Sunday, June 1, 2014

Aloha to Jayne Fresina and ONCE UPON A KISS

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?

Amazon link
Barnes and Noble link
iTunes 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.

Goodreads:  link
Facebook: link

Savage, Maryland

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  

Savage, Maryland


  1. I loved the village of Adderbury, in Oxfordshire. It was only three miles from where I lived in Banbury. There's lots of thatched roof cottages, and very pretty gardens. Thank you for the chance to win Jayne's latest, I really enjoy her books.

  2. Thanks for inviting me on today!

  3. I look Niagara on the lake... I love watching the plays there and the little shops...

  4. We have a fairly small town nearby (I live in Orlando, FL) called Winter Garden. They have a lovely downtown area that is fun to visit on the weekends, with a farmer's market, and a frequent car show to visit.

  5. Congrats Jayne on the new release!! Love your books ;) Ummm... don't necessarily have a favorite "village". I do enjoy the small town/village atmosphere that authors create and I think for the question, I love the one I'm in when I read!

  6. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by today :)

  7. I like Mystic CT. It is very nice.

  8. Hello it has been a while since i visited your blog Kim.. ( slaps Hand) I love the premise of this book would love to read it.
    Favourite village is Luss in Scotland I was there 2 weeks ago it is so peaceful thatch roof cottages Endless view of Ben Lomond over the Loch Lomond.
    Have a good one Ann/alba

  9. I love the sound of your new book, Jayne!

    Greenfield Village is an outdoor historical museum connected to the Henry Ford Museum in the Detroit area. It's a lot of fun to immerse yourself back in time and experience life as it used to be.

    Marcy Shuler

  10. I don't think I really know a "village" - mostly just suburbs for me and a few large cities lol.

  11. I don't really have a familiarity with any 'villages' but there are places that I have 'visited' in books that I would love to get to know even better! Thanks for sharing and good luck to the author on her new release!

  12. The only 'village' I've visited was Greefield Village in Michigan and it was very fun!

  13. I grew up in a town outside of Philly called, Havertown. The area that I lived in was like a village with everyone seeming to know everyone else. People lived in the same house for many years and we all grew up together. I had a great childhood there!

  14. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I forgot to mention that I also love the somewhat creepy villages of the Midsommer Murders TV series!

  15. Kansas City is so large anymore that there aren't any villages left here.

  16. I'm not sure if it is really a village, but there is a little mountain town named Julian up in our local mountains that seems like a little village. It's a fun day trip. Good place to get some apple pie.

  17. Hmmmm I've never lived in a small village. I grew up in the city/suburbs so that's like far from a small town or village. But I do love reading about small villages! Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series was one great village I want to visit, even if it's not real.....

  18. I enjoy visiting New Hope in Pennsylvania. It has a lot of interesting stores and places to eat.

  19. I don't really have a favorite village, I'm a city girl but I do enjoy reading about them :)

  20. Argh! I can't think of any villages. Everything around me is a city. I do love the 'quaintness' of villages I read about, though.