F. E. Greene - Contemporary Romance in London's Glitzy Financial District
F. E. Greene has been telling stories with words for more than twenty years. She is the author of multiple series including contemporary romance (Richer in Love), time-travel romance (Love Across Londons), and fantasy adventure (By Eyes Unseen). A novelist, songwriter, poet, and photographer, she has taught young journalists and coached creative writers in both scholastic and volunteer settings. Greene's novels blend feel-good romance, mild suspense, a touch of whimsy, and her steadfast affection for all things British. As our Author of the Day, Greene tells us all about her latest contemporary romance, All of Your Business.
Please give us a short introduction to what All of Your Business is about.
During an overnight flight to London, Ben and Didi make a sweet “Maybe-this-could-this-be-love?” connection. They leave Heathrow thinking they’ve got a date that evening – until they discover they’re rivals in the same business deal. Even though they try to keep things professional, neither can deny what they’re feeling or what it will cost one of them if they surrender to those feelings.
What inspired you to write a contemporary romance set in London's glitzy financial district?
I lived in central England for a while, and I’m a die-hard Anglophile. London is a magical place for me even after countless visits. It never gets old, and I’ve explored quite a bit of the city, well beyond the touristy spots. All of my books are set somewhere in Great Britain (past, present, or future) because it awakens my imagination like nowhere else. Since Ben and his family run a billion-dollar international company, All of Your Business presented a good excuse to highlight London’s financial district, what many refer to as “the City.” Ben also takes Didi to the London Eye and into the English countryside. As a writer, I love to travel vicariously with my readers and share my favorite bits of the U.K., such as London, Stratford-upon-Avon, and (coming soon) the Lake District.
Tell us more about Ben and Didi. What makes them such a great match?
Ben and Didi’s strongest point of connection is that they’re both deeply loyal to their families. They’re also driven to succeed at work, and they respect this about one another. Of course, they find each other attractive, and early in the story, Ben senses that he can trust Didi – something he can’t do easily with most people. He falls in love with who she is as much as how she looks.
This book is part of a series - how does it tie in with the other books in the series?
The books in this series can be read in any order, but the tie between all of them (two more are coming soon) is the Richmond family. Ben Richmond is brother to Kip Richmond who is the romantic hero in book one, She Hates Me Not. Books three and four will focus on Ben and Kip’s cousins who also happen to fall in love with women from the U.S.
In All of Your Business, there is a clear conflict between work and attraction. Why did you take this approach?
It seemed interesting to have Ben and Didi hit it off while they were on the plane and then have their plans inconveniently dashed when they realize they’re rivals in the same business deal. For Ben in particular, it complicates his life because he hides behind his work. Instead of playing the “opposites attract” card and writing a heroine who might pull him away from his business (which wouldn’t be authentic or sustainable for Ben), I wanted his perfect match to be someone who understands his commitment to work as an extension of family loyalty by sharing it with him.
Apart from work, there is also a bit of a culture clash between the two. Tell us more about it.
One of my great delights about living in England (and there were many) was the endless parade of “lost in translation” moments that occurred, even after I’d been there for months and even though I was speaking the same language, in theory, as my British friends. When I began planning All of Your Business, I decided to write a character who knew almost nothing about the nuances of “the Queen’s English” so I could relive some of those wonderful “Huh?” moments. I’ve got more on the way in book four.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
This is such a clever question! It makes me feel like some sort of superhero. While I don’t have a crime-fighting alter-ego, I have a strong background in photography and graphic design. I’ve written more than 50 songs, music and lyrics. I’m really good at assembling things. I can drive on the left. I’ve also charmed the cat next door who generally ignores everyone but his mama. (Homegrown catnip was a key part of my strategy.)
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
For fiction, I stick with ebooks. For nonfiction, I prefer paperbacks because I can highlight passages, make notes in the margins, and generally have a “conversation” with the book by interacting with it in those ways. My copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is saturated with colored inks and sticky notes. I also have a treasured collection of antiquarian books from the U.K.
What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in?
How much I miss it when I’m not writing.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
So far, it’s been a character named Pearl in my fantasy series By Eyes Unseen. I thought Pearl would be easy to write, but as the series evolved, I found myself growing frustrated with her. Even though she’s the cornerstone of the first book, Pearl is very different from me, and I suppose I became a bit impatient with her. She did impress me in the end, and she has her own special strengths. Although I love her dearly, I don’t miss her too much – not like the other characters in that series.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
Absolutely. Whatever our deepest fears are, we can face them, and we do not need to face them alone. Allies surround us. God supports us. The struggles of life can transform us mightily if we confront them rather than hide from them. Some of my characters have already done this when they enter my stories. Others spend an entire book being encouraged to challenge what keeps them trapped in their fears.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
An average writing day for me feels a bit like a running a marathon. Right now, I have to balance my writing career with a rather demanding “day job,” so I do a lot of thinking, researching, and planning during the week. I keep at least one notebook on hand at all times to make story notes and jot down dialogue. Then, on the weekends, I open those creative floodgates and write for six to eight hours straight. It’s bliss. Once I’ve retired, I suspect I’ll write most every day in shorter sessions. I can’t wait!
What are you working on now?
I’ve outlined the next two books in my Richer in Love series and am writing the first draft of book three. I also have a completed fantasy series which is crying out for attention. It’s written; it just needs a good trim and polish.
Where can our readers find more of your work or interact with you?
The best place is my website, www.fegreene.com. I send out monthly newsletters and occasional blog posts where I share lots of free e-book promos from a wide variety of indie authors. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter although I confess I’m not terribly active on social media. I’d rather be playing with the cat next door.