Welcome To Hawcombe Prior
by Jayne Fresina
My inspiration for the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior in ONCE UPON A KISS comes from a few different places. I was born in Huntingdon— a small market town near Cambridge in the east of England. It was charted by King John in 1205, and there is still a lot of history visible in the town, and in the village of Godmanchester, which lies just over the medieval bridge across the River Ouse. I suppose much of my inspiration comes from memories of living in that area, although Hawcombe Prior is a fictional village in the county of Buckinghamshire, rather than Cambridgeshire.
I thought of the old timbered buildings I used to walk by, the busy, friendly people who lived there, the cobbled streets and the buttercups on the common where my sisters and I used to walk. I thought of strolling through the churchyard and reading the old mossy stones, of feeding swans along the causeway, and taking ballet lessons in the rooms above the town hall, where, a few hundred years before, assembly dances must have been held.
When creating my fictional village I also thought of the thatched cottages, shire horses and blacksmith's forges such as those my father told me about from his own youth living in the countryside.
I've always been a Jane Austen fan too, of course, so when I decided to base my new series around a book society who read Austen's stories when they are first released, I had the chance to set my characters in a world and a period that I love to read about. But Austen isn't my only influence. The villages described in Elizabeth Gaskell's "Cranford" novels and in Flora Thompson's semi-autobiographical "Lark Rise to Candleford" trilogy, also inspired me to try creating worlds just as lively and rich with character.
I've lived in many different places over the years, and although I enjoy the pace and excitement of big cities in small doses, I'm definitely a country girl at heart. I love peaceful scenery, watching the seasons change, seeing the fields transformed each year from planting to harvest. And the sense of community in a small village.
Jane Austen once advised one of her nieces that, "three or four Families in a Country village is the very thing to work on" when writing a novel. For me that has also been pretty good advice!
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
These Book Club Belles are ready to put down their novels and find some real-life leading men!
In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, five young ladies of the local book society are reading a salacious romance called Pride and Prejudice. Upon finishing the book, the ladies race to find their own Mr. Darcy, and the handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright is the perfect mark.
Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence. But if the town's only eligible bachelor marries anyone, it should be her sweet, beautiful sister. And it's up to Justina to make it happen. How could this plan possibly go wrong?
Barnes and Noble link
Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England, the youngest in a family of four daughters. Entertained by her father's colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters - all with far more exciting lives than hers - she's always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines.
Sourcebooks is giving away a print copy of ONCE UPON A KISS to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about your favorite "village". I've grown found of Savage, Maryland - a small town with a historic mill, vintage railroad, and endless charm!
2. This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, June 7, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 8.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City