A Tea break with Mrs B · Interview

A Tea Break with Mrs B: Fiona Greene

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It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Fiona Greene to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a short form author interview series. To help celebrate the release of One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology, we sat down for a chat. Thanks Fiona!

What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?

A white coffee if you have it. Otherwise, Russian Caravan tea, black one sugar.

Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?

I’ve been writing for a while (first novel attempted in high school, well before computers) and joined Romance Writers of Australia in 2007. Since then I’ve had many short stories and one novella published. 2020 has been good to me. I had a story accepted in the Paw Prints of Love Anthology, One from the Heart published, and I’m working on another collaboration, Tangled up in Blue, that will be self-published before the end of the year. I write sweet contemporary romance, and I’m also working on some science-fiction romance in my spare time.

Can you tell us what inspired the creation of your new story, Take a Bow, in the One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?

I was in the right place at the right time to be included into the anthology project which started with a single question, ‘What do you think the people who watched Glee are reading now?’ Once we’d done some groundwork (the town, the theatre, the overarching storyline) I started with my heroine, Lexi who I saw as a cool, in control lady who was alone in a town full of community. And her backstory filled in from there. I love a second chance romance and Mark dropped into Brachen to turn both Lexi’s professional and personal life upside down.

How was the experience of collaborating with the other authors in One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?

What a fabulous experience! When we talk about the Rivervue community, Nikki and Dan embody exactly the sort of community we tried to portray in One from the Heart – welcoming, cooperative, fun. Nikki and Dan both live in the same city, and I live 4000km away, so we fast became experts in using One Note (where we built our town, Brachen) and Skype (for those discussions we couldn’t have face to face). I’ll also be eternally grateful that they both had theatre experience, when I didn’t, and shared it generously. I’d love to work with them on another project.

What are the main themes present in Take a Bow?

On an individual character level, I wanted to explore how earlier life-changing experiences can result in rebirth of a character – a different direction, a new way of thinking. More broadly, I’ve tried to explore the concept of community as family. Not everyone has the cookie-cutter happy family, and where they don’t their community can step into that role. What lengths would individuals go to if that community family were threatened?

Did you have an affinity with a particular character in Take a Bow and why?

Lexi, the creative director of Rivervue Community Theatre, a retro fashion wearing puppeteer with the future of Brachen’s theatre in her hands. I love that she’s calm in a crisis and able to think outside the box.

What is one thing that you really hope readers will take away from the experience of reading One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?

2020 has been a bad year for many, so I hope the readers get joy from reading the anthology. I hope they enjoy discovering a new town, meeting new people who are passionate about Brachen and its theatre and enjoy seeing the production of Larrikin come together at Rivervue. Oh, and I hope they enjoy how the romances develop.

Have you developed any quirks or habits while writing your books?

I’m pretty low-key with my process. I schedule work hours outside of the day job, and try to stick to them. My biggest quirk is completely separating the day job from writing, and my habit of reading my entire manuscript aloud to my long-suffering rescue dogs to check the flow. I’m pretty sure I saw the old Labrador cross roll her eyes the last time I sat down with my pages and my highlighter. The younger dog lays and listens and falls asleep smiling (if dogs can smile).

How has your writing process been affected by COVID-19?

I’d love to say that COVID-19 hasn’t affected my writing process, but unfortunately it has. My day job is in a hospital and, while I’m not directly caring for patients, our planning has been almost military, with a front line and many sections to the rear guard. My section is hand sanitiser and pharmaceuticals. On any given day, I can be redeployed from my routine tasks to repack bulk hand sanitiser into staff-sized bottles or move medicines around to areas of greatest need after shipments are stuck interstate or overseas. It’s fast-paced and rapidly changing and many days, when I get home from work, I’m exhausted and the last thing I want to do is write. I take each day as it comes and I’m looking forward to annual leave later in the year for some protected writing time.

Having said that, I still count myself lucky – I haven’t lost anyone to the disease, my job/conditions/hours are unaffected and day to day life hasn’t been hugely impacted by the lockdowns. I’m missing seeing my writing friends at conference this year, but I’d rather see them all next year, than risk anyone’s health now. And I hope anyone reading this from lockdown knows I’m thinking of them.

What book or books do you recommend that I add to my reading pile?

I love Australian rural romance so anything by Rachael Johns, Charlotte Nash or Kerrie Paterson. And of course, Nikki Logan’s and Daniel De Lorne’s books.

Recently I purchased some e-books recommended for their diversity and I’m enjoying Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon, and about to dive into Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole, Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan and Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

And because I loved my (long ago) trip to Lord Howe Island, One Summer Between Friends by Trish Morey is the next cab off the rank.

 What are you working on writing wise at present?

I’ve got two projects on the go at the moment – the first is Tangled up in Blue, an anthology project with two other authors that came from a writing retreat with a difference – rather than our usual weekend away we challenged ourselves with a more structured retreat and Tangled up in Blue was born. It’s a small-town story, with estranged sisters returning to their grandmother’s home town. There’s romance, there’s drama and it’ll be published before the end of the year.

The second is a hospital based contemporary romance that hasn’t found a publication home yet. We have a term in our hospital for staff who work together closely, and get on well, and know each other’s work from years together on the job – hospital wife/husband. They’re the spouse you have at work, that your own spouse knows you spend 90% of your day with, but it is a platonic friendship. You’re mates and colleagues and have worked together so long you know how the other person will want to proceed. This story explores what happens when the heroine’s hospital husband is injured and she has to quickly form a new working relationship with a hot stranger.

Thank you for the lovely tea break and chat. Congratulations on the release of your new release, One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology.

Thank you, It’s been lovely to talk to you too.

He’s the Banksy of the international theatre scene – daring, anonymous, renowned. Soone from the heart small when playwright ‘Draven’ bequeaths his latest play to the rural Rivervue Theatre, the stage is set for drama.

Three stellar authors offer three stories packed full of romance, secrets and lies…

Tread the Boards Nikki Logan: Rivervue Theatre’s props maven Mackenzie Russell is drawn to enigmatic loner Dylan North. But both Kenzie and Dylan have secrets to keep. Secrets that if revealed could tear the town, the theatre – and Dylan and Kenzie – apart.

Set the Stage Daniel de Lorne: A phone call from an unrequited past love sends architect Gabriel Mora running back to his artsy home town of Brachen. There, he is forced to hide his involvement in the redevelopment of the town’s beloved theatre to protect his mother’s frail health. It’s just one more secret to keep hidden, along with his feelings for Bruce Clifton, the theatre’s kind stage manager.

Take a Bow Fiona Greene: Creative director Lexi Spencer is fighting to save the iconic Rivervue Community Theatre and Draven’s play is the weapon she needs. She’s already lost so much in her life, losing the theatre isn’t an option. But with past love Mark Conroy on the scene, old feelings resurface. The controversial play is set to test the loyalty of the town, as well as the strength of their relationship.

When the play’s dark truths come out, the ripples will affect everyone’s lives. Can the show still go on?

One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology by Nikki Logan, Daniel De Lorne and Fiona Greene was published on 5th August 2020 by Mira-AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

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