Sunday, August 18, 2013

Christina Courtenay ROCKS, But Even She Needs a Break...

Please welcome one of my all-time favorite authors, Christina Courtenay, as she talks about why she suddenly took a break from writing historical romance to pen a new adult fiction and the challenges that entailed.

I’m an author who usually writes historical romance for adults. I’ve always loved history, alpha heroes (with long hair) and the gorgeous clothes of a bygone era. So what am I doing writing YA romance all of a sudden, you might ask?

The answer is simple – I needed a break!

A break from endless research. A break from having to think and write in an old-fashioned way and be careful not to use words that didn’t exist before the 18th century. A break from trying to stay in character and pretend to be a woman who is independent for her time, but not too independent to jar with my readers. In short – I just wanted to sit down and write, without any constraints whatsoever.

As it happens, there are still constraints when you write YA depending on which age group you’re aiming at, but they were easier to keep in mind than the ones for historicals. And I had such fun writing YA! I’m sure that inside, we’re all still teenagers deep down and now I was allowed to let mine out. It was extremely liberating!

There were a few things I’d forgotten though, so I had to ask my teenage daughter for advice occasionally. And she was a great help with words too – when writing for young adults, it wasn’t so much a question of which words hadn’t been invented, as making sure to use the verylatest ones so as not to be uncool! I love the way teenagers talk (I listen to them a lot) and got most of it right I think, but it’s always best to check.

My own high school years were both great and dreadful at the same time (and doesn’t that sound “teenage” as teens seem to feel everything in extremes?). They were great in that I was at an American school in Japan which was wonderful – kids of lots of different nationalities all bonding because we were all outsiders together. Plus the American system was very different to the one I’d come from (I’d lived in Sweden before that) with the emphasis on being independent and making your own choices. I really liked that.

The dreadful part was when it came to boys – I couldn’t find a proper boyfriend to save my life. I wasn’t one of those girls who is always “popular”, I was more of a tomboy and I had a lot of guys as just friends. Which didn’t make it easy to find someone to date. In fact, for senior prom, I had to bribe my friend’s older brother to take me as I couldn’t find a date!

So I guess you could say New England Rocks is me daydreaming of how my high school years should have been and Rain Mackenzie, the heroine, is the girl I would have liked to be. As for Jesse, the hero, ... well, I’m sure you’ve guessed that part :-)


First impressions, how wrong can you get?

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?




UK residents can buy digital or paperback on Amazon UK also.


  1. Thank you so much for having me as your guest - love the title! :-D xx

  2. It was so fun to try and think back to my own teenage years and what they really were like. My older daughter is about to become a teenager and exhibits all the typical hallmarks. The last few days have been a reality check. in fact I've just been putting my little 8-year-old to bed with stories about when I was a teenager. So your post was really food for thought. Thanks, Christina:)

    1. Thanks Beverley, it's great fun to reminisce sometimes, isn't it? :-)

  3. It sounds as if you had a thoroughly good time writing New England Rocks so I'm sure I'm going to have a good time reading it... (my Kindle TBR list is quite long at the moment, but I hope to catch up when we take Ma on holiday later in the year!)

    1. Thank you, Chris, I hope so! And yes, my TBR pile is starting to scare me ... :-)

  4. They say a change is as good as a holiday - especially when you get to rock! Maybe it's a good think to think about being a teenager again.

    1. I'm happy to rock any time, Janet :-) And I'm still a teenager on the inside!

  5. I usually read books where the characters are 18 or older. But this one looks like fun. But I do make exceptions sometimes, I may have to give it a whirl!