I am very excited today to be discussing romance writing with RNA stalwart, doyenne of the East End saga and all-round fabulous lady, Jean Fullerton.
Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.
Well, firstly thank you for asking me to be a guest on your blog, Julie. I write family sagas and all seventeen of them are set in the overcrowded and impoverished streets surrounding the London Docks in the East End, where I come from.
I’ve devoured historical romance ever since I was a teenager so when I started writing there was no question that I would write anything other than historical romance.
What inspires your stories?
All sorts of things but mainly the vibrant working-class area where I was born and raised and my large and boisterous East End family.
Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?
Although Katherine by Anya Seton is as old as I am, it and she are still my favourite book and author. I also like her books the Winthrop Woman, Avalon and Green Darkness. I like historical romance which is accurate, so I also read Elizabeth Chadwick and Nicola Cornick but as long as it’s a good story I’m happy to read it.
If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?
I’m afraid it would have to be Katherine by Anya Seton as it was the book that started me on this incredible journey. The prose is somewhat old-fashioned, but the story is cracking and so romantic.
Katherine comes to the court of Edward III at the age of fifteen. The naïve convent-educated orphan of a penniless knight is dazzled by the jousts and the entertainments of court.
Nevertheless, Katherine is beautiful, and she turns the head of the King’s favourite son, John of Gaunt. But he is married, and she is soon to be betrothed.
A few years later their paths cross again and this time their passion for each other cannot be denied or suppressed. Katherine becomes the prince’s mistress, and discovers an extraordinary world of power, pleasure and passion.
Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?
Well firstly as I am the heroine in all my books it’s only the hero we have to worry about. I’d take Patrick Nolan from my Nolan Family Victorian series, who looks remarkably like Aidan Turner. We’d go to a castle somewhere, but I couldn’t possibly tell you what we’d do as my husband might read this blog.
What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?
Oh, where do I start? Firstly, as an unpublished author it gave me access to the world of publishing, which I had no knowledge of. It helped me hone my craft via the wonderful New Writers’ Scheme. It’s given me a great deal of fun at the meetings and conferences but without a doubt the greatest thing it’s given me is wonderful writer friends.
What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?
Set yourself a daily or weekly target and get the words down. Don’t worry if they aren’t quite right you can always go back and fix that. Learn your craft. Writing an 80000 + word book is not easy so stick at it.
Tell us about your most recent novel.
My latest novel A Ration Book Daughter is the fifth in my WW2 Ration Book series but can be read as a standalone novel. You can buy a copy here, along with the previous books in the series.
In the darkest days of the Blitz, love is more important than ever.
Cathy Brogan was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.
When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?
Where can readers find out more about you and your East End books.
On my website which has them all listed, and if readers subscribe to my monthly newsletter not only do they receive a free short story but also have a chance to win advance copies of my books and other prizes.
About the Author
Born and bred in East London Jean was a District Nurse by trade, serving for five years as NHS manager with responsibility for six community clinics and 200+ staff and finished her twenty-five-year nursing career as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies in a London University.
She joined the NWS 2003 and became a full member in 2006 after winning the Harry Bowling Prize. She had published seventeen sagas over three series, all set in East London and has books with both Orion and Atlantic.
An experiences public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, Jean has been an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships for the past fifteen years.
A Ration Book Daughter out now in supermarkets, bookshops, Kindle and audio.
Connect with Jean:
Facebook: Jean Fullerton