Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview - Jean Fullerton - Call Nurse Millie

When did you fall in love with books?
When I was about six years old. My dad took me to the library every week and I just fell in love with books.  

Tell us about yourself.
I have four previous historical novels all set in Victorian East London. I’m also a qualified District and Queen's nurse and have spent most of my working life in the East End of London.
I have three grown-up daughters and I live just outside my native City with my Hero-at-Home husband, an eight stone Bernese Mountain Dog, called Molly, and two cats.  

When did you realize you wanted to write?
Thirteen years ago after a management course when the suggested the participants sHould take up a hobby to relieve stress. 

Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy romance and crime although not always in the same book. I’m a bit of a medievalist at heart so I like well-written and factually-accurate stories with multiple characters, such as those Elizabeth Chadwick and Bernard Cornwell writes. I also enjoy contemporary women’s fiction from authors like Carol Matthews, Jill Mansell and Julie Cohen, too. And as for crime give me a Lee Child’s any day.

What are your favorite books?
Katherine by Anya Seton, You before Me by Jojo Moyes, all of Carole Matthews books, anything by Elizabeth Chadwick, the whole of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell and many, many more. 

Are you currently working on anything new?
I’m just editing the second part of Millie’s story before taking a holiday and then starting on the next book.

What makes you unique as an author?
My books are set in East London – Jack the Ripper country –an area where my family have lived for almost two hundred years and which is in my bones. This means that not only are my stories fast-paced stories with memorable characters and nail-biting cliff-hangers but they have the authentic voice of the era as well as location.  

Why should readers pick up your books?
Well, perhaps you shouldn’t if you’ve got lots to do because I can promise you that you won’t want to put them down.  I think they should carry a warning. Something like; reading this book can cause you be bound up with the heroine, fall in love with the hero not be able to put the book down until you’ve finished their story.

What should we expect when we open Call Nurse Millie?
   An absorbing and richly detailed novel following the life and work of a young nurse in post-
   war East London - perfect for anyone who loved CALL THE MIDWIFE
It's 1945 and, as the troops begin to return home, the inhabitants of London attempt to put their lives back together. For 25-year-old Millie, a qualified nurse and midwife, the jubilation at the end of the war is short-lived as she tends to the needs of the East End community around her. But while Millie witnesses tragedy and brutality in her job, she also finds strength and kindness. And when misfortune befalls her own family, it is the enduring spirit of the community that shows Millie that even the toughest of circumstances can be overcome.

Through Millie's eyes, we see the harsh realities and unexpected joys in the lives of the patients she treats, as well as the camaraderie that is forged with the fellow nurses that she lives with. Filled with unforgettable characters and moving personal stories, this vividly brings to life the colourful world of a post-war East London.


Chapter One
Millie Sullivan pushed an escaped curl of auburn hair from her eyes with the back of her hand. She wished she’d put on her cotton petticoat under her navy blue uniform instead of the rayon one.
    Although the milk float was only just rolling along the street, it was already sweltering hot.
    With a practised hand Millie wrapped the newborn infant in a warm towel. ‘There we go, young lady, say hello to your ma.’
    She handed the child to the woman propped up in the bed. Mo Driscoll, already mother to four lively boys, took the baby.
   ‘Thank you, Sister,’ she said, tucking her daughter into the crook of her arm and gazing down at the baby. ‘Isn’t she beautiful?’
   ‘She’s an angel,’ Mo’s mother, standing on the other side of the bed, replied. ‘And a welcome change.’ She looked at Millie. ‘I’ll clear up, Sister. You look done in.’
   ‘I am, but thankfully it’s my last night on call.’ Millie handed a parcel of newspaper containing soiled gauze to the older woman. ‘Could you pop these on the fire?’
   ‘To be sure.’ She took the packet and threw it in the zinc bucket alongside the dirty linen. ‘That superintendent works you nurses too hard. You should try and put your feet up when you get back.’
   Millie smiled.
   Chance would be a fine thing. She plopped her instruments into the small gallipot half-filled with Dettol, took off her gloves and glanced at her watch.
   Eight-thirty a.m.!
   Thank goodness.
   She’d be back by the time Miss Summers gave out the day’s work. Also, as Annie Fletcher, the trainee Queen’s Nurse student assigned to Millie, was laid up with tonsillitis, Millie had given a couple of Annie’s morning insulin injection visits to Gladys to do, and she wanted to make sure she’d done them.
   ‘Do you know what you’re going to call her?’ Millie asked Mo, washing her hands in the bowl balanced on the rickety bedside table.
   ‘Colleen, after me mum,’ she replied.
    Mother and daughter exchanged an affectionate look and Mille glanced at her watch again.
    She ought to get on, as she’d promised her own mum that she’d pop home in time for Churchill’s announcement at three p.m.
    Her parents, Doris and Arthur, only lived a short bus ride away in Bow but, as Millie had two newborns to check plus a handful of pregnant women to see before she swapped her midwifery bag for her district one for her afternoon visits, it would be a close-run thing.
    Millie packed the four small enamel dressing-bowls inside each other, then stowed them in her case between her scissors and the bottle of Dettol. She snapped the clasp shut.
    ‘I’ll call back tomorrow, but if there’s any problem just ring Munroe House to get the on-call nurse,’   Millie said, squeezing down the side of the bed towards the door.
    Like so many others in East London, the Driscolls’ home was just the two downstairs rooms in an old terraced house that Hitler’s bombs had somehow missed.
    Colleen took the manila envelope tucked into side of the dressing-table mirror and passed it to Millie.
     She opened it and taking out two crumpled ten-shilling notes, popped them into the side pocket of her bag. ‘I’ll write it in when I get back to the clinic.’

How can readers connect with you?
You can connect to me on my website at www.jeanfullerton.com to find out about me, my previous books, and my East London heritage along with pictures of the actual East London locations I use in my books.
You can also find me on Facebook as Jean Fullerton and follow me on Twitter as @EastLondonGirly  

No comments:

Post a Comment