Hi Lucie, thank you for letting me be a guest on your wonderful blog! Following in
the footsteps of my fellow Choc Lit-eer, Jane Lovering, I’ve been on a blog tour for the last couple of weeks, which has been great fun. This is my last ‘stop’ since tomorrow is publication day for my second novel The Scarlet Kimono – very exciting!
The Scarlet Kimono is a historical romance set the 17th century. It’s the story of a young English girl who stows away on her brother’s merchant ship and ends up in Japan, where she falls in love with a samurai warlord (see below for full blurb). I had great fun writing it since there was such a culture clash between the hero and heroine. They both had a lot to learn and compromises to make, which is as it should be I think.
The title was inspired by a kimono I own myself (see photo to right), although the one in the story was probably even more red. I used to live in Japan and was always fascinated by these lovely garments so when I had the chance, I bought some. Five in fact – oops, excessive retail therapy?! I’m surprised the suitcases didn’t split actually, as they’re very heavy. I believe the ones I have are former wedding kimonos, so they are long enough at the back to drag on the floor. For that purpose there is a special roll of padding at the bottom to weigh it down. I’ve never actually worn them, I just use them as displays in my home, but I do like trying them on and that helped me to describe them in the story.
They’re supposed to be tied with a very wide sash called an obi (see other photos), but I’ve never learned how to do that. There are lots of different types of knot, all very intricate and no doubt difficult to achieve. The most common one looks a bit like a sort of flat cushion at the back, but my favourite is when it’s tied in the shape of a butterfly, that looks really pretty. I have a couple of these sashes too, also for display … Can you tell I’m a terrible hoarder? But they were all so beautiful, I just couldn’t resist!
So, back to The Scarlet Kimono – here is 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 see www.choc-lit.co.uk ). If you’d like to win a signed copy of The Scarlet Kimono, please leave a comment below and tell me what you think about exotic heroes like Taro Kumashiro – do you love them or loathe them?
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
Thanks for a fantastic post, Christina, and best of luck with The Scarlet Kimono!
I am about a third of the way through The Scarlet Kimono and I am really enjoying it. What I love the most, so far, is the fact that we not only see the different cultures of the 17th century, but also the difference in cultures between Japan and England. It is extremely interesting! I cannot wait to find out what happens…
You can buy The Scarlet Kimono, here on Amazon.