LOVE and WAR. These are the themes that run through all my books. Why? Because I believe they are the foundation of all fiction. The central character in a story must care deeply for something or somebody - whether it is another individual or an abstract idea like 'honour' or 'patriotism'. And there must be conflict, because without that there is no dramatic tension. I do not write 'historical romance', I write historical novels which contain a romantic element.
My first books were inspired by the stories I heard from my parents when I was a child. My father was a professional singer with a fine baritone voice and my mother was a dancer. They met when they were both performing in a seaside variety show just before the outbreak of World War ll. I knew that the outbreak of war brought an abrupt end to that life. My father served all through the war with the RAF and never went back to singing. I was fascinated by the idea that the war had changed so many lives and sent people off in directions they would never have imagined and this became the inspiration for my FOLLIES quartet.
The research for these books led me to the FANY - the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry - a women's organisation with a remarkable history. This provided the material for two more WWll books, WE'LL MEET AGAIN and NEVER SAY GOODBYE, in which two young women become secret agents working for the Special Operations Executive. I then turned to the earlier history of the FANY and encountered the amazing Mrs Mabel Stobart, proto-feminist and peace campaigner, who yet took a group of volunteers to nurse soldiers at the front line, initially in the First Balkan War of 1912 and then in Serbia during World War l. This provided the basis for my 'LEONORA' trilogy - DAUGHTERS OF WAR, PASSIONS OF WAR, AND HARVEST OF WAR.
My latest book appears very different. It is set in Bronze Age Greece and tells the story of Alkmaion, the great-grandson of King Nestor, who features in the Iliad. He is heir to the throne of Pylos, his great-grandfather's kingdom, but unsure if he will be able to live up to his heroic heritage. When his country is threatened by invasion he has ample opportunity to prove himself.
I was inspired to write this book by reading Mary Renault's 'The King Must Die' which retells the story of Theseus, making him into a believable human being rather than a mythological character. I have tried to do the same with my book. Alkaion and his friends (and enemies) are not myths, they are creatures of flesh and blood with all the fears and hopes that all humans have. So it is still a story of Love and War.
In writing this book I was greatly encouraged by winning the Kythira prize for a short story awarded by the Historical Novel Society. The prize was a writing course tutored by Louis de Berniere. I showed him THE LAST HERO and he was so impressed he pronounced it 'as good as Mary Renault' - high praise indeed. It has since been read by Sharon Stocker, one of the team from the University of Cincinnatti excavating the site of Nestor's palace in Pylos, Greece, which is the setting for the book. She loved the book and commented that all the historical and typographical content is absolutely correct.
If you would like to read the story that won the prize, go to www.hilarygreen.co.uk and click on FREE SHORT STORY.
My latest book is somewhat different. It is set in a hypothetical Britain in 2005, but as it happens it has turned out to highly topical. Britain has left the EU and has been subjected to a terrorist attack similar to that of 9/11. As a result, the country is now governed by an extreme right-wing party, kept in power by nationalist thugs. The Prince of Wales is assassinated and the Queen dies, leaving twenty-three year old Prince William to accede to the throne. He refuses to act as a figurehead for a regime he abhors, but what is the alternative? Into this situation comes a beautiful young American starlet, in Britain to make a film about Bonnie Prince Charlie. What follows is a series of exciting events which will change the history of the country. Romance, conspiracy, kidnapping, plot and counter plot create a fast moving thriller which will keep the reader on the edge of the seat to the last page.