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The Scarlet Kimono Blog Tour

Hello Kath and Squizzey, thank you so much for letting me be a guest here on your lovely blog!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Christina Courtenay, and I write historical novels with a hint (sometimes more!) of the Far East. As my second novel The Scarlet Kimono is going to be published soon, I’m following in the footsteps of my fellow Choc Lit-eer, Jane Lovering, by going on a blog tour, which is very exciting. And it starts right here!

First, a little bit about my novel – The Scarlet Kimono. Here is the blurb:-

Abducted by a Samurai warlord in 17th-century Japan – what happens when fear turns to love?

England, 1611, and young Hannah Marston envies her brother’s adventurous life. But when she stows away on his merchant ship, her powers of endurance are stretched to their limit. Then they reach Japan and all her suffering seems worthwhile – until she is abducted by Taro Kumashiro’s warriors.

In the far north of the country, warlord Kumashiro is waiting to see the girl who he has been warned about by a seer. When at last they meet, it’s a clash of cultures and wills, but they’re also fighting an instant attraction to each other.

With her brother desperate to find her and the jealous Lady Reiko equally desperate to kill her, Hannah faces the greatest adventure of her life. And Kumashiro has to choose between love and honour …

I was lucky enough to live in Japan for a few years when I was a teenager, and I fell instantly in love with everything about this country.  It is so different from anywhere else in the world, a place of contrasts where tradition mingles with the modern without either having to give way too much.  It is, quite simply, wonderful and I never tire of going back there whenever I can (which isn’t as often as I’d like).

Because of this, it seemed natural to set a novel in Japan and even though it’s a historical, I was able to draw on some of my own experiences as a foreigner there, such as learning about the customs, food and history, and trying to see things from their perspective.  As an impressionable teenager I was of course also struck by how handsome some of the local boys were and this partly inspired my hero Taro. However, I have to admit that he is mostly based on a sumo wrestler called Chiyonofuji – I know that sounds crazy, but he was very special in many ways. (If you’d like to know more about him and why he made such an impression on me, please have a look at my website where he has his own page). As a samurai warlord, my hero is of course just a tad autocratic (let’s just say he’s used to getting his own way in all things and he has thousands of men at his command), so I had great fun matching him with a heroine who wasn’t prepared to pander to his every whim like everyone else.

My research for this book was also greatly helped by the fact that I’m something of a squirrel (a good thing, right Squizzey? Definitely, Christina! Sx). I’ve collected Japanese and Oriental items ever since my time there and my home is filled with all sorts of things. For instance, I love the colourful fans with painted motifs, as well as kimonos, woodblock prints, lacquer objects and porcelain. Hopefully they’ve helped me to be more accurate in my portrayal of Japan – well, it was a good excuse for adding to my collections anyway!

The Scarlet Kimono (ISBN 978-1-906931-29-2) is published by Choc Lit on 1st March 2011. You can pre-order from The Book Depository and Amazon UK. If you want to know more about me, my website and blog are at Christina Courtenay.com and I also regularly blog in the Choc Lit Authors’ Corner.

If you’d like to win a signed copy, please leave a comment below by midnight (GMT) on Friday 11th February and tell me what sort of things you collect and why. I’ll let Squizzey choose the most interesting one as the winner!

Thanks for having me!

Comments

kath
Reply

Those fans are beautiful! It’s lovely to have you here, Christina. Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us about your new book and the inspiration for your hero. I loved Trade Winds and I’m really looking forward to reading The Scarlet Kimono.

It’s not going to come as a great surprise when I say that I collect squirrels, is it? Thought not. 8 and counting. And there are 3 chipmunks. Although obviously, as the original squirrel, Squizzey is the best pal ever! (Yes, he’s standing here as I type this.)

Squizzey
Reply

Welcome to The Nut Press, Christina! I’m chuffed to nuts to hear that you squirrel things away, as only the best people do! I think you’ll probably guess what I collect. Nuts. Lots of them. Autumn and Christmas were bountiful times but they seem to be a bit thin on the ground at the moment…especially the chocolate-covered variety.

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Thank you both, it’s great to be here! Squizzey, you’ll have to come over to my house and I’ll make sure to lay in a good stock of chocolate-covered nuts – can never resist those myself! And a squirrel collection sounds fab, Kath 🙂

Jane Lovering
Reply

That really is such a gorgeous cover, Christina. I have my copy and I can’t wait to read it (waiting for half term holiday, so I can really sink in and enjoy it). The story sounds fascinating…and your heroes are always delicious!

Debs Carr
Reply

I love the cover and can’t wait to read The Scarlet Kimono.

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Blog Tour too, later this month.

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Thanks, Jane and Debs, hope you enjoy it! Do either of you collect anything? It can’t just be me, Kath and Squizzey 🙂

kath
Reply

I bet everyone collects something, Christina, but it looks as if they’re highly embarrassed by whatever it is! They just don’t want to tell us, do they?

Talli Roland
Reply

What a lovely cover, and the story sound fascinating! I can’t wait to read it.

Gill Stewart
Reply

‘The Scarlet Kimono’ sounds fascinating. As does Japan, this makes me want to visit. I wish it wasn’t so far away. Or maybe that is part of the fascination?

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Thanks Talli and Gill! Japan isn’t actually as far as one might think, only an 11 or 12 hour flight straight there. And definitely worth it!

Nicolette
Reply

Love those fans! I collect wolves and otters. Not real ones. Obviously. That would be wrong. As well as requiring quite a large house, garden and river.

kath
Reply

LOL! I’d like to say that plush versions of squirrels are much less trouble than the real thing but I don’t think that’s true. I hope your wolves and otters are better behaved.

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Thanks, Nicolette! Your collections sound very interesting too – I love wolves, they’re such beautiful creatures, as are otters (and squirrels – I haven’t forgotten you, Squizzey!). I used to collect tiny turtles as well as everything else, but haven’t bought any for a while now. They were supposed to be lucky for some reason, but I’ve forgotten why 🙂

Dianne Ascroft
Reply

I’ve got Ms Courtenay’s first book, Trade Winds, and am looking forward to this next one. It was good to see her visiting this blog – I always enjoy hearing from authors directly about their work.

mary cawley
Reply

I collect champagne corks, yeah Im strange but I put £1 coins in the top to keep my relationship in tact. I dont know if it’s a real superstition but I keep to it x x

kath
Reply

Even if it’s not a real superstition, and I’m not saying it isn’t, that’s a lovely thing to do. I like that.

Zoe
Reply

Your book sounds fantastic, i’ve been Japan on my travels and loved everything about it so I can understand your attraction. I collect pigs. unfortunately not real ones hubby wont let me! my fascination started when I was 16 and straight from school I worked in a Police Station.. I had a crush on one of the officers and others in the office teased me and gave me an ornamental pig dressed as a police man and ever since then i’ve been addicted to collecting them, hubby is not impressed I still keep ‘Rick’ the pig out when most of the others are packed up in the loft!

kath
Reply

I was given two or three pigs from the Piggin’ collection as presents but they’ve been Piggin’ sidelined by squirrels. 😉

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Dianne – thank you, that’s very kind!
Mary – I do a lot of superstitious things, but have never heard of that one – how interesting! In Sweden the bride has to keep her bouquet (even when it’s all dried up) in order to keep her relationship intact so I have mine in a box somewhere – hope that’s enough 🙂
Zoe – thanks, glad you agree with me! It is a fascinating country. I like the sound of your collection too and it made me think about my latest fascination, the little Micro Pigs (real ones). Aren’t they just adorable? Unfortunately I don’t think my dogs would get on with one, otherwise I’d buy one straight away. Perhaps you could persuade your hubby that you need one of those? They’re very small after all …

Chris Stovell
Reply

I’d love to go to Japan, but for the time being I’m looking forwards to wrapping myself up in The Scarlet Kimono. The cover’s gorgeous, but I know what’s inside will be a really good story so, like Jane, I’m picking a day when I can just immerse myself in it. Congratulations Christina.

Sue Moorcroft
Reply

I won’t enter the comp as I’ve already read the book and bought it for my mum, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. I’ve been to Japan, too, back in 1986, and still talk about it today. Christina writes with such authority about this fabulous country that I was transfixed all the way through the book and really sorry when the story ended (but glad it ended the way it did).

I’m proud to be in the Choc Lit stable with Christina.

Yvonne Söderling
Reply

I collect (and read) your shortstories and your novels – that must be a good thing. Even more so as I don’t really like romantic stories with a happy ending 🙂 as you know from our years together sharing a flat. Different taste in music, books and boys! Good luck!

kath
Reply

It was almost definitely a good thing that the two of you had different taste in boys, if you had to live together! Thanks for dropping by the blog, Yvonne.

Cindy
Reply

My sister was born in Japan and when they came back to the states, my mom brought some antiques with her. I started collecting Japanese plates and vases when my mom split her collection between us. The detail and design on them are amazing. When my mom would go antiquing, she would let us take turns picking out what we wanted. I miss our bickering over who would get the best piece. I can’t wait to read The Scarlet Kimono and added to my wish list.

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Chris, Sue and Yvonne – thank you! Glad you enjoy my stories 🙂
Cindy – yes, absolutely love Japanese porcelain, it’s wonderful isn’t it! My favourites are the blue & white ones, but I also like the more colourful variety. You must have some lovely things if they’re antique. Thanks for stopping by!

Christina Courtenay
Reply

Can’t believe it’s Friday already! I’ve really enjoyed my week here at the Nutpress – thank you so much again for having me, Kath and Squizzey!

kath
Reply

We’ve loved having you here this week, Christina. Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us all about your collection and your gorgeous new book, The Scarlet Kimono.

kath
Reply

Congratulations to Zoe, who wins a copy of Christina’s book The Scarlet Kimono! And thanks to everyone who commented and told us about your collections.

Christina continues on her Blog Tour to promote The Scarlet Kimono and you can find out tour dates and where she’ll be between now and March 1st here: http://www.choc-lit.co.uk/

kath
Reply

I’ve been unable to contact Zoe, so the squirrels have done a re-draw and would like to congratulate Nicolette, who wins the signed copy of The Scarlet Kimono!!

Nicolette
Reply

Yay! Thrilled to have won. It’s a shame about Zoe, obviously.

Thank you all!

Nicolette

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