Hands-On Research

Viking weaving threeChristina here. As we’ve mentioned before, authors take any chance they can to do a bit of hands-on research when it’s on offer, and a couple of weeks ago I did just that – I tried my hand at Viking weaving!

I’ve been a member of my local weaving guild for some years now, although I don’t attend very frequently as I don’t have time unfortunately. It all began with me doing a weekend course in Scandinavian band weaving, which of course sounded right up my street. Since one of my neighbours is Swedish as well, we decided to try it, and it was such fun we then signed up for a course in proper weaving. And … we were hooked.

Read more

Country Living and Natural Colours

Christina here. With life in the 21st century increasingly hectic, there are quite a few people who decide they want to escape from the rat race and live a simpler way. Buying a smallholding or croft can be the start of a new way of life, and that is exactly what the heroine in my recent novel HIDDEN IN THE MISTS did. She wanted to live in tune with nature, be healthier and happier by spending more time outdoors, and growing/producing as much of her own food as possible. It’s something I think a lot of us dream about and after being cooped up in cities during the pandemic, many people went on to follow that dream.

RoosterClearly it is not for the faint-hearted though – there is no doubt it is hard work. Keeping chickens for eggs, having a cow or two for milk (and/or goats), a flock of sheep for wool, and perhaps other animals for slaughter is probably a must. (Not to mention having to learn how to look after them and doing things like milking.) As is growing copious amounts of vegetables and having fruit trees and berry bushes, as well as foraging in any nearby forests. My heroine is lucky in that she lives on the west coast of Scotland so she is also able to go fishing, which is an added bonus.

Read more

Welcome to the New Wench

Anne here, and today I'm delighted to introduce you to our newest wench — Christina Courtenay. RNAteaChristina&Susanna copy

Christina is an award-winning, bestselling author of sweeping historical romances, regencies, time slip/time travel novels, and young adult novels, among others. She has won several awards, twice winning the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014), and won the Big Red Reads Historical Fiction Award with The Scarlet Kimono.

She also chaired the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) in the UK from 2013-2015. (Read an interview here.) Naturally she is friends with wench Nicola, but she's also very good friends with our departing wench, Susanna. Here's a photo of the two of them together at an RNA event some years ago.

2book-cover-trade-windsI first came across Christina's books five years ago, when Nicola mentioned one of her books, saying that it was set partly in Asia, something that always interests me. I bought Trade Winds, read it, and immediately glommed the rest of her backlist. I loved her big sweeping stories where Scottish and Swedish people found love and adventure in Japan and other parts of Asia.

Christina: Thank you Anne, so glad you enjoyed them, and I’m hugely honoured to have been asked to join the Word Wenches! I have been a fan ever since Susanna first told me to seek out this blog many years ago (thank you, Susanna, great advice!) so to actually be a part of it is just amazing.

Anne: Christina, you had something of an adventurous youth yourself; born in England, raised in Sweden and then, when you were sixteen, your family moved to Japan. What was that like?

Read more