Hi, I’m Abby Gaines

If you’d like to know more about the author who wrote the book you just closed with a happy sigh / threw at the wall / laughed and cried over / used for kindling / all of the above, this is the page for you!

Highlights of my writing career

1. Hand-wrote my first novel at age 17. Typed it and sent it to a publisher, who used it to line the office cat’s litter tray. My kid sister loved it, though.

2. Had another stab at fiction years later, when business journalism lost its, er, excitement. Nearly six years later still, I sold my first novel to Harlequin (Question: Am I a slow learner? Answer: I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me). My family and friends were once again able to look me in the eye without pity or embarrassment. Or at least, not on account of my writing.

3. Sold another 20 books to Harlequin. Dismayed to find it gets harder, not easier, to write the best book I can. Clearly, writing books is not like riding a bike, driving a car or cleaning the bathroom. Thank goodness.

Five things that annoy me in fiction

1. “Little did she know…” This phrase makes me want to twirl my evil mustache. Since one of my life goals is never to have a mustache, no matter how hairy my grandmother was, this isn’t a good thing.

2. Characters who say the profound, perfect, just-right thing in those moments when everyone else flounders (e.g. in the face of death, serious illness, desperation, etc.). Luckily, I don’t know anyone like that in real life, with the excusable exception of my church pastor.

3. Books that feature too much death, serious illness, desperation, etc. And really evil, sick people. I like to sleep at night.

4. The general excess of characters raised in the foster care system and / or with alcoholic / abusive fathers and / or mothers who abandoned them. I believe most of us can screw up our lives and be entertainingly dysfunctional with perfectly “normal” backgrounds.

5. Scenes where people do housework. Hello? Have you never heard of escapism?

Two charities that in all seriousness I think are fantastic and very deserving of support

Freeset – a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. Plus, they sell cool stuff.

Mercy Ships – takes hospital ships to developing nations, treating burns, tumors, obstetric fistula and many other conditions.