Special Guest – Interview with TJ Brown (Summerset Abbey)

Today we have a special guest. TJ Brown joins us to give a glimpse of her new book Summerset Abbey. Please give her a warm welcome.

Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?
I lived in Alfalfa Oregon and I gotta tell you, I’m not a huge fan. The country is lovely, and I have some lasting friends, but overall, I was a city girl stuck in the sticks. I went to school in Redmond and there is lots to love about it. Small town feel and lots of fun memories. And the scenery in Central Oregon is incredible.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An author, always. I wrote my very first story in the first grade. Unfortunately I didn’t finish it, which is funny, really, considering how long it took me to finish a whole book! I’ve gotten better at that part… 

Tell us about your latest book.
Summerset Abbey was a ton of fun to write. I knew I wanted to write an Edwardian and after talking to my agent, she went right to work and found me the right editor. I LOVE my agent. Mollie Glick from Foundry. Anyway, Lauren McKenna (my senior editor) and I brainstormed back and forth and Summerset is the result of that brainstorm session.  It is basically about three young women figuring out what to do with their lives, only it’s set in an era where women have very few choices. But that is changing rapidly, along with the culture they live in and technology. It’s a very exciting time in history, which is why I love it.

Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m currently writing Summerset Abbey Three,  Spring Awakening and I am waiting on edits for the second young adult novel in my Born of Illusion series. Plus, I have several ideas and or proposals out. I never run out of ideas!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
The first draft of any novel is incredibly hard for me. Honestly, it’s like pulling teeth! I far prefer revisions.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Keep writing. Be honest with  how much rejection you can take and be honest with how badly you want it, because it is very, very hard.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I don’t have time for writer’s block. I may have a stretch of three or four days where I the writing comes hard, but  I just try to write through it. I have had so many deadlines, I can’t imagine not being able to write.

Who is your favorite author and why? 
I have so many! For adult books, I love Joshilyn Jackson and Shirley Jump. For teen authors, I love Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lisa Schroder. And I love them all for different reasons. Joshilyn and Shirley are funny and Maureen and John are quirky and original. And Lisa is just a lovely writer.

What books have most influenced your life?
So Big by Edna Ferber. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Better Smith.

How did you deal with rejection letters?
I read them once and move on. You can’t dwell on rejection or it would give rise to the doubt monster which would kill my creativity. I read the good emails, over and over, though:)

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
I’m a huge fan of Scrivener. I use it for plotting mostly. I love my MS Word, too. Pen. Paper. Internet access so you have the ability to research and use thesaurus.com! I love me some thesaurus.com!  

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… Other books in the series:

A BLOOM IN WINTER (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013 
SPRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013
BIO: 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.