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TJ Bown, Summerset Abbey, and Water.

In the brief teaser I tacked onto yesterdays blog post I let you know there would be a special interview today, and I’m not going to disappoint!  I had the chance to ask author TJ Brown a few questions in regards to her new release Summerset Abbey and the series it kicks off.  So, let’s jump right in!

TD:  Was there a certain event or idea that inspired the book?

TJ:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

TD:  I know this is your first foray into historical fiction, did this pose any particular challenges or did you find it was a natural fit for you?

TJ:  It actually isn’t my first foray into historical fiction. Six months prior to getting the Summerset Abbey contract, I got a contract for a young adult series set in the 1920’s. So even though it won’t be out until June (Born of Illusion, June 15th!), I wrote it before the Summerset Series.

I honestly never thought I would be a historical writer, even though I love history and reading historicals. I just thought I had a more modern voice and the research intimidated me. But I had this idea that wouldn’t go away and once I wrote Born of Illusion I was hooked. Of course, Summerset is in a different time period, but before I started writing it, I figured that I had done so much research for the twenties, surely ten years prior couldn’t be that big of a difference could it? Was I ever wrong. 1914 England was a whole different world than 1924 New York. I had to start the research all over again! And I love it!

TD:  Can you tell me a little about your process?

TJ:  Usually, I start with a concept for a plot. Just a sketchy idea. Then the characters’ come. It’s rather like putting together a puzzle. And then my plot constantly changes and develops as I write. I’m not quite a seat of my pants writer, but the Summerset books have been unusually organic for me.

TD:  How many books do you foresee in this series?

TJ:  I am contracted for three but I have an idea for a fourth that my editor likes. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it may not happen, but I do have a fourth Summerset book in mind. We’ll see! But four for sure.

TD:  Do you have a favourite character or is there one who resonates more with you than the others?

TJ:  Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

So there you have it folks!  TJ Brown on her new book, Summerset Abbey, her process, and on writing historical fiction.  Now all that’s left is to drop a few details.  😉

Summerset Abbey is available at:

Book Blurb:

  • Summerset Abbey
    1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women
    seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of
    society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .
    Rowena Buxton
    Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women
    in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister
    Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she
    believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under
    their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey.
    Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the "under class" in
    this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive
    social circle of aristocratic "rebels," Rowena must decide where her true
    passions-and loyalties-lie.
    Victoria Buxton
    Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams
    of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most
    unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a
    family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever.
    Prudence Tate
    Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their
    bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess's daughter, and
    to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her
    true place in society-as ladies maid to her beloved "sisters." But Pru
    doesn't belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than
    she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches
    her eye, she begins to wonder if she'll ever truly carve out a place for
    herself at Summerset Abbey.

For more check out TJ at http://tjbrownbooks.com/

TJ Brown, author headshot

Author TJ Brown – Hooray for MomWriters!


Now, as if that alone doesn’t make one heck of a blog post, I still have more for you!  That’s right… we’re still in the middle of the January Photo Challenge – and I’m not one to give up on a challenge.  So here we are.  😉

The challenge today was to photograph water.  Easy peasy, right?  Yep.  Here’s the girl, immersed in the stuff:

kid in the bathtub

My little bathing beauty.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a LITTLE more of an actual challenge…

photo a day challenge for january

Something I’ve bought?  Well…  I guess there’s at least a little bit of thought to go into that one.  😉

 

Writerly Style

Every writer has a style all their own, a way of communicating that not only shares a story or a thought, but also that persons way of being.  My favourite writers have always been those who relay their tales as if telling, or retelling an oral folk story.  Who’s words come off the paper as if spoken, from a dear friend.  I suppose that is why I have such an easy way with words…  I write in the same voice as I speak.

Some writers are amazing world builders, artists like Tolkien, who’s worlds and characters take on an entire life of their own.  However these writers are not always easy to read.  Tolkien’s works don’t flow easily from the tongue, and they can be difficult for a novice reader to slog through (though even as a child that never stopped me).  Other writers craft amazing dialogue, to the point where you can hear the characters voices in your head as you read.  So many of Ms. Rice’s characters pop into mind – voices you’ll never forget, each completely distinct from one another.  Then there are those who are able to do both, and who do so with such brilliant smithery as to beguile your very senses…  and these are the writers for whom you cry for a reconnection with, when their stories come to an end.  These are the writers like DiTerlizzi – seriously, if you haven’t read his WondLa books yet what are you doing sitting at your computer or on your iWhatzit reading this?  Get on it!

Myself?  Well…  I’m not a fiction writer.  I’d never delude myself into thinking I could craft a novel.  A short story?  A bit of flash fiction?  Sure thing.  But I could never hold your attention long enough to bring you so deep into a world with such rich characters that you’d mourn for them when finished.  And I’m okay with that.

I write in my voice, and I write for every day people.  I may not particularly like people, but I love them…  I think people are full of potential.  And if my voice, my stories, my experiences, my knowledge, can inspire people?  Then I was “write” to put fingers to keys.  I know I will not change the world, but perhaps I can enkindle you.

red quill and silver ink well

Check out the weekly writing challenge here at wordpress.com:  Stylish Imitation

Cuddled up…

As the rain pours down, the thunder rolls, and the lighting flashes across the sky…  the girlie and I cuddle beneath Nana’s blanket.  Listening, and loving the sights, sounds, and smells of a Summer storm.  🙂

All cuddled up...

On an unrelated note…  I’ve finished the manuscript for my children’s story.  What possessed me to write a children’s book I’ll never know.  But it was the first time my muse hit me in such an unrelenting fashion in a long time.  I’m quite comfortable writing canine non-fiction (dog training advice, behaviour tips, and breed information most commonly).  But then, one evening, laying in bed next to my sleeping girl I just felt the NEED to write.  The only thing near by was my BlackBerry… so believe it or not I actually wrote the first 1/3 of the manuscript on that.  LMAO  Hey!  When the muse hits, the muse hits!  If I’ve learned one thing as a writer it’s to listen to my inner voice.

Now I begin taking steps on completely foreign soil.  I don’t have contacts (agents and publishers) in this world.  In non-fiction, doing what I’ve been doing for years?  Yep.  I know many folks.  But this is something completely new to me.  So it’s a new adventure… but one I think will be very worth fully delving into.  Wish me luck.

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