I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Brown a few questions.
Me: What inspired you to write this story?
Ms. Brown: 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!
When I was a teen I read a book called Amanda Miranda by Richard Peck and it was set in this era. That book first started my love for all things Edwardian.
Me: Is anything in your story based on real life or is it purely imagination?
Ms. Brown: Like many historical authors, I tried to bring real life events into the story. The Clever Coterie, for instances, was based on a real life group of young aristocrats who frolicked through the Edwardian period, drinking, dancing and shocking their elders. I think real life details lend a book , even a fiction book, authenticity.
Me: Which character is your favorite and why?
Ms. Brown: 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. Wouldn't you love someone who worked literary quotes into everyday conversation? Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!
Me: What was the hardest part about writing this story?
Ms. Brown: I wrote this story while undergoing treatment for throat cancer, so the most challenging part of writing this book, was staying awake for it! I was so fatigued all the time. But usually once I had immersed myself in the story, I was good. It was just forcing myself to the computer chair that was hard! Also, I had very short deadlines for these books, so I had no room to put it off and take a nap!
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 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…
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Available at: Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Simon and Schuster, and Indie Bound
Other books in the series:
A BLOOM IN WINTER (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013
PRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013
The Author: T.J. Brown
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.
Find her: TWITTER, WEBSITE, GOODREADS