Tuesday 6 August 2013

The Write Way with Christina Courtenay

I’m pleased to welcome Choc Lit author, Christina Courtenay on the blog today to talk about her first venture into the YA market as well as letting us into a few of her writing secrets. Make sure you keep reading as there is a super giveaway at the end of the post.
CC_Colour Portrait
1) Your first Young Adult novel, New England Rocks, is about to be published by Choc Lit in August. How are you feeling about publication?
 A bit nervous, to be honest! It’s obviously a new venture for me and aimed at a completely new audience, so I can only hope the readers will like my story. Waiting for the first reviews to come in is quite scary!
2) Can you tell my readers what to expect from New England Rocks? 
A heroine who is confident in herself (but not vain), a gorgeous hero to fall in love with (I hope!), some fun, some slightly serious issues, but mostly a lot of romance.
3) What made you write a YA novel this time? 
I usually write historical fiction and that requires a lot of research before you can even begin to write, which can get very boring. Seriously, some of the research books put you to sleep within two sentences! I wanted a break from that and to just sit down and let my imagination roam freely, so that’s what I did and New England Rocks was the result. I guess you could say I was writing down my daydreaming as this story is kind of how I would have liked my high school senior year to have been.
4) You’ve written a selection of contemporary and historical novels now, which do you prefer writing? 
I like all of them as I enjoy a bit of variety. I get bored very easily so it’s great fun to work on different projects and not always do the same thing. I’m hoping I can keep on doing that, perhaps every second one historical/YA contemporary? That would be ideal for me.
5) Do you find that the writing gets easier or harder with each book you publish? 
In a way it gets harder, because there are more expectations on someone who’s been published previously. But for me, it really depends on the individual story – somehow it’s as if some of them just write themselves, whereas others fight me every step of the way. The easy ones are sort of clamouring to get out of my head and onto the screen and all I do is type. The others need a lot of work before they turn out right. I’m not really sure why this is, it’s weird!
6) What usually comes first - the character, the plot or the idea when starting a new project? 
My stories always start with one scene where I can sort of see and hear the two characters in my head (usually the hero and heroine) doing something or chatting to each other. I write that down and then build the story from that, sometimes going backwards, sometimes forward. It’s a bit of a chaotic way of writing, but it works for me.
7) Do you have a daily word count that you aim for when writing your first draft? 
 No, I don’t worry about word count, that would just drive me mad. I write when I feel inspired. Once I get an idea I just run with it and write furiously until I run out of steam. That can mean writing all day and most of the night sometimes. In between, I can go for days without writing or just polishing what I’ve already written.

8) Do you edit your first draft as you write it or wait until you have finished it?
  I usually read through the last chapter of what I’ve written the previous day and maybe edit that a little bit, then continue. I leave most of the editing until after I’ve finished the first draft though.
9) What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked during an interview?
Whether I was scared of thunder (I’m not, I love it :-))
10) Did you attend any writing courses before you were published? 
Yes, I started a correspondence course in writing once, but I gave up halfway through because it was aimed at all types of writing and all I wanted to do was write romance. I did learn a lot though and one of the pieces I wrote while on the course helped me win a set of saucepans in a competition <LOL>
11) Is there any non-fiction writing book that you would recommend?
Love Writing by Sue Moorcroft – it’s great if you want to write romance! (It deals a bit with erotic fiction too, but you can ignore that part if you want)
12) Do you have any advice for aspiring and unpublished authors? 
Find yourself a writing buddy, someone who is at roughly the same stage as yourself and whose opinion you trust. Then swap critiques with that person and support/encourage each other. It really helps to feel that you’re not alone!
New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay is published on August 7th by Choc Lit.
Book Summary
When Rain Mackenzie is expelled from her British boarding school, she can t believe her bad luck. Not only is she forced to move to New England, USA, she s also sent to the local high school, as a punishment.Rain makes it her mission to dislike everything about Northbrooke High, but what she doesn t bank on is meeting Jesse Devlin Jesse is the hottest guy Rain s ever seen and he plays guitar in an awesome rock band!There s just one small problem Jesse already has a girlfriend, little miss perfect Amber Lawrence, who looks set to cause trouble as Rain and Jesse grow closer.But, what does it matter? New England sucks anyway, and Rain doesn t plan on sticking around Does she?
To find out more about Christina Courtenay:
The lovely ladies at Choc Lit have provided a fabulous giveaway for my lovely readers. How would you like the chance to win a set of the following?
One of  two copies of New England Rocks,  a set of bookmarks, a mobile charm and some chocolates. If you want to win one of these prizes, then please leave your email address in the comments below? The closing date is the 13th of August 2013 and the competition is for  UK entrants only.


  1. A lovely interview and I'm looking forward to reading this. Not that I can be in any considered to be a young adult! Should I be lucky enough to win the giveaway my e-mail address is jacollings57@yahoo.co.uk. If I don't win it's on my wish list for next month's book budget!

  2. YA in mind but most definitely not in age and body!! I'll read almost anything that comes my way and very rarely give up on a book, Lovely interview, look forward to reading this one, fingers crossed for a win.

  3. Thank you Julie and Mrs Bee - I don't think you have to be a YA in order to enjoy a YA book, I read loads of them and love the genre!

  4. Have heard great things about this book! louiserainey@hotmail.com

  5. Good luck Christina..welcome to my genre! It's great fun.

  6. It's a great book - Julie/Mrs Bee, you won't be disappointed. I love all of Christina's books. They're so varied but always a great read.

    Liv x

  7. Many thanks Louise, Carol and Isabella! And yes, YA is great fun both to read and write :-)


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