Got your heart set on Edwardian romance?
Sherri Browning delivers excellence with her latest ‘Downton Abbey-esque’ installment of The Great Estate, a second-chance-at-love romance.
The Great Estate is the third book in her Thornbrook Park series.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Sherri.
- What made you start writing romance?
My mother was an avid romance reader, and the covers always intrigued me. I remember her being especially engrossed in a French series about Angelique (by husband and wife writing team Sergeanne Golon) and the Poldark series by Winston Graham. As soon as I deemed myself old enough (age 12), I grabbed those books off her shelves and began my own adventures in romance reading. The next logical step was writing my own romances.
- What inspired your current release?
The Thornbrook Park series was inspired by my love for Downton Abbey. There were not enough romances set after 1900, and I wanted to change that. The widespread fascination with Downton Abbey made it possible for publishers to finally try releasing romances set in Edwardian times, and I decided to jump on that and write my own. The Great Estate, the third in the series, really began forming with the first Thornbrook Park book set at the estate of the Earl and Countess of Averford, the estranged couple and lead characters of The Great Estate.
- Any quirky writer’s habits you want to share?
I forget to eat when I’m writing, and snack like a fiend all through the revision process. I don’t know why revising makes me so hungry, maybe the nerves of trying to get it all right.
- Please share your research process for your books/series.
I love primary sources and reading anything I can get my hands on that was actually written during the time period I’m writing in, letters, journals, fiction. Not set in the time period, but actually written then. It’s the best way for me to pick up on the correct voice and phrasing of the period I’m writing in.
- What is your favorite thing about this book?
I love that Sophia and Gabriel are both deeply flawed characters who learn and grow from each other.
- Where there any surprises in writing this book? If yes, would you share?
Gabriel and Sophia both appear in previous Thornbrook books. Throughout the series, Gabriel seems so self-assured, and Sophia is haughty and a bit spoiled. To see them let their guards down and appear vulnerable added new elements for me. I was surprised that Sophia actually has a great sense of humor, and that Gabriel needs some reassurance from his wife that he’s on the right path.
- What about the hero and heroine made you want to see them together?
Approaching my own 25th wedding anniversary, I was thinking about the things that keep married people together when so much seems to be working against them. I wanted to explore why Gabriel and Sophia stay married despite their obvious differences. Is it familiarity? Convenience? Or, could it be, deep love?
- How do you celebrate when you finish a novel?
Champagne. Always. Very expensive champagne. You only live once.
Now for “Fast Five”
Of all the characters you’ve written, who would you most like to be? Why?
I would love to be Jane Slayre, my version of Jane Eyre with Jane as a vampire slayer. She’s kind of a Victorian Buffy, very strong, badass, and cool. Plus, she wears corsets and gorgeous Victorian gowns (mostly in black). Who wouldn’t want to be Jane?
What’s your favorite food? What do you like about it?
It’s hard to pick a favorite because I like most everything. I’ve always been an adventurous eater. Just today, my mother was talking about her surprise when I ordered frog’s legs off a menu at age five. I love food. All of the foods!
What’s your favorite color? Can you tell us why?
I used to tell my daughter that my favorite color was green, like her eyes. But I lied. I have always loved pink. In fact, I made my bridesmaids wear cotton candy pink, and I don’t think they’ve all forgiven me yet, twenty-five years later. I guess I’m more girly than I care to admit.
Please share a few things from your ‘Bucket List.’
I don’t believe in bucket lists. I believe in living each day to the fullest and embracing every accomplishment, no matter how big or small. I also set goals for myself, but nothing that would devastate me if I fail to accomplish it. I’m satisfied with the life I’ve led.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18 year old self?
When I was 18, I was so uptight and worried about appearances. To go back in time, I would tell myself to take chances and stop worrying so much. Be you and the rest will fall into line.
Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.
Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford…and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she’s determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love… before they’re lost to each other forever.
It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love…and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.
Bio: Sherri Browning Erwin, best known for critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations, also writes romance as Sherri Browning. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in Massachusetts and Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Connecticut. Watch for her return to historical romance with the Thornbrook Park series.
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