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Abby Green

Abby Green was born in London but returned to her Mother’s native Ireland when still a small baby. With her Mother from the west of Ireland, and living and growing up in the capital city of Dublin in the east, she’s had the best of both worlds.

A voracious reader from an early age, she also used to beg again and again to hear all the fairy tales: Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella...so the imprint of the Alpha hero, beautiful heroine and a happy ever after were imprinted in her psyche from an early age.

In her teens, the discovery of a Mills and Boon novel in her grandmother’s bedroom started an obsession. Many years and many books later, she is still reading them. Along the way, she fell into a career in film and TV as an Assistant Director. It’s been thirteen very happy, fulfilling years so far, but now the early starts and more often than not, less than perfect weather conditions are taking their toll!

So she took the plunge and followed her heart to try and write for Mills and Boon. After her first full submission was rejected, she sent in another one straight away – extremely determined by now to avoid at all costs standing out in the rain dealing with recalcitrant actors! – and happily got the ‘call’ in March, 2006.

Abby is still working in Film/TV for now, but looks forward to the end of each job when she can get back to writing for Harlequin Presents...which she still can’t really believe she’s doing!

CHOSEN AS THE FRENCHMAN'S BRIDE

He needs an heir— she's carrying his baby...

Being swept off her feet by a tall, bronzed Frenchman isn't on Jane Vaughan's holiday list of things to do. But Xavier Salgado-Lézille isn't a man a girl can say no to easily. Especially when he comes complete with a chateau on his own island!

Jane tries to play it cool, but she's inexperienced, out of her depth… and a virgin. Falling in love isn't part of the plan…neither is discovering she's pregnant once she's home and the affair is over.

Now Xavier knows she's carrying his child, and he wants an heir. Jane has been chosen as his bride!

Beyond The Book - Abby Green on
CHOSEN AS THE FRENCHMAN'S BRIDE

Lee : Please tell us more about yourself.

Abby: Well, I’m Irish. I was born in London as my mother was working there as a journalist in the 70’s, but as a small baby, we moved back to Dublin. I consider myself very lucky to be Irish, and love coming from a country that has such a rich artistic heritage. Coming from a small island though, does make one itch to see more of the world and I’ve been very fortunate to have had many opportunities to travel broadly; a mixture of backpacking, living on a few dollars a day, to working and then some five star blinging trips too, although those weren’t so many!

I’m an only child and as my mother worked, I went to boarding school at an early age. But, luckily it was close to Dublin so I got to go home every weekend and lived for Friday evenings. I experienced the ‘real’ life of boarding school long before I read Enid Blyton’s famous ‘St. Clare’s’ series of books, and yet I had no problem even then with the disparities between the world of fiction and reality!

Lee : You have what sounds like a fascinating day job. Could you please share more about that with our readers?

Abby: I work as a 2nd Assistant Director in the film industry. I started off in the business when I was eighteen, and fell into it largely by accident. I was meant to go to college to do a degree in Social Anthropology (!) but had deferred my place for a year to make some money. In that time I worked on a short film for no money and by the time the year was up, I was working on a film and being paid a very decent wage…hard to walk away from at that age! So I deferred another year, and then another and never got to college in the end.

I started off as a Trainee AD, which is called a runner in the UK and a PA in the states. Basically a gofer. Lots of making tea, running around, telling people to be quiet, stopping people from walking in front of camera! And then I progressed up through the ranks. My job now entails lots of different things. I liaise primarily between the actors, production, hair, makeup and wardrobe among other jobs. I make sure they all know what’s happening, organize all the nuts and bolts to make sure things happen on time. A logistical technician of sorts!

The work can be grueling and the hours are very long, but working with one crew for weeks on end is a remarkable thing and we all become very close and bonded. Even though, there are times when you could kill each other! And seeing people at six am in the morning in a dark, cold, dreary car park really isn’t the most glamorous thing in the world!

But even though I’m writing now and ideally want to give up film work, a part of me will always love that world. What other job would have you turn up as the dawn breaks in the sky to see a street you know well, transformed into 18th century London, or Paris? With carts and carriages and horses all getting ready?! It can be magical and it’s very rewarding to see the end product on screen, and your name come up, even though sometimes I have to pay people to sit through the credits!

Lee : What made you decide to pursue a writing career? Who or what has been your inspiration to achieve this dream?

Abby: I’ve always been interested in writing, but hadn’t ever really considered it. Then about seven years ago my mother passed away. It changed a lot of things and made me think about what I really wanted to do – she was really my main inspiration for wanting to write.

Initially I thought I wanted to write a script, but I knew that would be tough. The road from getting a script written, or even accepted, to being filmed, can take years in the process. Also, script writing is such a different discipline, and very hard.

Then I had a flat-mate who shared my love for Mills and Boon romances. She spoke of trying to write one and we used to laugh about it, saying we’d do it together. But we never did. Yet, it planted the seed in my mind. Could I really try to write a Mills and Boon?

This all coincided with Film/TV work dropping off here in Ireland. As a freelancer, it’s never easy not knowing where the next job is coming from. Our industry boom was on a downturn. Also, after more than a decade, I was getting tired of the long hours! The thought of being able to work from home was too seductive to resist.

And that’s what really got me started…

Lee : How long did it take you to write the book that finally triggered ‘The Call’ for you? Please share your ‘call’ story with us.

Abby: It took me about three to four months to write that book, the one that got accepted. But, the whole process from the first submission to the call took over a year. The first book that I submitted and got asked for revisions on, was ultimately rejected. So the book that made it was actually number two!

My ‘call’ came one Friday early evening. I’d half a mind not to answer the phone thinking it might be tele-sales people but then I did and a friendly voice identified herself as calling from Mills and Boon in London. Obviously on some level I was waiting for the phone to ring but hadn’t dared dream it could be them, as I’d only sent in a revised version of number two three days before that! But I managed to keep my cool and when I got off the phone I knew my life had changed. I think I shook for about an hour and proceeded to ring every living person I knew!

Lee : Let’s talk about your debut release, CHOSEN AS THE FRENCHMAN’S BRIDE. What’s the premise of the story?

Abby: Basically in a nutshell, it’s a holiday romance. A young English woman goes to the south of France, bumps into a devastatingly attractive man in the street, meets him again the next day and their affair blossoms. She’s innocent and shy, he’s experienced and cynical. When she is leaving to go home, he asks her to stay but she refuses, thinking he only wants her indefinitely.

But, when she gets home she discovers she’s pregnant…and then the fireworks start. Or at least, that’s what I hope happens for the reader!

Lee : What inspired the idea for this novel?

Abby: I was on a holiday in Greece, on one of the islands. One night while out with friends, one of whom is very beautiful, she was chatted up by a very handsome man called Stavros (I kid you not!). He and his friends were pilots from a local military base and that got me thinking about that moment when two people meet, the intensity of a very strong attraction. The fact that he was a pilot got me thinking about a Hero who was a pilot…and then it became a French hero, set in France…!

Lee : Does Jane, your heroine, have strong shades of your own personality? If she were real, would the two of you have been the best of friends?

Abby: I don’t really know to be honest. She just seemed to appear fully formed and has shades I think (hope!) of all the heroines I’ve loved. I think when we read the books, we all look for shades of ourselves, it’s how we empathise, how we feel for the character. So yes, there’s definitely shades there, but I couldn’t tell you which ones! And I don’t know if we would have been friends, I’d like to think so because she’s so nice…but then she’s also very good and sensible. Maybe a bit too sensible for me!

Lee : Could you elaborate on why you chose to make your hero a Frenchman? Do you speak fluent French?

Abby: It is a bit bizarre, seeing as how he was inspired by Stavros in Greece and yet he became French! The imagination is a funny thing, I think I just thought of him from the first moment as French. I love French heroes, and being a newbie writer, I think I went for what I loved most…I’ve always been a huge Francophile and I have a very good friend who has been spending a lot of time there working so I’ve been over and back a lot lately. My French is improving, but I wouldn’t call it fluent by any means. Lots of gesticulating usually goes a long way!

Lee : What are you working on at the moment?

Abby: I’m starting work on book four…which is with an Irish heroine, a top model with a murky past. She appears to have it all, beauty, wealth etc, and also appears to be super confident. But she’s not, and she’s nothing like your stereotypical model either, she’s from a very Irish self deprecating background so is firmly rooted onto terra firma! When she meets the hero, a French Count, who has the reputation of being one of the world’s most famous womanizers, she is determined not to succumb. Yet, it seems that of all men, he is the one who can get straight to the vulnerable heart she’s kept hidden from everyone else…so I hope I can do justice to the story in my head. And I couldn’t resist another French hero. It was inspired by a story in a magazine here about an Irish model who married into a French aristocratic family.

Lee : What do you love most about the Harlequin Presents line? What drew you to this line in particular?

Abby: What I love about the presents line is their capacity for high stakes drama, passion and intense love. I love being so gripped by a book that you literally can’t put it down. I love the way that even though you know that the Hero and Heroine will end up together, that there’s doubt plaguing you all the way, right to the end. So that for a second, you really don’t think they will be together. I love that this is all wrapped up within 50-55,000 words. A mini world away from this world where you can forget everything that’s current.

And while I do love the romance line, it’s presents that I will always go back to. It’s the emotional punch in the gut I get, every time!

Lee : How may fans contact you?

Abby: I have an e-mail address, abbygreen3@yahoo.co.uk…but fans?! I’m finding it hard to even believe in having readers at the moment!

Lee : Abby, thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to your next book!

Abby: Thanks for the interview Lee which makes me feel very glamorous. Especially when sitting here in tracksuit bottoms and an old t-shirt!