Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Author Interview with T. J. Brown

How would you describe Summerset Abbey in ten words or less?

Edwardian, fun, exciting, comical, dramatic, heartbreaking, vivid, rich, detailed, lush.

Oh, wait. That’s not what you meant? How about: An exciting, fun, sometimes comical, often dramatic and heartbreaking, Edwardian romp full of vivid and lush detailed descriptions.

Where did the inspiration behind Summerset Abbey come from?

When I was about fifteen I read this gorgeous book called Amanda, Miranda by Richard Peck. I absolutely fell in love with the time period, but being without Internet or library access, I didn’t really research the era or even know what exactly it was called. As I grew older, I realized it took place during the Edwardian period. Then I saw Downton Abbey and fell in love all over again. This led to a random email to my agent and the idea for Summerset Abbey was born.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

About ten years ago, I removed the dining room table from the house and made the dining room my office. I live in a 70’s ranch style home and have the smallest great room ever, so my office is right where everyone lives. This isn’t a problem now that my children are grown up, but it was a bit challenging when I first did it! When I am having trouble making the words happen, I find that a change of venue often helps and head to my local coffee shop. Most of my writing is done during the day when my husband is at work, because he’s kind of distracting!

Did you always want to be a writer? What has your writing journey been like?

When I was in the third grade, I read a biography on Louisa May Alcott and fell in love with her and her books. I decided I was going to be a writer just like Louisa and her alter ego, Jo March. But writing takes an awful lot of self-discipline and that’s something I didn’t have in abundance until after I had children. They taught me more about self-discipline in the first few years of their lives than I’d learned in all the previous 23 years of mine! I took those lessons and applied them to my writing life. I’ve written both nonfiction and fiction and writing fiction is so much more satisfying to me. I sold my first YA novel in 2007 and it came out in 2008. Summerset Abbey will be my second novel.

What did you do when you found out Summerset Abbey had sold?

I quit my job. Seriously! Six months prior, I had sold a young adult series set in the 1920’s to Balzer+Bray. I had a lot of books to write and knew that even my part time job was going to be too much, so I turned in my notice.

The sequel to Summerset Abbey, A Bloom in Winter, comes out in March. What's it like having two books released in the same year? Do you have time to sleep?

What’s sleep? I actually have FOUR books coming out this year! The third Summerset Abbey book will be coming out in August and my young adult novel, Born of Illusion will be out in June.

What are you writing now? Can readers expect a book 3 in the Summerset Abbey series?

Yes! Spring Awakening will be out in August. I am currently working on a novella and another novel. They are both top secret right now, but I hope to announce them soon!

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.  

Thanks so much to T. J. for stopping by In The Next Room! To learn more about Summerset Abbey check out her website or Goodreads page.

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