Thursday, September 06, 2012

50th party blog guest - Christina Courtenay

I’ve known Christina Courtenay through the RNA for years. She’s another friend who gives me hair envy and is effortlessly stylish :o) We have lots in common – dogs, a love of Gothic novels, cooking – and she made me cry last Christmas (in a good way!) when she emailed me to say that I’d been shortlisted for the RoNA Rose award.

Over to Christina:

 Thank you for having me, Kate!

I’ve just started the edits on my fifth book, which I was quite pleased about until Kate asked me to take part in the celebrations for her fiftieth - yes, five zero – 50! Wow, amazing! I am in total awe of anyone that prolific because I know how much work goes into writing just one of those books, and this is a milestone that definitely deserves a celebration, so huge congratulations to Kate!

The thing that impresses me the most isn’t the actual writing she’s done though – it’s coming up with so many ideas for stories. For me, that’s the hardest part because I just can’t force it. Ideas come when they feel like it and usually they hit you when you’re least expecting it. I never know what is going to trigger the next one and when I’m lucky enough to be struck by inspiration, I write it down immediately so that I won’t forget whatever it is.

Ideas are precious to me, simply because I don’t actually know if I’ll ever have another good one – or one that’s got enough substance to be turned into a full-length novel. Sure, there are ways of trying to stimulate the mind to come up with story lines and plots, but the best ones, I find, are the ones that arrive unbidden.

It’s amazing the things that can trigger ideas though – so far, for me, it’s been a very varied selection of things: a ghost, a house, a painting, an actor in a film, a sumo wrestler and someone else’s hair! Weird? Absolutely. But that’s part of the fun of writing in my opinion.

I’ve heard other authors say that they find inspiration by reading magazines (especially the Agony Aunt type columns), watching TV and sitting in cafes listening in on other people’s conversations. I’ve yet to try those, but I do go to the cinema a lot as I’m often struck by ideas while watching the big screen. And it’s a great excuse for an outing and a large tub of popcorn too ☺

Anyway, to help Kate celebrate her wonderful achievement, I’m giving away a copy of my latest novel The Silent Touch of Shadows. It’s a time slip story, which features a professional genealogist who, after being harassed by a ghostly presence, decides to do some research on her own family tree and uncovers a six hundred year old love story. To win a copy, just leave a comment!

Many congratulations again, Kate! Here’s to the next 50!

You can find out more about Christina at her website or on her blog at
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @PiaCCourtenay


Tiffany K said...

50 books... I couldn't image writing that many. It's one of the moments that make me happy I am the reader and not the writer. I do appreciate all the hard work authors do though.

Congratulations on making it to 50 books, that's an amazing accomplishment!

I have no clue if I'm eligible or not to enter the contest as I live in the US. Regardless if I am or not though I have to say I am happy I stopped by because that book sounds like something I have never read before.

Alison Morton said...

Ah, timeslip. I love it. There are so many opportunities for developing a plot, having characters with outrageous or quirky views, for stepping into another world.

The very best of luck and success with the book, Christina, and congratulations to Kate on her fiftieth.

Pamela Hartshorne said...

I'm off to Amazon to check out The Silent Touch of Shadows, Christina, as I am a huge fan of time slips too (no surprise there, as I'm Kate's guest tomorrow talking about my own!)

I find films a useful source of inspiration too, especially for my romances. Perhaps it's because the story on the screen is so huge and overwhelming, but my best ideas have come from not liking the way the story went and wanting to change the situation or the ending.

Christina Hollis said...

I've said it before elsewhere but it's worth repeating - that's a stunning cover, Christina. Good luck with The Silent Touch of Shadows, and congratulations to you too, Kate, for reaching your fiftieth book.

Melinda Hammond/Sarah Mallory said...

Good to see you at the party, Christina!

Your time slip sounds lovely, - and such a gorgeous cover (as are all your covers, you lucky girl). I love time slip books and can't wait to read this one.

Caroline said...

What a lovely cover Christina. I loved your blog - and I agree 100% - thinking up stories is not easy! It's great to see you here and it's been fab celebrating Kate's 50th book blog party! Caroline x

Christina said...

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments!
Tiffany - no worries about living in the US, you still have a chance of winning, so thanks for stopping by :)
Alison and Pamela - thank you, yes I love reading time slips too and the fact that there are two stories going on. Pamela, can't wait to hear about yours tomorrow!

Christina said...

Christina and Melinda - thank you, glad you like the cover! I have been very lucky so far I think :)
Caroline - I'm glad it's not just me!
Kate - congratulations again, I still can't get over that number - 50!!

Scarlet Wilson said...

I think the cover is fabulous too. It's very atmospheric. Good luck with your story Christina!

Christina Courtenay said...

Many thanks, Scarlet :)

Deborah Murphy said...

Hi Kate! I've been reading your fabulous blog for years but have only recently started to comment.Congratulations on your fiftieth book!

And hi to you, Christina! As a keen genealogist myself, (I've traced my family tree back to the mid 1700s), I think this is a brilliant idea for a story. I can't wait to read this book!

Eli Yanti said...

Hi Christina

i'm so reading your post, your excerpt and i love your cover book :)

btw good luck in edits your fifth book.

bn100 said...

Nice post. The book sounds intriguing.

Christina said...

Thank you, Deborah - yes, genealogy is highly addictive isn't it! I've traced my family back to 1755, am working on going further.
Eli and bn100 - many thanks!

Maria Mohan said...

I suppose it probably depends to some extent on whether one is writing longer novels of around 80,000 words or shorter ones (novellas) at around 50k. Shorter novels might take less time to write, then one can move on to the next idea. Some writers can get a novella done in two months. Or less. That could be six books a year if you keep your nose to the grindstone.

But one way or the other, 50 books is a huge achievement for sure, novellas or otherwise.

Kate, I'm so sorry, I've visited your blog several times over the last few days and never once congratulated you on your achievement. Very well done indeed. You're celebrating your achievement in a terrific way, I'm enjoying these posts no end.

Christina, I'm also fascinated by the premise of your book and would love to win a copy.

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for 'The Silent Touch of Shadows'- Alison Morton. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!