I am so excited to be able to share with you an Author Interview with Courtenay Burden!
Courtenay Burden is a homeschool graduate, an unconquerable bookworm, and a Victorian enthusiast. She is passionate about good and great literature—writing that embodies both literary and spiritual excellence. She believes that good and great books are a powerful tool in Christ’s kingdom and she seeks to use that tool for His glory in her vintage-style historical fiction.
Kylie: When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
Courtenay: Creating stories is something I have always loved. As a child I spent hours upon hours creating characters and acting out their adventures with my dollhouse and my siblings.
Through elementary school, I still had this love of story-crafting and was a ravenous bookworm but the manual part of writing a story down was challenging enough that I didn’t find writing a very interesting subject. At that time, I thought I would like to be a seamstress after I finished high school. However, sewing for a living demands painstaking attention to detail and highly inflexible deadlines—two things that make a job very stressful, in my opinion!
Right around the time I started Grade 9, I began typing confidently enough to get my thoughts onto a page without too much difficulty. My interest in writing started to grow proportionately. By the time I graduated from high school I had finished the first draft of As the Heavens Are Higher and was confident that writing was something I wanted to pursue as a long-term occupation. Well-written, spiritually-challenging fiction has had a powerful influence on my own life and I hope that my writing can have the same kind of impact on others!
Kylie: If you had to pick a book(s) that influenced your writing style the most, which would you choose?
Courtenay: If I had to pick a single book, it would have to be Charlotte Mary Yonge’s The Daisy Chain—most famous as the novel credited with inspiring Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. As a child, the Little House series and the Five Little Peppers stories both had a huge impact on me as well.
Looking back, all of those books are about daily life in the 1800’s, with strong character development, wholesome values, a hearty emphasis on family, and delightfully accurate historical details—traits that still define my favourite books today!
Kylie: I just finished your book “As the Heavens Are Higher” and it was lovely! Could you share with us what made you choose to write historical fiction?
Courtenay: I have always loved history—particularly Victorian history. I am, in fact, a Victorian fanatic.
My favourite books have always been Victorian. My favourite clothes have always looked Victorian. For many years, I regretted the fact that I wasn’t born Victorian. Today, I can see a little better that God knows what He is doing when He picks the century we get to live in! But I don’t mind admitting that I am still passionately fond of anything that can claim a connection with the 1800’s.
So I am not even sure if the choice to write historical fiction was really a “choice” at all. It was just something that grew up out of the books I loved to read—and the settings where I liked to place my characters.
Kylie: Besides writing, what are other things that you enjoy spending your time doing?
Courtenay: In addition to reading (which is maybe an obvious one!) I love drawing, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Pretty much any creative hobby that doesn’t require getting your fingers all covered with sticky stuff! (Although I have learned to really enjoy painting in the last year or so, too—as long as the paint stays where it belongs on the end of the brush.) I also love hymns and old pictures and little children!
Kylie: Do you have a favorite author(s) whose books you would say inspire you?
Courtenay: I think the authors who inspire me fit into two categories.
The first are authors of fiction with vivid characters and a challenging Christian perspective. For me Charlotte Mary Yonge stands first on that list—and as I discovered her books at just the age when they were likely to have the strongest influence on me, she will probably remain my favourite author of all time!
The second category is made up of non-fiction writers who give a glimpse of everyday life in the past. Isabella Beeton in Britain and Eliza Leslie in America, with the generation or two of homemaking writers that followed them, are ladies whose books give me a springboard for visualizing historical backdrops.
Kylie: Where can readers connect with you?
Courtenay: I am the main writer (although not the main tech support!) for the Sheep Among Wolves blog.
Sheep Among Wolves Publishing as a company is dedicated to producing and promoting high-quality, Christ-centred literature. You can find us at www.sawpublishing.com.
As the Heavens Are Higher is available on that site, as well as on Amazon and the Kobo Store.
I want to thank Courtenay for stopping by to visit with us today and I am looking forward to seeing all the Lord has in-store for her and her writing in the future!