Welcome Carrie Turansky to The Story behind the Story. It’s so exciting to have her here. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll love her books. Read the post, and at the end, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of the book if you live in the U.S.
How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Early in 2012 I attended the American Library Association Conference in Philadelphia with aut
hor friend, Cathy Gohlke. I spoke to an editor there and asked what she was looking for. She said she’d love to see and Englis
h historical romance series set in the same time period as Downton Abbey. I’d enjoyed watching the first season of Downton, and I especially liked the way the screenwriter gave equal time to developing the storyline of the
wealthy family as well as the loyal servants. I didn’t know much about Edwardian England, but I jumped into the research, and fell in love with the time period. The ideas for the characters and plots rose out of my research and the issues
of the time. The titles of the novels in the Edwardian Brides Series are The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall, which releases October 20, 2015.
What kind of research was required for the book?
I love research. That’s how I usually find the characters and events in my stories. I took two trips to England to research this series and spent hours reading books about the time period, customs, and issues in Edwardian England. I wanted to understand life “below stairs” as well as life “upstairs” lived by the aristocratic class. I watched several documentaries that were helpful, and I read a biography about a brave young British pilot that was a wonderful inspiration for the hero. I also took an online course about World War One aviation to help me write the hero’s scenes.
Why did you choose to focus on both the male and female protagonists?
Most of my readers are wom
en, so I gave the heroine a few more scenes than the hero, but in this book the hero, Alex Goodwin, has several key scenes showing his role as a pilot chasing German Zeppelins across the front lines in France and Belgium. Those are quite exciting scenes that are inspired by real events, so I think male and female readers will enjoy those. I also try to balance the number of scenes given to the staff with those of the family so readers have a view into both sides of life.
My husband and I visited England in 2012 and focused our time in Oxfordshire, the Peak District and the Cotswolds. Our tour of Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is set was the highlight of that trip for me. I loved seeing all the rooms where Downton is filmed, including the great hall, the library, the upper gallery and bedrooms. The gardens and greenhouse were lovely, and I had those in mind for several of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall. But I wanted to find a unique estate and setting for my books. My online research led me to Tyntesfield, a beautiful estate near Bristol in southwest England. It was a perfect choice. Tyntestfield is featured on the cover of A Refuge at Highland Hall and The Governess of Highland Hall, and I used the interior design of this house to help me envision the scenes in my novels.
I was very excited to visit Tyntesfield in May 2014. What a thrill to see all the rooms and take a private tour of the day nursery and the governess’s bedroom! It’s even more beautiful than my online research revealed. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Tyntesfield. I have a Pinterest board filled with photos to help me remember everything I saw there.
Book and Series Title: A Refuge at Highland Hall, The Edwardian Brides Series, Book 3
Back Cover Copy: The Great Ward shakes the world of a spirited young woman and the brave British pilot she loves, sending her home to Highland Hall and him into the war-torn skies over France. Can their love and faith see them through the heartbreak of war?
Penny Ramsey has always considered Highland Hall her home, but when Britain becomes involved in World War One she travels to London to assist her sister Kate with the eight orphan children Jon and Kate have taken into their home. Doing her part for the war effort takes priority over Penny’s dreams of romance until she meets Alex Goodwin, a Royal Naval Air Service pilot in training.
Alex is determined to prove his worth and do his part to defend his country. Knowing he is heading off for the dangerous assignment of chasing Zeppelins across the front line in France, he feels it’s unwise to form any romantic attachments. But he can’t help admiring the pretty, warmhearted Penny and wondering what it would be like to find her waiting when he returns home from the war.
Penny writes to Alex, their friendship blossoms, and she becomes his tie to home and normalcy as he faces the hardships war. But being an RNAS pilot means confronting the enemy, and the fallout form those experiences push Alex beyond Penny’s reach. Can God mend the brokenness left by the losses of war? Will faith and forgiveness bring them together again?
Praise for A Refuge at Highland Hall:
“In A Refuge at Highland Hall, master storyteller Carrie Turansky weaves together another beautifully written tale of courage, hope, and love. Her story swept me back to the streets of London and then on to France during the conflict of World War I. I love reading historical fiction, and it was a joy to learn so much about this era through the endearing Ramsey family. A Refuge at Highland Hall is a powerful conclusion to the Edwardian Brides Series!”
Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets
Here’s your chance to win a copy of this wonderful book. Follow the instructions to enter (it’s easy!). Contest runs utnil 12:00 a.m. on October 23.
Audience: Teen girls through grandmothers, Downton Abbey fans, and those enjoy English historical novels like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Author Name: Carrie Turansky
Author Website: http://carrieturansky.com
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