Place of birth: Croydon*, South London, United Kingdom
Passport: Australia (My UK passport expired a few years ago.)
Overseas history: Australia (just outside Perth, Western Australia): 1998 – present. “I live five minutes from the beach!”
Occupation: Writer of steamy historical and paranormal romance for Penguin and Ellora’s Cave.
Cyberspace coordinates: Christina Ashcroft: Welcome to my dark world of archangelic eroticism (author site) and @ChristinaAsh_ (Twitter handle).
*I always get very excited whenever I see Croydon mentioned in a book (which isn’t very often!)
Before moving to Australia, you lived in England all of your life. What made you take the leap to Down Under?
My husband and I were high school sweethearts — he, too, comes from South London (Upper Norwood). We had talked about moving to Australia off and on for several years. We used to watch the programs on the TV of expats, and it all seemed very exotic and exciting. The decider came when my brother made the move to Perth, WA, in 1994. We visited him in ’96 when he got married (to the girl he’d gone to Uni with in the UK). Despite being chased by the biggest cockroach in the history of cockroaches, we fell in love with the country. We arrived home in early January to ice and snow, and within a couple of weeks we filed our application! We moved out here with our three kids.
So your brother is also “displaced”?
Yes, he, his wife and two daughters live about an hour from us.
In your 15 years in Oz, when have you felt the most displaced — apart from the time when you were literally displaced by that cockroach?
Only when there’s a big family get together in the UK and we know we can’t make it. We used to have great family parties and I really miss them. Apart from that I’ve honestly never felt displaced, except for the first month or so when I did get a bit homesick… 🙂
When have you felt the least displaced?
When I’m spending time in front of my laptop, lost in the mystical worlds of my characters. I’ve made a lot of writer friends online but I’ll never forget the first time I met up with my two critique partners (CPs) in the “real world.” It was just magic. I had found my tribe, and even though I’d had to travel to the other side of the world before we found each other, it was completely worth it. Funnily enough one of my CPs is also an expat from the UK who moved to New Zealand, but now lives in Australia. The other one is an Australian who was living in the UK when we first met online but she has now moved back to Oz.
It sounds as though you credit the move to Australia with your decision to become an author.
I’ve often wondered whether my career would have followed the same route if we’d stayed in the UK. While I’ve always loved writing it wasn’t until we moved to Australia that I decided to to write with the aim of publication. The support, encouragement and friendship I’ve found in the Romance Writers of Australia has been phenomenal. I also don’t think I would have met up with my CPs, and they are the ones who originally suggested I should try writing erotic romance.
All this talk of erotic romance is helping to put us in the mood for Valentine’s Day. Can you tell us a little more about the plots of your books?
My paranormal romances feature fallen bad ass Archangels and the women who capture their hearts. I’m thrilled that my first Archangel book, Archangel of Mercy, was a finalist in the 2012 Australian Romance Readers Award for Favorite Paranormal Romance.
Wow, congratulations! And don’t you write historical romances as well?
My historical romances are set during the first century when Rome invaded Britain. There are sexy warrior heroes, magical Druid heroines and powerful goddesses.
You may bring one curiosity you’ve collected while living in Australia into The Displaced Nation. What’s in your suitcase besides your books?
Well, I’ve not brought a suitcase, I’ve brought a traveling basket with my three adorable kitties! 🙂 I’d always had cats in England, but we were here for 12 years before I finally adopted two sisters. One of them had four kittens but unfortunately only one survived. We spoil him terribly!
You are invited to prepare a meal for the Displaced Nation, based on your travels. What’s on the menu?
It would have to be a barbeque, of course! Not only can you cook practically anything on the BBQ but it always tastes a lot better than having to cook it in the kitchen. Plus it means I don’t have to actually do any cooking, since my husband and son take over with tongs and fork — always a bonus!
Since lamb is very popular here, we could have lamb and capsicum kebabs with salad and fresh crusty bread, washed down with a local wine and cold beer. Seeing as I’m from the UK, I should only ever drink warm beer, but I have to confess I’ve joined the Dark Side on that one!
For dessert — what could be yummier than a mango cheesecake?
Can you donate an Aussie word or expression to the Displaced Nation’s argot?
One of the best expressions in Australia is “No worries.” While my children take great delight in telling me I still sound “so British,” I do love saying “no worries.” It’s just so laid back and zen and also rolls off the tongue very easily!
Returning one last time to this month’s Valentine’s Day theme, what’s your idea of a romantic evening for two? Has it changed since the time when you were still living in Britain?
Room service in a fabulous hotel with a gorgeous view of the ocean. We’d eat our meal on the balcony as we watched the sun set and later we’d crack open a bottle of bubbly in the private spa. Although we’ve only managed this romantic getaway a couple of times in recent years, we never did anything like it in Britain.
Readers — yay or nay for letting Christina Ashcroft into The Displaced Nation? She drinks cold beer yet her children accuse her of being “so British.” And, though we might enjoy her erotic tales of fallen archangels and the women who capture their hearts around Valentine’s Day, would we benefit from a steady diet of this out-of-this-displaced-world fare? (Note: It’s fine to vote “nay” as long as you couch your reasoning in terms we all — including Christina — find amusing!)
STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post, another in our “Capital Ideas” series — focusing on one of the world’s most romantic cities (but of course!).
If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!
img: Christina Ashcroft looking a little bit displaced(?) at the Romance Writers of Australia conference held in August 2012. Christina says: “My critique group call ourselves the Tiara Girls, so we take along our tiaras and wear them at the Friday night conference cocktail party. It’s just a bit of fun!”
Hi Christina. I learned more about you today. Warm beer and hot weather just don’t go together.
Hi Shelley! I know! I’m sure my Brit rellies wouldn’t be impressed if they saw me drinking a beer straight from the fridge 🙂
Your Valentine’s Day visit to the Displaced Nation provides an excellent opportunity to ask: How has EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey been received Down Under? Has it influenced your profession at all?
The 50 Shades trilogy has been a phenomenal hit Down Under. Everyone seems to be talking about it 🙂 I think 50 Shades of Grey has really helped bring erotic romance out into the “open”. Erotic romance has been around for a very long time, but the popularity of 50 Shades has brought it to the attention of a far larger potential audience and that’s got to be a fantastic thing for the genre as a whole. I personally know of many readers who have never read an erotic romance before who picked up 50 Shades and loved it – and are now happily reading other erotic romances that previously they never knew about.
Hey Christina! Love the idea of fallen “bad ass archangels.” Sounds like a fun & smexy read. I also love the line “no worries.” We had a lot of Aussie friends in Japan and probably picked it up from them. It’s a great response for most ailments:) Congrats on your writing successes!
Hi Larissa! Thanks so much for your congrats 🙂