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Anne O’Brien was born and lived for most of her life in Yorkshire. As a prolific reader she always enjoyed historical fiction, reading the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer, the medieval and Tudor histories of Jean Plaidy, and in more recent years, the novels of Dorothy Dunnett and Philippa Gregory. With these in mind — and with very little confidence! — she decided to try historical fiction for herself, and so was able to fulfill her lifetime ambition to write historical romances. Her first novel, The Runaway Heiress, was published by Mills & Boon.
At first, full-time teaching of history limited her to short stories, but she was encouraged when winning a number of local writing competitions. Her first-ever success was a 400-word contemporary love story about a garden for Harlequin Mills & Boon — an auspicious start. Leaving teaching — but not her love of history — has enabled her to write as much as she wants. She now finds it difficult to imagine a life without time spent in creating the characters and the story within a novel.
As well as writing, she enjoys gardening in a large, rambling garden where she and her husband grow vegetables and soft fruit, as well as the seasonal delights of herbaceous flower borders. With an interest in herbs and their uses, she has recently planted an herb garden on a Tudor pattern and enjoys cooking with the proceeds. Yoga is part of her relaxation, as well as singing with a local choral society and watercolor landscape painting. She particularly makes time to visit old houses, gardens and priories to absorb atmosphere for her novels.
Anne lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage, which itself must have seen much history, in the depths of the Welsh Marches. It is a wild, beautiful place on the borders between England and Wales, with black-and-white houses, ruined castles and magnificent churches. It is steeped in history, famous figures and bloody deeds, as well as ghosts and folklore, all of which give her much inspiration and many sources for her writing.
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