Today's HNS Conference Guest - Jean Fullerton
Firstly a BIG thank to my chum Helen Hollick for inviting me to be a guest on her blog. Just so you know, I’m Jean Fullerton and like Helen I write historical fiction because when I was fourteen I read Katharine, by Anya Seton and fell head over heels in love with historical fiction.
I was born within the sound of Bow Bells and I still live in the East End of London, just by the Olympic Site. I have traced my family back to the 1820s in Wapping, Shadwell and Whitechapel, which is the area where all my books are set. I lived there until I was five when my family were moved out as part of the post-war slum clearances to Stepney, a mile away.
I’m a qualified District Nurse, university lecturer and I started writing in 2002, just ten years ago. After writing 10 books, submitting to umpteen agents and editors I finally wrote No Cure for Love which won the Harry Bowling Prize in 2006. That got me my first two-book deal with Orion and when A Glimpse at Happiness was shortlisted for the 2010 Romantic Novel of the Year, I got my second. My third book, Perhaps Tomorrow, won the Festival of Romance’s Best Historical Read in 2011 and my forth Hold on to Hope was released in February. Winning the Harry Bowling was my big-break but the hard work goes on. In fact, it never stops.
Although I love all eras of history I’m fascinated by the 18th and 19th century and my native city. I’m totally obsessed with historical accuracy and I enjoy researching my stories almost as much writing them. I can assure you that if one of my characters walks down a street to somewhere that street actual existed.
For my fifth novel, Call Nurse Millie, I’ve moved forward a hundred years. For this story I drew inspiration not only from my East End roots but also from my professional background as a District Nurse. In Call Nurse Millie, I tell the stories of the district nurses of the St George’s and St Dunstan’s Nursing Association working before the NHS in the bombed out and deprived area of Post-War East London. I’m currently working on the sequel to Millie’s story, Come Quick, Nurse Millie.
I love meeting readers and have been a guest speaker at over a hundred and fifty Women’s Institute, Townswomen’s’ Guild and reader groups and I regular contribute to library events, book festivals and author panels throughout North and South East London and Essex. I’ve taught Creative Writing workshops at London South Bank University and at numerous writing conferences.
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I thought I’d have a bit of a girls’ night in for my dinner party
1 Hatshepsut the lost pharaoh who was erased from the record until recently and who dragged the 18th dynasty into the 13th century BC.
2 Mary Magdeleine- so I can find out what really happened to the Jesus’s women disciples after the boys took over.
3 The Emperor Augustine’s wife Livia see if anything in Robert Graves’s I , Claudius, is remotely close to the truth.
4 Empress Theodora to find out how the daughter of a bear trainer and notorious prostitute climbed to the dizzy heights of joint ruler of the Byzantium empire and sainthood.
5 Eleanor of Aquitaine to hear the sort of wisdom only the wife and mother of two kings could have acquired over eighty years.
6 Nell Gwynne – for a first-hand account of Restoration London.
7 Florence Nightingale so I can update her on what’s happened in nursing since she shuffled off.
8 Marie Lloyd as I according to my Nan she was a distant relative and I’d like to find out if it’s true.
9 My best friend Dee, so I can finally prove to her that history IS NOT boring.