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay is an award winning novelist who writes Historical romance with a trace of the Far East. She is published by Choc Lit.

Her novel Highland Storms won the RoNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association Award) for Best Historical Romantic Novel and The Scarlet Kimono won the Best Historical Fiction award for the Big Red Read 2011 and was shortlisted for the inaugural Festival of Romance reader awards 2011. Trade Winds was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Historical Novel Prize 2011. Her new release The Silent Touch of Shadows is due out in bookshops on 7 July.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Historical Novel Society.

Q. Hi Christina thanks for popping in. I’ve been looking forward to getting another Choc Lit author in the hot seat. Can you start by telling us about your writing please? 

A. I am unagented and have had three full-length novels (80,000 – 100,000 words) released and have another coming this month, all published by Choc Lit. I’ve also had four novellas of 30,000 words published first by My Weekly Pocket Novel and later by Dales Large Print. The three full length novels published by Choc Lit are historical novels and the forthcoming release The Silent Touch of Shadows is a time slip (half historical/half present day). My target market is anyone who loves romance and history/adventure stories. 

Q. Wow, it looks like you’re on a roll! So what have been your most memorable writing successes and rejections?

A. Having my first full-length novel published was wonderful and also winning the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel 2012 this year. Rejection wise?  I sent a submission to an agent I chatted to at a function – she asked me to and was all enthusiastic.  I heard nothing for ages and eventually sent her another submission (different story) saying I guessed she hadn’t liked the first one but perhaps she’d like this one instead?  I then received an irate reply saying she’d replied to me ages ago (she hadn’t).  A year and a half later I received a standard rejection from the same agency for the first submission, which had obviously ended up on their slush pile!  Luckily I was published by then so could laugh about it. 

Q. A lesson for anyone not to give up. So, can you describe your writing journey to date in circa 50 words?  

A. Started writing when older daughter was 6 months as I wanted to stay at home with her but still earn money.  Didn’t get published, but was bitten by the writing bug.  Eventually got published a week after daughter left home aged 21!

Q. Just goes to show that if you have a dream of publication just keep going… And your top three tips for writers? 

  1. Write the genre you love to read yourself. 
  2. Find a writing buddy to swap critiques with. 
  3. Join an organisation like the RNA for support from like-minded people.

Q. Thanks for those, some great advice. Now, can you tell us about your work? Do you have a day job or do you write full time?  And what do you love and/or hate about it?

A. I write full time, but my husband and I are just about to start a holiday lettings business as well. A typical day is to get up, check e-mails/Twitter/FB, write or do research or rewrites/edits until lunchtime, walk dogs, have lunch, write some more, do other writing related stuff (like help organise the RNA’s RoNA Rose Award and other committee duties), chores…  I do a lot of other things as well, my days are pretty varied.

I love having the freedom to work whenever I feel like it, not having to get up early in the morning (I’m a night owl) and not having a boss who tells me what to do!

I don’t think I hate anything about writing full time, but there are things I like less than others – edits/rewrites for one thing (although I know they are necessary) and promoting myself in various ways, which I find difficult.

Q. Well hopefully on the promo bit appearing on this blog has been pretty painless! Lastly, can you tell us what your favourite Wine is?  

A. I don’t drink wine very often, but when I do, it has to be German wine, like Bereich Bernkastel or Piesporter Michelsberg (sweet, fruity and not dry).  My favourite drink really though is Coca-Cola with lots of ice and lemon (occasionally I like it with Bacardi added).

Thank you Christina for your time and sharing your writing journey and habits with us so honestly. All the best with the launch of your new release, which has the most gorgeous cover (as do all the other Choc Lit books I’ve seen/read).

To find out more about Christina and her writing, you can go to her fab website at http://christinacourtenay.com/ or follow her on Twitter @PiaCCourtenay. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/christina.courtenay.9. Her new novel The Silent Touch of Shadows is available now as an eBook to purchase on Kindle via www.amazon.co.uk and is available to buy from good bookshops as well as www.thebookdepository.co.uk and www.whsmith.co.uk on 7 July.

Hope you enjoyed the post. The Writing, Work and Wine with… series is taking a short break for a few weeks as I’m prepping for next week’s RNA conference, which I’m hoping to blog about in the third week of July. But if you check out this blog next week you may just find a post full of photos of the dreamy guys that I use for inspiration for my contemporary romances…

Happy Writing, Nikki 🙂

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