Hello Anne: I'm so pleased that you agreed to be my first author interview. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Scotland for Masquerade Marriage and reading about your hero and heroine who come alive on the pages. It's safe to say, I am a fan forever.
Tell me a little about yourself.I delight in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. I writes both historical and suspense novels. My hero husband, Army Special Forces Colonel Larry Greene, and I have visited twenty-five countries. A visit to Scotland resulted in my book, Masquerade Marriage. A Texas Christmas Mystery is set in my home state of Texas. I make my home in McKinney, Texas. Two of my four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led me to the Lord when I was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is my Pastor. In 1990, I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas. My highest hope is that my stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus.
How long have you been writing and when did you first realize you were called to write inspirational fiction?
I didn't start writing until my children were in school. MASQUERADE MARRIAGE is my second published book, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY is my third. I've been writing about ten years. Reading was my escape in my growing up years, and I always wanted to be a writer. I graduated from the University of Texas summa cum laude with a degree in Literary Studies, but worked as a photographer and as a Real Estate Agent before diving in full-time to write. When I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, the journey to writing got easier. Because of the ACFW annual conference, I met editors and agents. I knew from the beginning I could only write inspirational fiction. Only with inspirational fiction can I have both a strong spiritual message and a meaningful personal issue for readers to think about.
How did Masquerade Marriage come together? Do the characters come first in your mind or the setting and historical event?
During a long visit to the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland I became intrigued with why Highland Clans no longer occupied the Highlands. You'll find the surprising answer in my book MASQUERADE MARRIAGE. I'm of Scottish ancestry as are so many Americans, and bagpipes music makes my heart sing. I fell in love with the awesome country and the friendly, complex people. So, being a writer, of course I had to write of what I knew. I love the clear fresh air, the handsome people, the amazing openness of the country, the castles, and the Scots violent, adventurous history. In the next few years, I plan to add Cailin and Fiona's love stories to Megan's legendary love. In this series, the setting and the historical event of the Battle of Culloden, which changed the Highlands forever, came first as a story idea.
I also write contemporary suspense novels like my book, A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY. I have a sassy detective novel and a cowboy suspense set in my home state of Texas in the works.
How is the sequel to Masquerade Marriage coming along, and what is the title?
I am about finished with the first draft. Brody and Megan, in love in Masquerade Marriage, are also in the second book of the series. The working title is MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT and tells the story of Cailin and Lord Avondale's legendary love. The third book in the series will tell Brody's sister, Fiona's love story, as well as update Megan and Cailin's life.
Texas Christmas Mystery is an ebook and a contemporary. How do you find promoting an ebook as compared to a paperback?
Interesting question. A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY has only been available for two months and I've done very little promoting. Ebook sales are on fire at the moment and the book is priced right. Also, many fans of Masquerade Marriage already enjoy and know my writing so they buy the ebook. For book signings, I have paperback books of the ebook for a slightly higher price that readers can purchase. I love ebooks myself. I love almost instantly seeing the book on my kindle after I buy it. I think the difference is more about promoting a second book as compared to promoting a first. The second book is easier because readers already love my writing.
I don't know yet if there will be a difference in the historical and the contemporary in regard to sales. Most authors stick to one genre, but I write historical and historical romance because as a girl, I didn't like history - until I read my first historical novel. Then I was hooked. I know many people today don't enjoy history, and my goal is to open up the glories of the past to them. History was modern life lived with all its heartache, joy, and excitement in a world very different from our own. I bring these different worlds into vivid, living color, and give a painless dose of history along the way. And I write romantic suspense because I like to see good triumph over evil with fast action, surprises, and discover who did it and why.
What was your writing goal behind the storyline of MASQUERADE MARRIAGE? Of A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY?
That God is in control. No matter how awful the circumstances in a person's life, God doesn't let anything happen to you outside of His perfect will. My books also have an underlying theme of redemption.
I love to write about redemption in every form. Second chances, forgiveness, grace, finding God's will, and finding and walking with the Savior. I love the grace of God, and His unexpected ways of showing His love. The spiritual theme of my books come directly from the characters and whatever problems they struggle with. My contemporary also relates to finding your God-given talents and niche in life.
Any advice for developing writers?
Definitely join a writing group like American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. They have classes, critique groups, and you get to meet other peculiar people similar to yourself. Writer's contests provide good feedback. The craft takes years to learn for most writers. Every element is important. But, I think the writer's imagination is the most important. Her voice, what makes her who she is, and what she is passionate about. Of course, even the most talented writer must learn about characterization, plot, vivid words, and all the other ABCs of writing style. And writers groups are great for that.
Would you share your biggest challenge in writing?
I may only have a single occurrence or a single setting when I start. Then the story just emerges, like watching a movie. I think I wrote so many stories in my head before I became a writer that I never have trouble deviating from the course. I have no patience with either plot outlines or character sketches. Plots and characters are the fun things that come from writing the book. Each chapter brings me a new discovery. I am a very definite seat of the pants writer. I have tried plotting out a book in advance, including storyboarding, and that doesn't work for me. Very soon into the first draft the characters take over and direct the book. The process is quite exciting.
But the hardest part of writing might be that first, all-important chapter. So many things must be included, and yet the pacing has to keep the reader's interest. Or, the biggest challenge might be writing the synopsis for a proposal before the book is finished. Still, I like the whole process. I like becoming the characters and living in the settings. I like the adventure of finding out whats going to happen. I love working with words. I like to rewrite and polish. I like it all.
But my least favorite aspect of writing is the publicity part. It's not enough for a writer to tell an awesome story, the writer must also sell that story to readers and get her name known. That means book signings and making public appearances. That's hard for most writers who would prefer to be sitting quietly at home rather than being the center of attention at some store or library.
What do you like to read for pleasure?
I love history - and mystery. These are the types of books I enjoy, both to learn something new and to exercise my puzzle-solving bent. All my books include suspense and mystery, even the historical romances like MASQUERADE MARRIAGE. My books always include adventure, romance and suspense with a large does of characters learning their most important lessons.
Has MASQUERADE MARRIAGE won any awards?
Yes, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE won the 2011 New England Readers Choice Award for Inspirational Writers, won the 2011 Laurel Wreath Award for Published Writers, the 2011 Ancient Cities Readers Choice Heart of Excellence Award, won third place in the 2011 Readers Choice Maggie Award for Published Writers, and 3rd place in the 2011 First Coast Romance Writers Published Beacon.
To see Anne's pictures of her travels and a few of her paintings, visit her Web site: www.annegreene.com You may purchase Anne's books at: www.PelicanBookGroup.com
Thank you, Anne, for being my guest author interview. This has been fun and so informative.
ANNE IS OFFERING AN EBOOK OF MASQUERADE MARRIAGE TO ONE COMMENTER, AND AN EBOOK OF A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY TO ANOTHER.