Coming in on the carpet today is a new friend with her dog. You may have seen her on this blog recently when Brook Cottage Books ran a feature on her novel New England Dreams. I liked the cut of her jib so I invited her back for…… brioche and hot chocolate (despite the summer heat – Pia is achocoholic so prefers that to wine!) Gets my vote! I can drink hot chocolate any time of year/day/night. Welcome Pia – or do I call you Christina Courtenay? Yes, Lily you can play with LBD while we chat.
I answer to either or both – my real name is Pia-Christina but most people just call me Pia as it’s shorter . Christina Courtenay is my adult writing persona – she writes historical romance and time slip novels, while Pia Fenton is my YA name (it seemed a bit more modern somehow). It can be a bit confusing at times even for me!
Well you can call me Otter – all my friends do.
Thank you – love that! Although I like Ailsa too, had a character called that in one of my books.
So you seem to have nearly as mixed a background as me, moving from country to country? Why was that?
My father was English and my mother Swedish, so I was a bit of a mixed-up kid. I lived in Sweden until I was 16 and then I moved with my family to Japan because my dad had been offered a job there. As I couldn’t speak Japanese, I attended an American high school which was great fun! There were 138 other nationalities there too, so I learned to get along with anyone, wherever they came from. I got to travel a lot too and loved seeing the many different countries around the world. As I’m fascinated by languages (I speak Swedish, rusty French and Spanish, plus a bit of German and a smattering of Japanese) I really enjoyed that.
Where are you based now? I ask because if it’s New England I’m coming to see you. That’s one of my favourite areas. I adore Boston (spot the tourist).
Sadly not, although I too love New England! I had relatives living there for a while and it’s a wonderful part of the States, so beautiful. I live in Herefordshire in the UK now, about five minutes from the Welsh border (so nearly in Wales). It’s lovely here too, very peaceful and rural, lots of sheep and birds.
Is Dreams your first novel? What other genres or themes do you write on?
No, New England Dreams is the fourth in a series (all set in New England in a fictional American high school). It can be read as a stand-alone, but is linked to the others. They’re all about the UK/US culture clash with UK heroines falling for American boys. I enjoy exploring the differences between them. As I mentioned, I also write adult stories but those are all historical or time slip (ie half set in the past, half in the present). I love history and often add a bit of paranormal – a ghost or a little bit of magic – it’s great fun to write. And all my stories always have a happy-ever-after as I can’t stand sad books – I’m afraid I cheat and check before buying something! (I know, weird, but by the time I get round to reading the book I’ll have forgotten the exact ending).
How did you come to writing? Are you like me and a ton of my friends who just always wrote and slid into publishing or did you always want to be a “real author”?
No, I never wanted to be an author, just a reader – could quite happily have just read my way through life! But when I had my first child I wanted to stay at home with her but still needed to work, so I came up with the idea of trying my hand at writing. Didn’t go as well as I thought, but I was bitten by the bug and carried on anyway. 21 years later (the week after said child left home) I finally got published. So perseverance pays, as they say
So tell me a bit about yourself. I know about the badly-made but well-intentioned craft projects. I’m good at crafts but the same with music. So to you it’s a racket but I’m enjoying it, right?
Hmm, yes, have just been trying to make a costume to wear at a Comic Con this weekend and let’s just say my sewing skills leave something to be desired … It is the trying that counts, right? I do enjoy it though and always start lots of projects with good intentions. What else? I’m a terrible hoarder – collect all sorts of things, like antique Barbie dolls, Foo dogs, earrings, books (of course), dolls’ house stuff, blue/white china … I go to a local auction whenever I can and you never know what I’ll bring home. (Husband is groaning in the background – I think he feels we have enough Foo dogs now). I love going to the movies – no sad stuff though, remember – and I like music too, preferably hard rock but also cheesy hit songs. And I like reading about history/archaeology, going to museums and old houses, castles and ruins. Oh yes, and I love dogs – have three sweet but very naughty ones.
Well if you have the costume with you, come upstairs and I’ll help you out on my sewing machine. I used to make most of my own clothes when I worked for a living. Erm – don’t look in the Cottage – we are hoarders too! Hard rock and dogs – high five!
What is a great weekend or holiday for you?
Weekend – reading and eating chocolate. Going to see a great movie (like Thor or Avengers) while eating lots of popcorn. Pottering in my garden. Holiday – either going somewhere with museums or old sites (like Pompeii or the Pyramids), or sitting by a pool/the sea/a lake – I love swimming but am not good with heat so don’t just want to sunbathe.
Anything else you’d like to share with the Bingergread mob?
I enjoyed the ride here on the magic carpet – I hate flying normally, but on the carpet you can lie down so that was great! It reminded me that I love fairy tales too (Rapunzel is my favourite) and am childishly fond of Disney films, the older ones anyway, they’re getting a bit weird these days – not enough princesses and handsome princes IMO.
Thank you so much for inviting me, it’s been great fun! Do come over to Herefordshire soon and I’ll treat you to some Swedish cinnamon buns
You are very welcome, Pia and I’d love to come over. We can sit and watch Disney films and drink hot chocolate!
group twitter https://twitter.com/paisleypiranhas )
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4112359.Christina_Courtenay