We chat to Jane Fallon
We chat to Jane Fallon

Jane Fallon's latest book has become her 11th successive novel to make it onto the Sunday Times' best-seller list, yet her route to literally stardom has been far from conventional.

While she always had dreams of being an author, Fallon forged a career in television as a writer and producer with BBC soap EastEnders before stepping away to pursue her lifelong dream to write a novel.

In her latest novel entitled Worst Idea Ever, lead character Georgia sets up a Twitter account under a fake name in an effort to boost the confidence of her friend Lydia, yet the consequences are devastating as it threatens to tear apart her marriage and a life-long friendship.

As she spoke to Female First, the partner of comedy giant Ricky Gervais admitted her road to the destination she always wanted to get was laced with obstacles. 

This latest book focuses on the perils of social media, with your lead character setting up a fake Twitter account that leads to catastrophic consequences. So should we be wary of social media?

You have to appreciate the good and bad it can do and this is especially relevant for young people. When you apply for a job, the first thing I would do as an employer is look at their social media to see what they are up to and people have to remember that when they post images or videos. Parents have got to tell their kids to reign it in or just before you apply for a new job, delete everything that might make you look bad on social media. 

Should Twitter do more to eradicate the abuse and hate that can flow on the platform?

I just mute anyone who is unpleasant to me and that solves the problem, but others don't deal with it in the same way. We don't want to end the fun on Twitter, but we want to try and take out the hate and being registered on social media sites solve that. You just have to send in a picture of your driving license to prove it's you and if that happened, most people wouldn't think twice about sending out an abusive tweet. Maybe if you can't persuade the platforms that exists already to do something about the abuse.

Your path to being an author has been intriguing, so tell us why you started your journey in television?

I always wanted to be an author, but I never believed I was good enough to do it, so I went into writing for TV as I thought it would satisfy that creative side that was trying to get out and I loved by time at EastEnders. I started off as the series script editor, so I oversaw the script and the plotting. Then I became a producer. When I was there, we had three episodes a week and we had a series editor overseeing the whole thing and then the producers oversaw individual shows. 

They shoot crazily quickly. We were shooting 26 minutes a day, which if you think of a normal Tv show it is around eight minutes and in a film it can be less than a minute a day. The perfectionism in film is too slow for me. Doing 20 or 30 takes for each seen is just too boring. 

Has your EastEnders past had an impact on how you write your novels?

It has. When you work on EastEnders, you get obsessed with a cliffhanger ending. So the book has a lot of short chapters that end with the reader wanting more. Everything is about that last 10 seconds and hopefully people will keep turning.

Do you miss working in TV?

The great thing about TV is a collaborative effort, but that is also a negative because you have so many people throwing their oar in. I don't miss it and even if I miss some of the people I worked with, being my own boss is the best place to be. You can work in your pyjamas if you want, you make all the big decisions and I've never been very good at being told what to do.

Your partner Ricky is used to the limelight and celebrity, but how have you dealt with it?

I've got used to it now. I was nervous at the beginning and worried that every time I spoke about my book, it would turn into an interview about Ricky. Now that I'm on book 10, I don't worry about that so much. Penguin are always very good and they never mention Ricky on any of the press releases and I wanted it that way. I desperately wanted to carve out my own niche and I think I have done that now. Also, when I get a question about Ricky now, I'm not so worried. If people ask about my partner in a way that anyone will ask about their partner. 

Does Ricky annoy you with his regular Twitter posts talking photos of you near a tree and putting a sarcastic caption saying you have found your new best friend?

I will be walking along and see him behind me thinking... I know what you are doing! I know you are behind me. Then a couple of hours later, the tweet goes up.

Have you got an idea for your next book?

I have already started on it. I'm 15,000 words in, but I might still get to the point where I have a crisis and junk it all. I've done that before when I got up to 40,000 words and realised it wasn't working, but then when I did a book a few years later, I returned to that idea and had the time to rethink it and that became book three. 

Worst Idea Ever is available now.

Words by Kevin Palmer for Female First. Follow Kevin on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer.

MORE FROM JANE FALLON: "What if you were talking to someone on Twitter that you know, yet you don't know it's them?"

Tagged in