Hi Debs, thank you so much for letting me visit you in your lovely shed! It’s great to be here and I’ve been wanting to meet “Grumpy” for ages as I’m a huge dog fan.
I also like the sound of your garden and since you live in Jersey, I’m guessing that spring comes earlier to you than on the mainland? It can’t come fast enough for me! Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and especially the months before Christmas. I don’t mind it getting darker then as it gives that cozy feeling of wanting to curl up in front of the fire with a good book and some chocolates (although I get that all year round, come to think of it, apart from the fire bit). But then January arrives and all the festivities are over and suddenly every day seems dull, grey and cold. That’s when I start longing for spring.
Now I’m really here to talk about my new novel The Scarlet Kimono, which is coming out soon, but since it’s set in Japan, that made me think of spring as well. Nowhere in the world is this season more noticeable than in Tokyo, I think, as the cherry blossom begins to unfurl on the trees all across the city. Normally, it’s a teeming, mostly modern, metropolis with lots of high-rise buildings interspersed with more traditional ones. And like every other big city, it’s very busy with lots of traffic and enormous crowds. But come blossom time, it is totally transformed
Suddenly, you begin to notice how beautiful the streets are, lined with sakura – cherry-blossom – or ume – the slightly different flowers of the plum trees. Once the first blooms have erupted, they begin to fall (all too soon!), but that in itself creates an even prettier picture as they float slowly to the ground and are carried around by the breeze. Eventually they end up like little snow drifts of pale petals and even those are lovely to look at.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice in the last couple of years, and each time we managed to time our holiday there perfectly to coincide with the blossom season (which only lasts a week or two, three if you’re lucky). Now I’m longing to go back again, but I have to be content with writing about it for the moment. Which brings me back to The Scarlet Kimono. Let me give you 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 …
The Scarlet Kimono is published by Choc Lit on 1st March, ISBN 978-1-906931-29-2
(For more details and an extract, please go to www.choc-lit.co.uk ) If you’d like to win a signed copy of the book, please leave a comment below and tell me what is your favourite season and why? (Debs: I'm half way through this fabulous book. You're immediately transported back to 17th century Japan and even though I've never visited Japan - although Rob tells me it's amazing and loves it - everything in this book is so beautifully depicted that I feel I know it and the characters well).
Thanks again for having me! (Debs: Thanks for visiting and bringing your adorable dog).
(If anyone would like to know more about me, my website and blog are at www.christinacourtenay.com and I also regularly blog in the Choc Lit Authors’ Corner at www.blog.choc-lit.co.uk )