Today I'm delighted to welcome the wonderful Jean Fullerton to my blog. Jean, can you tell us how you came to be an East End historical writer?
Hi Fenella, and thanks for inviting me onto your blog. I think to be totally honest from the moment Roger Moore rode over the hill on that white horse in Ivanhoe if I was going to be anything it would be historical but why are my books are set in East London? Because the book that got me my agent and first contract, No Cure for Love, was set there and the rest as they say is history.
What eras do you write in?
I write 20th century at the moment but I have written in a variety of many different eras and locations from the 17th century Caribbean and 18th century during the War of Independence.
Would you prefer to write about another city?
I wouldn’t necessarily prefer to but I wouldn’t mind. I think Rome in any era would hold a 1000 stories as would Venice, Glasgow or New York.
Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years’ time?
Still with my lovely agent Laura and my supportive publishers Atlantic and hopefully with another 6-8 titles to my name. However, more importantly I’d love to have a greater number of readers enjoying my stories.
If you could be another writer who would it be and why?
Difficult one as I’m quite happy with my life as a writer but I wouldn’t mind being Bernard Cornwall as so many of his books have been adapted for TV and Film
Which is more important do you think - critical acclaim, readers or royalties?
I’m not interested in critical acclamation at all and the money is nice but the real reason I write is for the lovely emails and letters from readers who love my story. That’s what keeps me going when I find a scene’s not going right, or I’m tied up in my own plot.
Who is your favourite writer and why?
Difficult to say really as I love so many. If pushed, I’d have to say Bernard Cornwall and Elizabeth Chadwick for historical. I’ve enjoyed all of William Ryan’s Korolev detective series and I enjoy Julie Cohen and Carole Matthews contemporary books.
Is the cover or the title more important?
Cover every time. The wrong cover can bury your book and destroy your sales.
Finally: Tips for those just beginning their writing journey.
What is the most crucial thing for a new writer to understand?
They aren’t undiscovered geniuses. You may have a talent for storytelling but you have to learn the craft of writing it.
Should you write about what you know?
No or half the most brilliant books would never have been written, after all how would the Brontes have managed, but if you are writing about something outside your experience then please do your research.
Is it essential to have an agent?
Some might argue but I’d say ‘yes’ as they have access to and deal with the publishing world all the time. They are also totally on your side and although they do take their commission they don’t earn a penny until you do and I don’t begrudge a penny of what goes to my lovely agent Laura.
If you were just starting out would you do anything differently?
Not be as accepting of what editors told me and make my publicity department do more.
Thanks for taking the time to ask me some very interesting question, Fenella.
Thank you for taking the time to answer them. I'm sure anyone who drops by will be fascinated to be able to dip into the mind of a writer.
Ration Book Christmas. In the darkest days of the Blitz, Christmas is more important than ever.
With Christmas 1940 approaching, the Brogan family of London's East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe's nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.
For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?
Bio: Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She worked as a district nurse in East London for over twenty-five years and is now a full-time author.
She is a qualified District and Queen's nurse who has spent most of her working life in the East End of London, first as a Sister in charge of a team, and then as a District Nurse tutor.
She has won multiple awards and all her books are set in her native East London. Her latest book, A RATION BOOK CHRISTMAS, is the second in her East London WW2 Ration Book series featuring sisters Mattie, Jo and Cathy Brogan and their family.