Three Heroes, Three Times the Trouble

Next week Monsoon Mists, the final instalment in my Kinross trilogy, is released in paperback and as always I’m chewing my nails wondering how it will be received and whether readers will like my hero.  Because let’s face it, the hero is the most important part of a romantic novel and the ideal scenario is of course that readers will fall in love with him.  It’s what you’d like for every hero you create, but this time there was added pressure – would he be able to match up to his father and brother who’d gone before him?

TradeWinds:Layout 1When I wrote Trade Winds I was totally in love with the hero, Killian Kinross, myself.  As an author you have to be, otherwise why would anyone else feel the same?  He’s handsome, with long auburn hair and intensely blue eyes (and yes, he was based on my favourite actor in the looks department) – what can I say, I’m shallow and I like my heroes to be good-looking!  But I think what I liked most about him was his sense of humour and mischievousness.  He didn’t take himself too seriously, was a bit of a ‘bad boy’ (okay, a lot of a ‘bad boy’!) as he’d never been in love until he met the heroine, and he just generally enjoyed life to the full, making the best of every situation and his skills.  I was told readers liked him too, which was lovely but rather daunting when I came to write the second book in the trilogy, Highland Storms.  This featured Killian’s eldest son, but how to create another gorgeous hero without making him a copy of his father?

Layout 1I solved that problem by (a) making him take after his mother in looks, apart from the blue eyes, so although still handsome he’s totally different to Killian, and (b) giving him a personality that’s almost the opposite of his father’s.  Brice had been in love with the same girl since his teens and would never have dreamed of cheating on her.  He’s quiet and calm, and although he has a sense of humour and can sometimes be mischievous, he’s a lot steadier than his father ever was.  Doing what’s right is important to him and he’d never go looking for adventure just for the sake of it.  He has all the ‘big brother’ traits when it comes to his siblings and his clan – caring, protective and careful.  Yet when it matters most, he shows himself to be every bit as strong as his father.

9781781891674The third book, Monsoon Mists, features Brice’s younger brother Jamie.  He had a lot to live up to and I must admit I found writing him very difficult at first!  In the end, however, I let him show me his character himself.  I started to write down his back story and somehow he evolved inside my head and little by little, I realised what he was like.  I knew he was a ‘bad boy’, like his father, since he’d caused Brice a lot of grief in Highland Storms.  In looks, he also took after Killian (apart from having his mother’s eyes) and to begin with, he was just as wild, if not worse.  Poor Brice had his work cut out keeping his little brother out of trouble, while Jamie himself never had a care in the world until a scheming minx called Elisabet changed everything.  That’s when his life is suddenly turned upside down and so is his character.

From having been a carefree young man, he becomes cynical, introverted and a staunch supporter of justice.  A womanizer no longer, he mistrusts all females and it takes a very special lady to try and make him see that they’re not all like Elisabet.  But has he really changed completely?  You’ll have to read the book to find out, but we all know the past has a habit of catching up with us when we least expect it …

Monsoon Mists

Sometimes the most precious things cannot be bought …

It’s 1759 and Jamie Kinross has travelled far to escape his troubled existence – from the pine forests of Sweden to the bustling streets of India.

Jamie starts a new life as a gem trader, but when his mentor’s family are kidnapped as part of a criminal plot, he vows to save them and embarks on a dangerous mission to the city of Surat, carrying the stolen talisman of an Indian Rajah.

There he encounters Zarmina Miller. She is rich and beautiful, but her infamous haughtiness has earned her a nickname: “The Ice Widow”.  Jamie is instantly tempted by the challenge she presents.

When it becomes clear that Zarmina’s step-son is involved in the plot Jamie begins to see another side to her – a dark past to rival his own and a heart just waiting to be thawed. But is it too late?

'Promote Me!' portrait

Christina can be contacted via her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Monsoon Mists is available in paperback and on all eBook platforms including Apple and Kobo. Kindle UK, Kindle US and Kindle AUS

Wednesday Choccie Hottie (on a Thursday)

hephaistion10Slightly lost track of the days this week, so here’s this week’s Choccie Hottie a little later than planned – Jared Leto (of course – did you think I’d choose anyone else?). This guy is a veritable chameleon, with his various hairstyles and hair colours, but I still like him best with it long.

jaredlonghair2As I’ve said before, he was partly the inspiration for Killian in Trade Winds and he will no doubt continue to inspire other heroes of mine. Killian’s younger son for instance, hopefully coming next year …

Trade Winds is available on Kindle at only £2.10!

(Come back tomorrow to see what Chris has to say)

Christina Courtenay’s New Cover

highlandstorms_coversmallerI’m absolutely thrilled to be able to share my brand new cover with everyone – behold Highland Storms!  I think the Choc Lit cover designer has outdone himself this time and has produced exactly the sort of thing I had imagined for this novel.  I may be just a tad biased, and you probably all know by now that I’m very partial to lilac, but I think this is just fab!

Highland Storms, which is the sequel to Trade Winds, will be published in November, so there’s a while to wait yet before seeing the actual finished book, but I don’t mind now because I know I’ll love it.  Just to whet your appetite, here is a short blurb:-

Brice Kinross thinks he’s very different from his flamboyant father and younger brother Jamie, and the only thing he wants out of life is to settle down with the girl he loves.  When she jilts him in favour of his brother, however, he is forced to rethink.  Taking over his father’s Scottish estate and becoming the next chief of the clan suddenly seems very appealing, but the Scottish Highlands in 1754 is not the hospitable and welcoming place Brice remembers from childhood.  In order to successfully take over his inheritance, he’ll need to discover qualities he never knew he possessed.  And when he meets a woman who is more than his match and a villain hell-bent on taking what belongs to Brice, life begins to get interesting again …


‘Trade Winds’ is Shortlisted!

ppa-historicalYesterday was the day the Romantic Novelists’ Association announced the shortlists for their annual awards and I’m absolutely delighted to be able to tell you that Trade Winds has been shortlisted for the RNA Pure Passion Historical Novel Prize – the Best Historical Fiction!!!

In order to celebrate the announcements, the RNA had arranged a Shortlist Breakfast at the lovely RAF Club in Piccadilly. As a former organiser of their main award, I’ve attended these events many times before, but it was great fun to be on the ‘other side’ for once. Below is a photo of me with the other authors shortlisted for this prize – they are (from left to right) Elizabeth Chadwick, (me – Christina Courtenay), Joanna Fulford, Kate Furnival, Rebecca Dean and Jane Jackson.

shortlistphotoThe overall winner will be announced on 7th March and if you’d like to read about the other shortlists, please go to the RNA website here.

Christina Courtenay in ‘Your Cat’ magazine

yourcat1My short story “Trans-mog-rified” about a naughty Maine Coon cat called Oscar is included in the January 2011 issue of Your Cat magazine, which is in stores now.  They are very kindly giving away three copies of Trade Winds, so if you’d like to win one, just fill in the form at the back of the magazine.

Trade Winds launched!

partypic7

The time has come at last – the official publication day of Trade Winds is this week!

As you can imagine, I’m very excited about it and in honour of this momentous occasion (well, momentous for me anyway!), we held a small celebration here in London last week.


Christina with RNA Chairman Katie Fforde

Christina with RNA Chairman Katie Fforde

The friends who joined me for pink champagne and chocolate very kindly bought copies of my novel and listened to my rather rambling (but mercifully short) thank you speech.

Sue Moorcroft, Victoria Connelly and Giselle Green

Sue Moorcroft, Victoria Connelly and Giselle Green

As I told them, the publication of Trade Winds is a dream come true for me and although it all felt slightly surreal, I enjoyed the evening immensely. I hope everyone else did too!

To further celebrate the launch of Trade Winds, I’m holding a small competition over at www.christinacourtenay.com – it’s all about delicious Choc Lit heroes!

(For more information, please click here)


Cloud Nine …

book… or ten or eleven or … yes, that’s where I am this morning because the advance copies of Trade Winds just arrived!  Don’t they look gorgeous?  The photo doesn’t really do the cover justice as the title and swirly bits around the edge are all shiny and beautiful.  I can’t tell you how excited I am or how thrilled to finally be holding a copy of something I’ve been waiting for such a long time!  Forgive me for the overuse of exclamation marks, but today I really think they’re justified!

Music and Heroes – Christina Courtenay

 

Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong

I’ve often been told I have strange taste in music. I think what people mean is I don’t act my age. Too bad! I don’t think music should be “ageist” and when I hear something I like, I don’t stop to consider what age group it’s aimed at. I just enjoy it. With two teenagers in the house, I hear a lot of new music and I’m more likely to shout “turn it up” than “turn it down.

Music definitely inspires my writing, albeit indirectly, by allowing me to relax and think. I would find it hard to live without music.  I can always find a song that corresponds to whatever mood I’m in. If I’m feeling angry and frustrated, bands like Linkin Park, Korn and Nightwish reflect my sentiments exactly.  If I’m introspective, Green Day are just the ticket (Billy Joe Armstrong writes wonderful lyrics and he also qualifies as prime hero material!). For nostalgic daydreaming, there’s nothing like Def Leppard, my all time favourite band, and if I’m sad, a power ballad like “Alone” by Heart or “Dear God” by Avenged Sevenfold will express it much better than I could. Or even the Backstreet Boys (my taste is nothing if not eclectic!) – AJ McLean’s voice is like velvet honey, great for hero inspiration too.

I love discovering new bands and occasionally I even venture out to a concert or two. Recently I’ve seen Lostprophets and 30 Seconds to Mars and both bands have the advantage of a front man with hero potential – Ian Watkins and Jared Leto respectively. They were both awesome. Check out these photos and let me know what you think!

Jared Leto

Jared Leto

Ian Watkins

Ian Watkins

A slightly messier version … Christina Courtenay

office11After the beautiful, uncluttered offices of Sue, Chris and Jane, I’m almost ashamed to post this photo of my work space.  It’s messy and cramped in a cubby hole next to our bedroom, but it’s how I like it and I know exactly where everything is (well, most of the time).

 

No, you’re not seeing double – I do have two laptops.  Not because I think I’ll write more books that way, but since I had one become infected by an internet virus, I prefer to keep my writing on one that’s not connected to the outside world.  I also have about a milliion USB pens.  What, slightly paranoid, moi? 

 

On the right hand side is my notice board, but since I don’t have any running medals (or medals of any kind), I stick images of possible heroes on there instead, just for inspiration you understand 😉  My book shelf next to it contains all sorts of research books and part of my TBR pile, plus other bits and pieces that might come in useful one day – drawing pins, postcards, rubber bands, pens, odd bits of paper, post-it-notes etc.  And at the top there is a collection of stuffed toys that have sentimental value in one way or another, including my first ever teddy bear who was once possibly a polar bear, but is now more or less naked and definitely not white!  (No monkeys though.)

 

I have put up some of my daughters’ lovely Manga drawings and my youngest dog’s winning rosettes from when he was doing the dog show circuit – a total of one third place and one first (won because he was the only dog entered!).  The rest of my “office” (which thankfully doesn’t show in the photo) contains my collection of favourite DVD’s, a poster of a sumo wrestler, umpteen files of genealogy stuff and too many other things to list here.  One of these days I’ll get organised … maybe … well, possibly not …