MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JEAN FULLERTON - AND REVIEW OF HER LATEST BOOK 'A RATION BOOK CHRISTMA
FROM THE BACK COVER
In the darkest days of the Blitz, Christmas is more important than ever.
With Christmas 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?
CLICK ON THE BOOK TO TAKE YOU TO PURCHASE -
WIN * WIN * WIN AT THE END OF THIS BLOG YOU WILL FIND DETAILS OF HOW YOU CAN WIN A COPY PERSONALLY SIGNED BY JEAN FULLERTON!
Jean was born into a large, East End family and grew up in the overcrowded streets clustered around the Tower of London. The Fullerton family have lived by London docks since the 1830s and all of Jean's books are set in and around this area. Jean says that East London has changed greatly and many of the old neighbourhoods she knew as a child have changed too, but she endeavours to bring them alive again in her East London stories of love, family and hard times. "I feel that it is my background that gives my stories their distinctive authenticity." Jean has been shortlisted for and won several awards and regularly undertakes writing workshops. She is also a guest cruise lecturer and has sailed all around the world talking about East London's vibrant history.
Jean is married to a minister in the Church of England and has three grown-up daughters.
A WONDERFUL READ BY A MASTER STORYTELLER
Author Jean Fullerton says that she endeavours to bring East London alive again - well, she certainly does that in 'A Ration Book Christmas.'
I loved this book and felt part of the lives of the vividly drawn characters - I laughed with them, felt fear for them, was anxious for them at times and happy for them at others.
What a mix the Brogan girls, Jo, Mattie and Cathy are - all strong young women, their lives and loves are played out during the Blitz, but it is the indomitable East End that has shaped them - not to mention their Mother Ida, the matriarch of the family, and Queenie their grandmother, who isn't to be dictated to by the likes of Hitler - or the law, if it comes to that - something she is often on the wrong side of.
In the pages of this book, you will find comedy to rival that of Del Boy and Rodney as Reggie Sweete wheels and deals and more than dabbles in the criminal world and does his best to co-hearse his younger brother, Tommy to do the same.
But Tommy has met and fallen in love with Jo Brogan, and having tasted life in Borstal, wants to better himself and be worthy of Jo's hand. Not that their courtship goes smoothly - it is difficult for any relationship to thrive in the horror of wartime, and even more so with a Reggie Sweete working against you.
Wartime in East London, as the Luftwaffe set the docks alive, is so vividly portrayed that the reader feels as though it is happening now, right above your head. You can hear the exploding bombs and the whine of the aircraft, feel the shudder of the ground and know the emotion of loss, as you are in the hands of an author who is master of her craft and richly deserves the awards and accolades she has received.
And yet, whilst feeling the horror of it all, because of the humour threaded through - that special and unique East End humour that Jean injects so well and so naturally, you will find yourself laughing, even during some the very hard times you are experiencing, because that is what the East Enders do, and Jean Fullerton has taken you into the heart of these gritty folk till you feel you are one of them.
A brilliant book, I can highly recommend to all.
FIVE STAR READ *****
MY INTERVIEW WITH JEAN
HELLO JEAN, IT IS SO NICE AND AN HONOUR TO BE PART OF YOUR BLOG TOUR. TO START THIS INTERVIEW WILL YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
HI, I’m Jean Fullerton and award-winning author of eleven novels all of which are set in East London where I was born and raised. I’m retired now but I was a qualified District and Queen's nurse and spent most of my working life in the East End of London, first as a Sister in charge of a team, and then as a District Nurse tutor before becoming a university lecturer in health studies.
I’m married to a Church of England vicar and we live in Bedford. I have three daughters and six granddaughters and one grandson and when I’m not writing I spend as much time as I can with them.
I started writing as a way of managing the stress of working in an overstretched NHS and after five years of submitting to agents and publishers I won the Harry Bowling prize in 2006. This got me my lovely agent Laura and my first contact with Orion Publishing. After writing two East London historical series with them I moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing. I’m now halfway through my WW2 East London series featuring the lively and resourceful Brogan family.
I also regularly undertake writing workshop for the Romantic Novelist Association and the Historical Novel Society conferences as well as being a guest speaker at WIs, U3As. I’m also a regularly speaker on cruise ships, which has taken me to some lovely locations such as St Petersburg and Rio De Janerio and met some lovely people. I know it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. 😊
My latest book, A RATION BOOK CHRISTMAS, is the second in my East London WW2 Ration Book series which feature sisters Mattie, Jo and Cathy Brogan and their family.
This is the second book in the series and features Jo Brogan. She is the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war have offered her new-found freedom. She 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 family 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?
That is all fascinating, especially your job on the cruise ships - so envy that!
So, let’s see what makes you tick, with these fun questions Jean:
Always a favourite question by readers, when guests appear on my FB book page: What is your favourite food, and your worst nightmare food?
I think my favourite food is crème brulee and my worst nightmare is peas. Not because I don’t like them but because I’m allergic to them and all other legumes. I even have to carry an Epilim pen with me just in case.
If you could invite one of the characters from your book to dinner, who would it be and what modern-day dish would you introduce them to?
It would probably be Patrick Nolan who is the hero of my Victoria East London series and whom I’ve been in love with for 15 years. I’d introduce him to avocados and Kiwi fruits two items of food which were unknown in Victoria times.
Mmm, must get to know Patrick, he sounds like a great guy.
Tell us three things about you that would surprise us.
I once went with a friend who wanted to be a bunny girl for an audition. I got offered the job and she didn’t. I didn’t take it.
I met my vicar husband when I was walking the streets of Soho. We were both police officers stationed in the West End of London.
I have never put money on a horse not even in an office sweepstake.
I know you are an historical saga writer, so tell us: Which era would you have liked to be born and why?
I often say I became a historical novelist because no one had invented a reliable Time machine and traveling back in time has been a long-held fantasy of mine. I’d love to see the medieval towns and villages of England or the elegance of Regency London or Bath not to mention what it was really like to be in London during the Blitz. However, it’s very easy to romanticise other ages and I suppose if you were part of the aristocracy and rich, life wouldn’t have been too bad but truthfully without, clean water, proper sanitation and antibiotics life could be pretty grim and often short for ordinary people like me. So as much as I dream of being a damsel in distress being rescued by a knight on the white horse I think I’d be better off sticking with my Hero@Home and universal healthcare.
THANK YOU SO MUCH JEAN, I LOVED YOUR ANSWERS, AND WOULD LOVE TO BE A PART OF FUTURE BLOG TOURS, I WISH YOU ALL THE SUCCESS IN THE WORLD WITH YOUR BRILLIANT BOOK.
AND NOW - WIN * WIN * WIN.
To win a signed copy of Jean’s book, leave a comment below telling the name of the character from Jean’s book who would be invited to dinner by her.
All entries will go into a draw to be drawn on Saturday morning 20th October 2018 AND WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE AND ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
Jean’s books can be seen here and ordered by clicking on any of them
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.