1. Firstly, if you’d told me twenty years ago that in 2022 I would have twenty published novels to my name I would have laughed. The reason why I would have found it so hilarious back then is because I have dyslexia. I went to school before the condition was recognised or understood so have always struggled with English.

Jean Fulleron, A Child of the East End

Jean Fulleron, A Child of the East End

2. The second thing I’d like my readers to know is I write historical fiction because that’s what I’ve read almost exclusively since I was a teenager, when I read Katherine by Anya Seton. I’m happy to read any era as long as the characters grip me from the opening chapter.

3. The Fullerton family have lived by the London Dock since 1823 and often in the same streets that my parents, grandparents and uncles and aunts did a hundred and fifty years later. I am also an absolutely bone fide 100% cockney as I was born 1½ miles from St Mary-le-Bow church in the City of London.

4. Thirdly, my husband is fond of telling people that he met me walking the streets of Soho. Which is a great line and even funnier when I tell you he is a priest in the Church of England. The truth is when we met, we were serving police officers in the Metropolitan Police Force based in the West End of London.

5. I almost became a bunny girl. When I was nineteen my then best friend’s only ambition in life was to be just that and one day, she saw an advertisement in a newspaper inviting girls to audition at the Playboy Club. I could go with her but had to take part. We arrived and after an excruciating parade in our swimsuits we were taken aside. My friend was told thanks but no thanks, I was offered the job which I instantly declined.

6. Apart from being a police officer I’ve had a great number of jobs including being a Woolworth girl, a filing clerk, a library assistant, working in a pharmacy, a stable hand, a patten cutter in the fashion industry and Tupperware party planner. The career I finally settled on was that of a nurse. I qualified after having my three children then worked as a district nurse after which I moved into academia as a senior lecturer in a London University.

7. Lastly, I absolutely love writing. It’s what I intend to do now until my brain or fingers give up. However, writing the story is only one side of the coin. The other is having someone read what you’ve conjured up. Although the money’s nice, what really has me sitting and typing on my computer for hours each day is receiving emails from readers who tell me they love my books. Believe me, there is no greater professional thrill. Therefore, on behalf of all writers I’d like to thank readers of all persuasions for reading our books.

A Child of the East End by Jean Fullerton (Corvus, £8.99)