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Tuesday, 2 August 2016


I am so pleased to welcome the fantastic Pia Fenton (aka Christina Courtenay) on to my blog today to talk about her latest book, a YA contemporary romance novel entitled New England Dreams. Pia writes historical romance, time slip and YA contemporary romance, mainly published by independent publisher Choc Lit. 

She is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, she moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East. She is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan have both won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romantic Novel of the Year (in 2012 and 2014 respectively). Her latest novels are The Jade Lioness (historical) and New England Dreams (YA contemporary romance). Coming soon – The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight (time slip).

Pia and I have met a few times at the Romantic Novelists Conference, and I couldn't wait to hear more about her life, how she got into writing, and of course all about her latest book. Over to you, Pia….

New England Dreams is a Young Adult contemporary romance, the 4th instalment in my Northbrooke High series which features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The other three books are New England Rocks, New England Crush and New England TLC. The first one was published by Choc Lit, but they subsequently decided not to continue with a YA imprint, so I self-published the others as I had already written them.

I have to admit I’m not very techie, so luckily I didn’t undertake this endeavour on my own – I got together with three other YA authors who were also keen to self-publish and we work together as a group. We have a website, blog and Twitter account under the name Paisley Piranha and I have found the support of the others invaluable! Everything is always easier when you work as a team. During the weekend of 29th-31st July we were selling our books at YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) which is part of the London Film & Comic Con – very exciting!

New England Rocks, first in the series, was inspired by a high school reunion I attended a couple of years back. I was lucky enough to live in Tokyo as a teenager and went to the American School in Japan (ASIJ) for three years. I had a fantastic time and meeting up with some of my old friends from back then made so many memories come flooding into my brain, I just knew I had to do something with them.

Of course, everything wasn’t perfect (what teenager’s life ever is?!) and with hindsight there were things I would have chosen to do differently. I started to think about how I would have liked to change things back then and how I should have acted and decided to write it down. This turned into book one of the Northbrooke High series and I’ve just carried on from there.

I wasn’t one of those people who always wanted to write – I didn’t scribble down stories as a child, but I did daydream a lot and perhaps that helped? I was a voracious reader, but never tried writing myself until I’d had my first child and decided I wanted to stay at home with her. The only work I could think of which would let me do that was to write, so I had a go. I really enjoyed it and thought it was dead easy – until my manuscripts (yes, plural, I sent two off at once to give the publisher a choice – <cringe> how na├»ve was I?!) came winging back very quickly. In the end, it took me 21 years to get published, but I had so much fun writing, it was worth it.

I normally write historical or time slip stories for adults, which involve a lot of research, but sometimes I want to write using nothing but my imagination. So basically, writing YA is a sort of holiday for me – when I give myself permission to just write and have fun!

The latest one, New England Dreams, was inspired by a crazy thing I did once – kiss a guy I met on a plane, a complete stranger. I really can’t remember now how it came about, it just seemed a natural progression from talking, I suppose, and nothing ever came of it (he lived in Alaska, I lived in Sweden). But although I can’t even recall what he looked like, the memory stayed with me and my story grew from that.

I’m sure we all do silly things occasionally, that’s human nature, but I’d love to hear what some of you have done!


Firstly though, the back cover blurb from New England Dreams.
When opposites attract, can dreams come true?
Staying in New England for a few months is just what Sienna Randall needs after all the family problems she's been dealing with at home in London. The last thing she's expecting is romance, so it's a total surprise when she ends up kissing a guy she meets on the flight.
Kyle Everett is Sienna's complete opposite – he’s clean-cut and over-polished, she has piercings and pink dreads. But he can’t resist making out with her. He is, after all, Northbrooke High’s number one player. Except Sienna's different from other girls. He’s definitely expecting to see her again – until they're separated by irate airline officials before he can get her number.
Fate throws them together once more, but when Sienna turns up in Kyle's home room, neither admits to having met before. The chemistry between them is still there though – should they let it have free rein or should the attraction stay in their dreams?
Buy links:-

Don't forget – Pia is giving away a free copy of her latest book, to whoever leaves the most amusing (in our opinion) comment!

Thank you, Pia!


  1. Great post, Pia and Ann. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does silly things, Pia. I've done so many I could write a book. The silliest I think was on one of my many driving tests. I was so nervous I tried to get into the wrong car, then when the examiner guided me to the correct car I drove off with my handbag hanging out straight through red lights! It just got worse and worse. I didn't pass, of course, but I finally did a few years later.

  2. Oh, Karen, I feel for you! I was so nervous during my driving test too but luckily was with one other person who was much worse than me so I passed :-D Thanks for your comment! xx

  3. Oh, I never knew the start of New England Dreams was based on a true story! Impetuous youth, eh? Most recent silly thing I can think of is trying to get my new hens into their coop when they decided the lilac tree in the corner was an ideal perch. Ended up in the mostly dark with Offspring on my shoulders trying to get them out. They don't look much, but hens can shift, I tell you!

  4. LOL, that sounds like something that should go in a story too, Katy! :-D