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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Blogfest: Christina Courtenay


I’ve always loved history, so when I was offered the opportunity to visit a six hundred year old house and actually stay there, you can imagine how thrilled I was! A small red-brick medieval manor house in the south of England, it was everything I had thought it would be. It had massive wooden beams on ceilings and walls, flag stone floors downstairs, oak floorboards upstairs, tiny leaded windows and a huge inglenook fireplace (so big you could stand inside it). It was truly magical.

Until they told me where I was to sleep.

‘We’ve put you in the haunted guest room, but don’t worry, the ghost won’t hurt you,’ I was told. ‘He’s more the mischievous kind, you know, likes to open and shut the front door, walk around in the attic and stuff like that.’

Don’t worry? Who were they kidding? I’ve no idea what I replied, but I’ve always been scared of ghosts so I dreaded the night to come. I tried to pretend that everything was fine, since my hosts clearly weren’t afraid of ghosts and were, in fact, amused by theirs. Amused? I couldn’t get my head round that, but it takes all sorts I guess.

The time came for me to go to bed and I decided to employ a childhood tactic – if I couldn’t see or hear the ghost, perhaps it wouldn’t notice me either? So I buried myself under the covers with only my nose sticking out and put cotton wool in my ears. Couldn’t see or hear a thing. But it didn’t stop my imagination of course (I am a writer after all!).

I don’t think I slept at all and I’ve never been so glad to see daylight! But it was to be the first of many visits and I always stayed in that room so I sort of got used to it after a while. Really though, I think the laugh was on me because the owners of the house eventually told me what the ghost looked like – tall, blond and handsome, and wearing chain mail! I think if I’d known that from the start, I would have stayed awake just to see him! Sadly, I never did.

Anyway, the experience wasn’t completely wasted as I decided to write a story based on this ghost. I figured that anyone whose soul had hung around for more than 600 years had to have a very good reason for it, so that’s how my latest novel The Silent Touch of Shadows came to be. Here’s a short blurb:

What will it take to put the past to rest?

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.

I have a signed copy of this book to give away, just leave a comment telling me what you would have done – hide from the ghost or try and meet him!?

About the Author:
Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire in the UK and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina is vice chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. She won their Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001 and Katie Fforde Bursary for a promising new writer in 2006.

In 2011, Christina’s first novel Trade Winds (Sept 2010) was short listed for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Award for Best Historical Fiction. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, won the Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award, and in 2012, her third novel Highland Storms won the Best Historical Romantic Novel of the year award (RoNA).

Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Find Christina online at

Facebook: Christina Courtenay


Ingeborg said...

Sounds like a great book. I want to meet the ghost.

Jean MP said...

Book sounds really good. Oh I would want to meet the ghost.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Rosie said...

Brilliant story! If I were you though, I'd keep going back until you see Mr Gorgeous Ghost.

Liv x

Christina Courtenay said...

Thank you Ingeborg and Jean! I'm really sorry now that I didn't get to meet the ghost :-)

Christina Courtenay said...

Rosie - sadly the house is no longer owned by the same people so I can't go back! But maybe I'll meet the ghost somewhere else? You never know :)

Mountain Laurel said...

I have to admit...if I see a ghost I really hope he is tall blond and handsome! I think I would have loved to stay the night in the house...but my luck, no such sighting Loved the story and thanks for sharing!

Christina said...

Thank you, glad you liked it! I'm pretty sure tall blond and handsome ghosts are rare so I'm kicking myself now ... :)

Henriette said...

I'm not surprised you were scared! The haunted room, indeed. Brrrr! But at least you got a book out of it - the writer's mind is never at rest, I guess.

Christina Courtenay said...

Yes, I wasn't very happy that first night, but it paid off in the end! Thank you for your comment!

Na said...

I would hide at first and maybe try to meet the ghost. I do have some questions about the paranormal world so my curiousity might win if I'm not too scared.


Kathryn Knight said...

I am obsessed with ghosts (see my blog post above!) so I would relish meeting a friendly ghost.

Your book sounds great -
kathrynknightbooks at -

Christina Courtenay said...

Na - I wish I'd had your courage! I too have lots of questions, but I'm not sure I'd be able to get a single word out if I actually met a ghost :)

Kathryn - thank you! I guess the problem is how do you know whether they're friendly or not? We'll just have to take the chance!

Debby said...


Christina Courtenay said...

Thanks, Debby - Happy Halloween!

Susan Shapley said...

I would have to meet the ghost....however possible. I'm not really a ouija board kind of gal, but I would do whatever I needed to do to make contact. Perhaps some time travel would be in order. It appears that your book might make use of this technique.
Susan Shapley

Christina Courtenay said...

No time travel in this instance, Susan, although I'd love to try that some time! It's an intriguing concept, isn't it? Thank you for your comment!

Christina Courtenay said...

Thank you all again for your lovely comments! The winner of a signed copy of my novel is Ingeborg - congratulations!