I am so honored and excited to be kicking off the tour for T.J. Brown’s new book SUMMERSET ABBEY which will be releasing on January 15, 2013. It’s a gorgeous book – yes I’ve read it – and I am already anticipating the release of book two. Because after that ending… well, I’ll just say that the wait is going to be torturous.
The tour will be running for two weeks – January 7th through the 11th and January 21st through the 25th – with stops consisting of reviews, interviews and super fun guest posts at some awesome blogs. Each stop on the tour will be offering up a signed copy of the book for giveaway so be sure to check out all the stops for more chances to win. The tour schedule with links to the participating blogs is below.
There is also a special pre-order giveaway which starts today and runs through the 14th – the day before SUMMERSET ABBEY releases – that the author is hosting. Each of the blogs during the first week of the tour will have details. And the prize is awesome.
For my stop today I got to the chance to ask the author a few questions about her book, about her characters, about her adventurous activities… and about head-banging. If you want to know more about that you’ll have to read on.
And while the next stop on tour won’t be until Monday, the author will be visiting Edwardian Promenade tomorrow, January 4th. So if you’d like to take a peek, be sure to check it out on the 4th. And if you’re a fan of all things Edwardian, you’ll definitely want to stop by.
It was so much fun coming up with interview questions for author T.J. Brown and reading and responding to her answers. But, as always, before all that, here’s just a little bit…
Title: SUMMERSET ABBEY
Author: T.J. Brown
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Pub. Date: January 15, 2013
Formats: Paperback, eBook
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. . . .
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.
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 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…
Other books in the series:
A BLOOM IN WINTER (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013
SPRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013
TJ Brown is passionate about books, writing, history, dachshunds and mojitos. If she could go back in time, she would have traveled back to England, 1910, Paris, 1927 or Haight-Ashbury, 1967. She resides in the burbs of Portlandia, where she appreciates the weirdness, the microbreweries, hoodies, Voodoo Donuts and the rain.
Q. SUMMERSET ABBEY is set in 1913 just outside of London. What drew you to this era and setting for your story? What were the challenges, if any, in creating the world? And what was your favorite aspect of creating it?
The thing that draws me to this era, especially in England, is that it was basically the end of a way of life. Reforms and changes were sweeping the world and this was very apparent in prewar Britain. From the emancipation of women to the rise of the lower classes, the times, they were a-changing. And technology was right on the cusp of changing our world forever. I am really in love with that sense of breathless waiting, the clash of the old and the new. Fascinating.
I think the biggest challenge to creating this world was my deadlines. That’s why I hired expert and fact checker, Evangeline Holland. (www.edwardianpromenade.com)
— Fiktshun: Just the way you describe that time makes it sound so exciting – “breathless waiting,” and “the clash of the old and the new.” I think I’m falling in love with that period in history now, too! And I can imagine it’s a huge help to have a fact checker for those details. Especially when under the gun.
Q. SUMMERSET ABBEY follows three characters’ – Rowena, Prudence and Victoria – stories. What made you decide to write the series from the different POVs versus having a book for each character to tell their story? And do you feel you were able to get Rowena, Victoria and Prudence’s stories told in the way you wanted with each book?
You know, I don’t really know. That is just sort of the way it came out! I think part of the reason was instinctive – I wanted everyone’s motivations to be completely clear. In book one, if you didn’t have Rowena’s POV it would be easy to dislike her because her actions have a seriously negative affect on Prudence’s life. I wanted to be able to show the contrasting thoughts and emotions of each character at the same time. There ended up being both positives and negatives to this…While the reader definitely gets to see what is going on with each character, I get to spend much less time with each one. I think that in giving a bird’s eye view of the story, the development of each character didn’t feel as deep as I would have liked. Also there were time/length constraints, as well. But I really do love hearing from each character as the story unfolds so it’s kind of a catch 22.
— Fiktshun: It does sound like a catch 22. But for the sake of Rowena’s character I think it was important to see things from her perspective. Because, otherwise, she definitely would have been not-so-likeable.
Q. The description mentions that the girls were raised in a home that “defied Edwardian tradition.” Would you say that their “bohemian” upbringing made their lives more exciting or more challenging? In what ways do you think it helped or hurt for them to not value wealth and status above all else?
Some people, such as the girl’s father, Sir Phillip, accepted and adapted to change much more easily. He raised his daughters for a life that hadn’t quite happened yet. This both helped and hindered them—in the long term they were far more prepared for post war life than were their contemporaries, but they did struggle fitting into life as it was right then… does that make sense? So at the family estate they were at a real disadvantage because while they were familiar with that life, they were often impatient with the restraints.
— Fiktshun: It makes total sense. Being ahead of the curve absolutely has its positives and negatives. And I can only imagine how impatient it must have made them to follow societal norms while at the estate.
Q. Was there one particular moment in each of the characters’ stories that, as the writer, made you smile? If so, what were those moments?
Every time I wrote a scene with Victoria and Kit in it, I smiled. I also giggled when I wrote the scene where Lord Billingsly offers Prudence a ride to town. Rowena’s character arc was more difficult to write because she is slipping into a depression. Much less humor there.
— Fiktshun: Poor Rowena. No. There was definitely not as much humor there. But I love that writing that scene made you giggle. And no, I won’t spoil it here.
Q. Your website and bio reveal that you have a bit of an adventurous streak – parachuting, cliff diving, free climbing and parasailing. Yet you seem to love the more traditional fonts – Calibri, Cambria and Times New Roman – and romantic comedies/chick flicks. How do you reconcile the two different sides of your personality? Is there something you like to do that incorporates both?
First off, I have to clarify that I have not been parasailing and my cliff diving experience is actually jumping, as opposed to going in head first! Also Free Climbing was limited to my teen years and is NOT the same as the crazy things they do today. So while I am adventurous, I am also cautious. I’m not an adrenaline junkie! And actually, I think being someone who appreciates tradition can still be adventurous! I feel writing can be both traditional and adventurist. I love reading books written in the early 1900’s and comparing the style to how we write now.
— Fiktshun: Cliff jumping is still terrifying. Well, depending on just how high the cliff! And some of those books in the early 1900s were quite scandalous for their time. But it is fun to see just how different writing styles are today.
Q. You’ve written a standalone novel and now you have two new series in the works. Is continuing a story over the course of multiple books something you enjoy or do you prefer to wrap things up at the end of just one book… or does it depend?
The Summerset series was the first one I’ve written, so I am just learning the joy of writing about the same characters, as well as the limitations of basically having each character’s history already written out. So far I am really enjoying the experience, though I do have a few ideas that are stand alone.
— Fiktshun: I can only imagine that there are both positives and negatives to writing a series. I suppose once something has been decided in book one you’re stuck with that decision throughout the series. But it’s nice to hear that it is enjoyable even with the limitations!
Q. As both a “word scribbler” and a “head banger” do you feel that the head-banging helps the writing process? And what is your favorite music to head bang to? Or are your head-banging activities strictly limited to acts of frustration?
I’m an alternative music freak. My husband still loves eighties head banging music, but honestly that music doesn’t speak to my heart as does bands like Muse, Imagine Dragons, Young the Giant, etc. I found the music of my youth… in my forties! I love going to concerts in small venues… I love the energy and excitement of the youth attending. It keeps me young! And I think that head banging does help me write, especially with my young adult writing!
— Fiktshun: That is so awesome and I totally agree that head-banging can help with writing! And I love that your husband still rocks out to his ’80s tunes. Rock on!
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog to kick off the SUMMERSET ABBEY Blog Tour. I absolutely LOVED the answers to your interview questions and I totally adore your characters and this first book in your new series.
And I am super excited to continue the story in A BLOOM IN WINTER when it releases in March.
Also, for the record, I’m so glad you’re not an adrenaline junkie. That tends to be a risky lifestyle and cliffhanger endings are only good if there is a book forthcoming.
January 3rd – Fiktshun – Interview/Q&A
January 7th – Katie’s Book Blog – Review and Interview/Q&A
January 8th – Letters Inside Out – Guest Post – The Clever Coterie
January 9th – Stuck in YA Books – Guest Post – Dream Cast
January 10th – Book Loving Mom – Review
January 11th – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Guest Post – Putting Together Research
January 21st – Chapter by Chapter – Guest Post – Favorite Book Quote & Why
January 22nd – To Read or Not To Read – Review
January 23rd – In the Next Room – Interview/Q&A
January 24th – The Reading Date – Review
January 25th – Snowdrop Dreams of Books – Guest Post – Music of the Edwardians
Book Lovers Contest
In celebration of the launch of SUMMERSET ABBEY, the first book in an awesome trilogy, author Teri Brown is holding a book lovers contest.
All you have to do to enter is pre-order SUMMSERSET ABBEY through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, or through your local independent bookstore and then forward the e-receipt to: Teri(at)teribrownbooks.com.
Contest runs from January 3rd through January 14th.
Winner will be chosen at random and announced on January 15th, the day Summerset Abbey comes out!
Is that an awesome way to celebrate or what?
What’s Up for Grabs?
A signed copy of SUMMERSET ABBEY by T.J. Brown.
There are no requirements to like or follow, but there are extra entry opportunities.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below.