Yay! A big hello to Christina Courtenay
With the recent launch of Christina’s new time slip novel, The Silent Touch of Shadows, we are delighted that she has taken time out to visit The Romaniac blog. The Silent Touch of Shadows is on the reading list of several of us and I know one or two have already read it. I LOVE the cover, it’s one of those that you want to stroke.
We put some questions to Christina recently and she has given some great answers.
Can you tell us about the journey this book has gone through to get published? – Yes, if you’ve got a while? It’s gone through quite a long journey actually and umpteen rewrites (I’ve lost count myself), but it was one of those stories I desperately wanted to tell, so it was definitely worth the work and the wait! I started writing it about fifteen years ago and when I joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme in (I think?) 2000, it was the first story I sent them. I received a ten page critique, which had me in tears (it was my first one and I was naïve enough to think the story was perfect as it was <LOL>) – but once I calmed down and read the comments properly, I could see where I’d been going wrong. I rewrote it and tried to sell it for many years, but was told no one wanted time slip stories. After countless rejections and a couple of near misses by agents and editors, I put it aside. Then last year, after Choc Lit had accepted my third historical, I asked the editor if she’d consider looking at a time slip and she said to send it in. Their tasting panel enjoyed it and now here it is – out in the world at last! (Sorry, I did say it was a long story!)
Is the house based on a real one? – Yes, it’s based on a place where I used to spend a lot of time, and there really was a ghost there. The house was lovely, dating from the 15th century with some later additions, but seriously spooky – all dark beams and shadowy corners!
Have you had any paranormal experiences yourself? – No, thankfully not! I used to hide under my duvet with ear plugs in my ears so I wouldn’t see or hear anything, I’m such a chicken! There was definitely an eerie atmosphere in that house though and the owners saw the ghost several times – a handsome, blond man with a beard and wearing chain mail. (It doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But handsome or not, I’d still have been scared.)
How easy do you find it to think up titles for your books? – It varies enormously. With some books, the titles just seem to come automatically from the story or something special in it, but others you have to think for ages before you find something suitable. I often use poetry to help me out – other people’s I should say, since I can’t write it myself. Some poems have lovely phrases in them that are great as book titles. That’s how I found The Silent Touch of Shadows, which is my favourite title out of the ones I’ve had so far. When I write trilogies, however, I like the titles to be connected somehow, hence Trade Winds and Highland Storms for example.
How often do book titles get changed? – So far, only one of mine has been changed - Trade Winds (I had originally called it The Tiger Gate). But titles are very important, and publishers have a lot more experience of what sells, so I try not to be precious about mine. After all, the whole point is to sell well, so if you have a title that everyone else hates, that sort of defeats the object.
What are your three favourite book titles? – Shadow of the Moon (M.M. Kaye), Midnight is a Lonely Place (Barbara Erskine) anAcross the Nightingale Floor (Lian Hearn)
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Christina.
Website : http://christinacourtenay.com/
Publishers : ChocLit http://www.choclitpublishing.co.uk/