I thought I would pop by and introduce myself. I’m Jean Fullerton and I write stories set in Victorian East London- Jack the Ripper Country. I was born and raised alongside London docks and the whole area from Aldgate Pump in the West to Bow Bridge in the East is very close to my heart. When I found my storytelling voice it was only natural that I set my tales in the vibrate but poverty stricken streets in that part of London.
Unlike my friends on this blog I am a relative latecomer to writing. In fact, I didn’t know I could write until eight years ago when I was sent on an NHS stress management course- yes, fact can be stranger than fiction.
I now teach Nursing Studies but at that time I was a manager in the NHS. One of the recommendations to alleviate work place stress was to take up a hobby or do something you’ve always said you would do. I’d consumed Historical fiction of all kinds, Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy, Mary Stewart Catherine Cookson and many, many more Since my early teens and I’d thought over the years that one day I’d write a historical novel. Not knowing any better, I scribbled a plot on a sheet of A4, opened the computer and started typing. To my utter amazement a story tumbled out and after three months I had a 90,000 word manuscript and another story screaming to be told in my head so I started again.
Honestly, it took me by surprises when stories started pouring our. I’d done OK at school in most subjects but English was always a bit tortuous. I’m dyslexic and when I went to school, at about the time when the Beatles were tripping off to India, the condition wasn’t recognised. I was consistently bottom of the class for spelling, but thinking back, I always got top marks for composition so my inner storyteller must have been flexing its muscles even then. Anyhow, after I left school I did various jobs, got married, had three daughters and qualified as a nurse, never dreaming that I by 2009 I would be an award winning author signed to a major publishing house.
Of course, in between I spent hours writing, attending workshops, reading books on writing and received dozens of rejections from agents and editors before becoming published. My big break was in 2006. After writing over a 1,000,000 words my eleventh book, No Cure for Love, won the Harry Bowling Prize. I signed with my lovely agent, Laura Longrigg, and was offered a two book contract by Orion Publishing.
No Cure for Love was published December 2008 and the sequel, A Glimpse at Happiness, is to be published in November 2009. I am currently working on the third of the four part Wapping Series.
I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I’m not actually dreaming but what makes me spend hours bent over the keyboard typing and laying awake at night running plot scenarios over in my mind is to tell my characters stories and have readers love them as much as I do.
We’ll have a chat more next time about East London but if you want to have a look at some of the locations I used in No Cure for Love then click onto my website at www.jeanfullerton.com . There’s even a picture of me on my tricycle outside the house where I lived as a child. In No Cure for Love my heroine, Ellen O’Casey lives in that same house.
See you next time.