3 June 2020

Special Guest Interview with Christina Courtenay, Author of Echoes of the Runes

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother's summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia's grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision - and from Charles.

I'm pleased to welcome author Christina Courtenay to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is called Echoes of the Runes and it is a time slip (or dual time) romance set in Sweden, partly in the present and partly during the Viking era. It tells the story of Ceri, a Welsh noblewoman who is taken hostage by a Viking, the White Hawk. Back in the present day, an archaeological dig at her late grandmother’s home leads Mia to uncover secrets of the past which will influence her life in ways she could not have imagined. As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I’m fairly disorganised about my writing, although I do try to write every day. If I’m feeling really inspired and enthusiastic about a story, I can write all day (and sometimes late into the night), whereas other times I might not write anything at all. I’ve learned to just go with the flow and I don’t set myself daily word count targets or anything like that.

What advice do you have for new writers?

To join organisations like the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Historical Novel Society or the Crime Writers Association in order to find other authors to socialise with. These groups often run workshops and events which can be really useful for learning your craft and networking. It’s also important to have author friends because they understand the process so much better than for example family members. Their eyes won’t glaze over when you go on about plot, characterisation and settings. I would really recommend having a writing buddy/critique partner too – someone whose opinion you really trust and who you can exchange manuscript critiques with. And most of all – never ever give up!

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Social media seems to work best – Twitter mainly, but also Facebook and Instagram. Publishers will help, of course, with things like advertising and Amazon deals, but I think authors have to do whatever they can to help: things like guest blogs, talks, library visits, and radio appearances if they are offered. It’s probably a combination of everything and just doing as much as possible.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

That sailing in a Viking longboat didn’t make me seasick (at least not in relatively calm waters) even though I normally turn green at the mere thought of going in a boat. I went on a short trip as part of a visit to the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum and it was a surprisingly smooth ride. Also, the rowing wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined because there were so many of us doing it at the same time.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

I think the hardest scene I’ve ever written was one where someone’s beloved dog was deliberately hurt by the villain of the story. I love dogs and hated having to do that to him! He did recover though, thankfully 😊

What are you planning to write next?

I have just finished proof-reading the second book in my Viking series (The Runes of Destiny published 10th Dec 2020 by Headline) and I am now working on a third one. I’m firmly stuck in the Viking world for the foreseeable future but I’m not complaining as it’s fascinating!

Christina Courtenay
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About the Author

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014). Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety). Find out more at Christina's website
www.christinacourtenay.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @PiaCCourtenay

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