Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today, I’m welcoming Jean Fullerton to the clubhouse tearoom to share a cuppa and a chat with me.
It’s so lovely to meet you with you again, Jean. I think we met for the first time in Chelmsford library during the Essex Book Festival quite a few years ago. My opening question to you is when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I can tell you Paula exactly when it was in February 2002 when I attended an NHS stress management course. I was a community manager then with responsibility for 7 clinics and over 100 District Nurses, Health visitors, school nurses and support staff.
I’d been a lifelong-reader of romantic and mainstream historical fiction but sometimes, and I’m sure this has happened to all of us, I’ve read a book and said “I could do better than that”. One of the tips to a relieve workplace stress was to take a hobby or start a new activity so I decided to try my hand at writing a historical novel. I spent four years learning my craft and in 2006 I won the Harry Bowling Prize with No Cure for Love. From there I got my agent and first two-book contract. Since then I published a book a year all set in East London where I was born and raised.
What writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
That’s a bit of a difficult question because you have to be spot on with all the elements of story craft published and have your books sell. If I was to choose one it’s probably would be plotting. My stories are multi-threaded with multiple characters and points of view so I have to ensure by careful plotting that they all work seamlessly together.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
None. I have six unpublished stories on my computer the first three I ever wrote would need so much editing and re-writing I’d be better off the take the storyline and write then again. The other three, set in Georgian London, that were written just before I got published need a bit of work but I’m hopeful I might eventually get them published. However at the moment, as I’ve got three books to finish by this time next year I just haven’t got the time to do that at the moment.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter?
I write a brief synopsis of two books, which my agent uses as a basis for negotiating the contract after that I just write Chapter one and carry on chronologically until I write The End.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Usually not but they are an amalgamation of people I’ve met. However, in the current Ration Book Series much of the backstory of the characters are my family’s stories about their WW2 experience living in Wapping and Stepney during the Blitz.
What did you learn when writing your book? In writing it, how much research did you do?
Tons. For me every book I write is like a history project. So far during the course of writing the Ration Book Series, I’ve learnt about what different members of the ARP did, the rise of fascism in 1930s Britain, the birth of MI5,the work of the Royal Engineers in Bomb Disposal and the WVS plus wartime rationing and much, much more .
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
They might be surprised to know my husband is a rector in the Church of England.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Do you set yourself a daily word count? How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I aim to write five days a week and set myself a wordcount of 1500 words each day. It doesn’t always work out like that and when I’m heading towards a deadline, I can sometimespush myself to work six days a week and up my daily tally to 2k which means I usually finish my first draft in six to seven months. After some editing I have it ready to send to my publishers two months later.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I have several medieval romances which haven’t been published and if I did want to published them, which I might, I would have to write under a pseudonym as they are very different from my current Jean Fullerton books.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
My current writing project is in fact A Ration Book Victory. It is the last book in my current Ration Book series. It is just tying up the ends of all the previous stories plus resolving twoplot threads, one for the oldest member of the Brogan family and another with the youngest, that has been carried through the entire series plus bringing all the members serving in the army home safe to their wives and families.
A Ration Book Wedding:
In the darkest days of the Blitz, love is more important than ever.
It’s February 1942, and as the Americans finally join Britain and her allies, twenty-three-year-old Francesca Fabrino is doing her bit for the war effort in a factory in East London. But her thoughts are constantly occupied by recently married Charlie Brogan, who is fighting in North Africa with the Eighth Army.
When Francesca starts a new job for the BBC Overseas department, she meets handsome Count Leo D’Angelo and begins to put her hopeless love for Charlie aside. But then Charlie returns from the front, his marriage in ruins and his heart burning for Francesca at last. Could she, a good Catholic girl, countenance an affair with the man she has always longed for? Or should she choose Leo and a different, less dangerous path?
Available in paperback, across all electronic platforms and on audio.
Author Bio – Jean is a true cockney and was born and bred in East London. She is also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She is the author of fifteen novels all set in East London. Her first series was a mid-1800s family Saga featuring the Nolan family. The second jumped forward a hundred year to post-war, pre-NHS district nurses Britain with Mille Sullivan and Connie Byrne. Jean is currently writing the penultimate book in her Ration Book Series focusing on the boisterous Brogan family during the dark days of WW2. In addition, she leads writing workshop and is a regular guest speaker at WIs, U3As and on cruise ships.
Social Media Links –
Jean Fullerton – Fall in Love with the Past.
Ration Book Series: 1st A Ration Book Dream https https://amzn.to/2TQjpFd
2nd A Ration Book Christmas https://goo.gl/eZ4TD5
3rd A Ration Book Childhood https://amzn.to/2G7Xbt0
4th A Ration Book Wedding https://amzn.to/2RFkaRw