I would like to welcome back Pia Fenton to my blog (Christina Courtenay) who has been the RNA Chair for nearly two years.
As Valentine’s Day approaches can you share with us some of the major changes you have seen in the last couple of years within the world of romance?
I don’t think the world of romance has changed very much, but rather the publishing industry as a whole. With the advent of ebooks and ereaders (and especially the Kindle which had a massive impact the year it was first launched in the UK), the way people read books has changed enormously in a very short space of time. Things seem to have settled down a bit now though and paperbacks are holding their own, which is great (I love proper books myself!), but I think ebooks have given both readers and authors more freedom to read/write what they like.
As for the books themselves, the popularity of certain sub-genres come and go, but editors and agents are always saying they’re just looking for really good stories. I think that if a story is gripping enough, it doesn’t matter what it’s about – good story-telling is key.
Are you excited about the future of romance as a genre?
Yes, I think it’s going from strength to strength. The RNA commissioned some research into sales and trends recently, and it showed that figures for romantic fiction are going up year by year, which is fantastic. People will always want love in their lives and I’m sure they will continue to want to read about it too.
You have branched into the Young Adult market. Could you share with us the inspiration for this exciting new venture?
I discovered a while back that I love reading YA fiction – it’s an amazing sub-genre where imagination seems to have no bounds. Then I went to a high school reunion and it really made me think about my own teenage years, both all the fun I had and the angst that comes with being that age. I attended an American high school for three years, which was a bit of a culture clash to begin with and it occurred to me that it would be fun to write a series of books with UK heroines and US heroes and so the Northbrooke High series was born. I have now self-published the second book in the series, New England Crush.
What is next for Pia/Christina?
I have just finished edits for the third book in my Japanese trilogy – sequel to The Scarlet Kimono and The Gilded Fan – which is due out in paperback in August this year. I’ve also started work on a new time slip novel, which is based on the final few months of the English civil war. I love that period in history and was inspired to write about it as there are several ruined castles, destroyed during that time, near where I live. (Both these books are for adults, not YA).