Feature – The Soft Whisper of Dreams by Christina Courtenay – guest post and review (giveaway now closed)

By | March 20, 2015

Some dreams shouldn’t come true … 

Maddie Browne thought she’d grown out of the recurring nightmare that plagued her as a child, but after a shocking family secret is revealed, it comes back to haunt her – the same swing in the same garden, the kind red-haired giant and the swarthy arms which grab her from behind and try to take her away … 

In an attempt to forget her troubles, Maddie travels to Devon to spend time with her friends, Kayla and Wes. However, it becomes clear that relaxation will not be on the agenda after a disturbing encounter with a gypsy fortune teller. Not to mention the presence of Wes’s dangerously handsome brother, Alex. And then there’s the fact that Maddie’s dream seems to be coming true … 

The Soft Whisper of Dreams is the follow-on to Christina Courtenay’s novel The Secret Kiss of Darkness. 

This lovely book has been on my Kindle – sadly unread – since February of last year, when it was first published for kindle. I’m delighted to say that everyone can now read it, as it was released in paperback by Choc Lit on 7th March. Those lovely people at Choc Lit have again offered to send a copy – paperback or for kindle – to one lucky UK-based follower of Being Anne… more details below. 

Christina Courtenay is a wonderful story teller. One of the very first books I mentioned on my blog was her The Silent Touch of Shadows, and I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Secret Kiss of Darkness last year – here’s a link to my review. I’m delighted to welcome Christina as a guest on Being Anne today, talking about switching genres.

The Soft Whisper of Dreams was one of those books I hadn’t meant to write – it just happened.  That might sound weird, but when I finished writing The Secret Kiss of Darkness I just kind of continued with this one. It was almost like a postscript which turned into a whole story and at the time it was written more for myself, with no intention of sharing it with the world.

Another weird thing about it is that it turned into a contemporary romantic suspense/ thriller novel – that was never the plan either.  The first book was definitely a time slip with some paranormal elements, whereas the second one is almost entirely set in the present.  I can only say that the characters took over and dictated both the story and the genre in this case, it had nothing to do with me!

I don’t particularly mind switching genres – it’s exciting to try new things and experiment from time to time.  I get bored very easily, so even when I write pure historicals, I often use different periods in time as the background, just for variety.  As a reader, I don’t mind trying lots of different things either, but I do sometimes worry about my readers – will they go along with me ‘for the ride’ as it were, or will they feel that I should have stuck with one thing?  I guess only time will tell.

My absolute favourite genre will always be time slip, I think, unless someone invents something utterly brilliant in future which surpasses this.  The thrill of following not just one, but two stories at the same time is something I really enjoy and I know a lot of readers do too. With The Soft Whisper of Dreams there was a story in the past, but it wasn’t the distant past the way I normally write, only twenty-odd years back in time.  And I didn’t write it in alternate chapters the way I normally do. Somehow it all fell into place though, and as I said, the story just happened.

It would be nice if more books worked that way – just came pouring out – rather than having to be perspired over, but some are easy, some not so much. That’s just the way it is. But if another one comes and demands to be let out like that, I’m definitely not going to stop it!

Please let me know what you think – do you mind an author switching genres or are you happy to go along with that?

My review

Although described as a “follow-on”, there’s absolutely no need to have read the earlier book – but for those of us who have, it’s a lovely opportunity to meet Kayla and Wes again. Maddie is a strong and spirited heroine, and Alex an initially unlikely but ultimately perfect romantic lead. The story tracks the twists and turns of their relationship, but also follows Maddie’s quest to find out more about her family – a quest that puts her in serious danger, with some edge-of-your-seat moments and many real surprises. The characters are well drawn, the Cornish setting equally well described: the story is by turn exciting, mysterious and unashamedly romantic, a perfect novel into which to escape for a few hours. I loved it – and, particularly for anyone who read The Secret Kiss of Darkness, the ending is absolutely perfect. And did I mind that it wasn’t a “timeslip” book? Not one bit…

Giveaway (now closed)

With thanks to Choc Lit, I drew a winner at 6pm on Friday 27th March. Congratulations to Jan Brigden – kindle copy on its way very soon!

Christina Courtenay writes historical romantic fiction and romantic time slip stories, as well as contemporary young adult romance. For more information on Christina and her books, please see her excellent website.You’ll also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

26 thoughts on “Feature – The Soft Whisper of Dreams by Christina Courtenay – guest post and review (giveaway now closed)

  1. Clare Chase

    It's really interesting to read about the writing of The Soft Whisper of Dreams. It sounds like a fantastic story; I love romance mixed with suspense. (Though I really enjoy time slip too!)

  2. Janet Gover

    I read the first book – loved it. I am so impressed that Christina can write in different genres and do them all so well.

  3. Jane Lovering

    I have this waiting for me on my Kindle, and, having read this interview, I can't wait any longer to read it! I love books set in Cornwall, I love Christina's writing… double whammy.

  4. Unknown

    I'm a great fan of romantic suspense and this sounds a wonderful story – you can never beat anything set in Cornwall either! Angela Britnell

  5. Kirsty Ferry

    I'm trying to do a different genre at the minute from time slip. It's difficult so I admire you for succeeding!

  6. Liz Harris

    I, too, enjoy writing in different genres, Christina. An interesting interview. Thank you for it, Christina and Anne.

  7. Jan Brigden

    Great interview. I love Christina's writing. Anne, your review has made me want to read this novel even more than I did before!

  8. Kath McGurl

    I love Christina's writing – effortless prose. I'm a huge fan of timeslip too, but also love pure historicals.

  9. Isabella Connor

    I'm currently reading this and loved it from the first page. I've wanted more about Alex since meeting him in the prequel.

    Liv x

  10. Sheryl Browne

    I'm writing in different genres too. It's a challenge but does concentrate the mind. I'm loving this review, Anne. 'Unashamedly romantic' … perfect! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Anne Williams

    What a lovely array of comments, and so many of them from authors I know and admire – thank you everyone (and for following my blog or liking the Being Anne FB page), and thank you Christina for responding to everyone personally. I have absolutely no idea how many of you would like to be in the draw to win a copy of Christina's lovely book, but I'll work that one out on Friday! xx

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