Interview with Pia Fenton (novelist Christina Courtenay), the outgoing chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association

As Pia Fenton, who writes as Christina Courtenay, steps down as Romantic Novelists’ Association chair, we find out about her last two years and what she’s got planned for the future.

ChristinaCourtenayMarch2013Welcome to the blog, Pia. As a prolific writer with many interests, along with your role as chair, how have you managed such a hectic schedule? Are you very organised?

I try to be but don’t always succeed!  Mainly I make lists, lots of them – I couldn’t survive without lists and often wake up in the middle of the night to add things to them.  It helps that I don’t have a fixed writing schedule, I just write as/when I have the time so I’ve been able to fit in RNA work around the writing (or vice versa).

What’s been the highlight of your time as chair?

I don’t think I can pinpoint just one thing, but for me the highlights have been when everything is running smoothly.  The parties, conferences and awards events, for example – there’s an awful lot of work that goes into organising those and it’s wonderful when it all comes together and people come up to you and say how much they’ve enjoyed it.  That makes it all worthwhile.  I have also really enjoyed meeting and getting to know a huge range of people – that’s one lovely aspect of being chair!

What changes have you seen in the RNA during your tenure?

The RNA is changing all the time and we’ve been trying to move with the times.  The main changes have been to the awards, which are evolving and becoming more well-known and appreciated.  And of course we will be admitting self-published/independently published authors from September onwards – it took a long time to figure out the best way to do that, but we got there in the end!

How do you feel about stepping down and is there anything you’ll miss about not being chair?

It will be a huge relief in one way as the responsibility of being chair was quite scary at times – as they say, the buck stopped with me.  And if things went wrong, ultimately it would have been considered my fault.  But I’ve loved being at the heart of the organisation, helping it to move forward and hopefully steering it in the right direction.  And I’ve worked with the most amazing group of people – my committee and all the other volunteers – without whom I would have been totally lost.  I will miss working with them very much!

What are your plans for the future?

To have a break, then get on with some writing which has had to take a back-seat for the last couple of months.  I’ll be at the RNA conference and plan to enjoy being just one of the crowd.  As I sometimes write YA, I’m taking part in YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) in July, where I’ll have a book table together with three fellow YA authors, collectively known as Paisley Piranha.  And then I will concentrate on my family for a bit too, as I’m sure they’ll be feeling rather neglected 🙂  I’ll still be part of the RNA though and look forward to seeing it evolve further as Eileen Ramsay takes over from me – she’ll be a fabulous chair, I’m sure!

Thank you for taking the time out to talk to us, Pia. Good luck with the new book, The Jade Lioness and with all your future ventures.

TJL medium frontThe Jade Lioness is available as an ebook now and due out in paperback in October.  An historical romance, it’s the third in Christina Courtenay’s Japanese series.

Can an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable jade lioness ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Buy it on Amazon UK: The Jade Lioness





Paisley Piranha Group