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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.  😉

 

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via Easy and Inexpensive Ornament for the Holidays.

The MomWriters Anniversary Ball!

Well…  another year has come and gone, and with the Anniversary Ball and the Golden Pens, we say goodbye to May and to the last year.  I never get choked up about the new year, it’s just never been a big deal to me.  But May 31st?  It’s how I measure my year, and my successes and failures.

I’ve grown up with the MomWriters.  I really was just a kid when I first joined this amazing group.  I couldn’t have been more than 22 (but it might have been even longer ago than that).  I was a dog mom, and wrote canine non-fiction.  And like a kid, I was pretty selfish.  I was in it for me.  It was about networking and getting my work out there and noticed.

“Time may change me….”

To be honest, I’m not really sure how everyone put up with me back then.  LOL  But they welcomed me with open arms, and stuck it out with me too.  I can’t imagine a better group of Women, and am so proud to call them my friends.

It’s odd…  to have been friends with people for so long, yet to have never met them in person.  They are as real a presence in my life as any person I see on a regular basis.  Their support, advice, strength, loyalty, friendship, and love has seem me through a lot.  The group may not be as active as it once was (with the changing face of the internet) but we all know that should any of us need each other:  “yes, should you need us, for any reason at all…”  Well, we know we don’t have to look very far to find the support we need.

So, congratulations to all this years Golden Pen winners!  Lovely chatting with you all at the Ball (which is where I’ll be headed again after hitting “publish”)!  And here’s to another 14 years of friendship.  Nothing like the life of a freelancer and mom.  😉

The Golden Pen Awards and the MomWriters Anniversary!

Every year, throughout May, I celebrate an amazing group of Women writers.  They are strong, creative, talented, giving, hard working, incredible people – and I am proud to call them my friends.  They are the MomWriters.

I can’t recall how long I’ve been one of them, but it’s as long as I can remember…  before I was mature enough to really be considered an adult, before I really knew who I even was.  They’ve seen me through many, many trials, and they’ve celebrated with me through many triumphs too.  The MomWriters are an incredibly important part of my life.

I started writing out names here – but got to 30 and had to stop…  there were still so many to go, and well…  I’d feel awful if I forgot someone.  LOL  So better to just say “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!”

Today marks the MomWriters Anniversary.  The culmination of a month full of celebration, and remembrances.  We have a virtual ball.  We all choose our dresses (and yes, we call all fit into whatever size we wish, and take whatever dates we like – it is virtual after all).  So here is my dress:  http://www.simplydresses.com/shop/viewitem-PD675659  And I’ll wear it in MY size.  I’m a 15, but am comfortable in my skin.  And definitely in the coral, it’s my very best colour.  😉  And girls?  This year, I’m leaving my date at home.  It would have been my husband or Orlando Bloom – but I’m feeling like a grrrlz night is in order.  And I’m going barefoot!

The Golden Pen Awards are always organized by our dear Carma – the true heart and soul of MomWriters – and she tallies our votes on this day every year.  I’ve won a few over the years (but always in one category, the John Hancock award).  This year though, not only was the award a surprise, but so too was the nomination.  Still don’t know who actually nominated me – speak up if it was you.  I’d like to give you a big squeeze to say thank you!  So, this year?  A huge surprise to win the Debate Diva award “for the Momwriter who loves to debate issues — any issues — but does so in a kind manner”.  Thank you ladies (and gents, because we do have a couple of gents in our little group), this means a lot.  🙂

When I told my husband that I won the Debate Diva Award for this year, he laughed and said “no shock there”.  LOL  But it was a shock, a really wonderful one.  It really was.  I didn’t even campaign for this win.  LMAO

Congratulations to all the Golden Pen winners, and to everyone who was nominated – you are all such amazing women.  I’m proud to be in your ranks!  And to have not yet been thrown out!  😉  Can you guys throw me out?  Maybe no-one has thought of that yet.  I better be quiet (and pay off Guido).  hehehe…

So…  before I head to the ballroom to join my wonderful incredible friends – my source of support, of unconditional love, of motherly advice and wisdom, of power, of kindness, of all things good that Women are – Thank you!  I know none of us says it often enough.  But you truly mean the world to me.  I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of women.  I believe in the power of SHE!

Our second chapter book.

Reading with my dad is one of my earliest memories.  He used to sit beside my bed and read me some of the greatest stories ever written.  It’s where my love of books began.  I still have the copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy that he read me all those years ago.  They are beat up pretty bad, and can barely hold in their pages…  but they are very well loved, having been read again and again and again.  I hope that one day my daughter will look back on our night time reads with the same fondness, and that it will inspire her to a lifetime of adventuring.

Lily-Ann and I finished our first chapter book on December 26th.  It was an adaptation of Tangled (the new Disney princess movie based on the Rapunzel fairy tale).  We found it in her school book order, and I figured we should give it a go.

On Tuesday we picked our current read.  I first consulted my most trusted group of writerly friends (the MomWriters, an email based group of women writers of which I’ve been a member for the last ten years).  I look forward to following up on many of their recommendations.  But this go round the girlie favoured the first book in the Fairy Blossoms series by Suzanne Williams, Daisy and the Magic Lesson.

So far, we have BREEZED through the first29 pages.  Its such an easy, flowing read.  And the characters are so personable, a group of nine year old fairies just beginning at Mistress Lily’s fairy school, what could be more delightful?  I have a feeling we’ll be sticking with this series for a while.

the next chapter

tonight's chapter...

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