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Jane Fallon

Jane FallonJane Fallon was born in Harrow in North London, before becoming a successful author, she was a scriptwriter and later producer of Eastenders. After Eastenders she then went onto produce gritty television series “This Life” and “Teachers” In 2006, she wrote her first novel “Getting Rid of Matthew” which was selected by the “Richard and Judy Bookclub”. “The Ugly Sister” is her fourth book and tells the story of the complicated relationship of sisters Caroline and Abi.

  1. Jane, to those who aren’t familiar with you or your writing, can you
 tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    My fourth novel – “The Ugly Sister” – is about to be published. I worked in TV for about 15 years before I started writing books, first as a script editor and then a producer. I produced drama shows like “This Life” and “Teachers” but writing novels was always my real ambition. I had always written but never had the courage to show anyone anything until I suddenly decided it was now or never. My first, “Getting Rid of Matthew”, was published in 2007.
  2. Your latest book “The Ugly Sister” will hit the shelves in September, can 
you tell the readers of HandwrittenGirl, what the book is about?
    It’s about sisters. Abi and Caroline have been more or less estranged since Caroline was spotted when she was 16 and went on to become Cleo the supermodel. Abi has always missed her sister and when she receives an invitation to spend the summer wiCleo and her husband and 2 daughters she hopes reconciliation might be on the cards. But Cleo plainly has other things on her mind…
  3. What author do you admire?
    So many. All the obvious like Jane Austen and Dickens but also modern writers like James Frey who has really original ways of telling stories. The greatest influence on my writing was Fay Weldon. I discovered one of her books on my sister’s bookshelf when I was about 15 and it changed my whole way of looking at writing. Her style was so free flowing and conversational, unlike anything I’d read before. Oh and also my friend, Adele Parks, who has just finished her 12th book! 12! And they’re all great reads. 


  4. You have had quite a successful career varied from script writing for
 some of the grittiest televisions dramas to popular soaps and comedies and
 now you are an author. Is there any part of your career that you are 
particularly proud off?
    I did more script editing and producing than script writing but I think “This Life” was something I felt particularly proud of because it felt like we were making something new and exciting. We looked at every aspect of the process from casting to camera work and tried to do things differently to everyone else. Nothing can ever beat the moment of my first book coming out though and then discovering that it had gone into the Top 10. 


  5. What was the first story you ever wrote?
    Gosh, I can’t remember because I have always written all the time. I still have my old exercise books from primary school and a disproportionate amount of my stories seem to have been about animals. We also had to write a diary every day and I obviously had a big imagination because most of it seems to have been lies! 


  6. What part of the writing process, do you find the most difficult?
    Having the idea. I spend about 3 months of every year staring off into space trying to come up with a story that I like, that I think is original and that I think has enough scope for twists and turns. There’s a fine line between doing that and just staring off into space doing nothing and I often cross that line.
  7. Here on the HandwrittenGirl website, I would like to be able to offer
 potential writers like myself advice. Are there any areas you would suggest 
a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Write every day. And move on; don’t spend too much time going over and over the same paragraph. There’s time for detailed editing later but I found that I tended to use it as a stalling tactic and I never got anywhere. I still have to force myself to stop. 


  8. Many book lovers have a hard time excepting screen adaptations of classic and popular stories. What film has been your favourite book to screen to adaptation? If any?
    I think with film adaptations you have to be prepared for the story to be changed and reshaped (unless it’s a classic when it does feel like sacrilege!). People expect something different from movies. They can’t hold your attention in the same way a book does if they move too slowly. “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” is a great example of how changing the perspective of a story can turn a great book into an even better film. The book is written from the point of view of the Chief Bromden. We know from the off that he can speak, he just prefers to listen. Imagine the film not having that great moment when the Chief suddenly turns to MacMurphy and talks. Imagine the film if MacMurphy wasn’t the star. I think we, as both writers and viewers, can be too precious about a story. If changing a few things turns a book into a better film then do it.
  9. Did you read any writers guidebooks during your career? Are there any 
that you would recommend?
    I didn’t I’m afraid. I think the most important thing is for you to find your own style. It took me years to feel I was writing naturally.
  10. If you were ever stranded, of the books you have read or created, which
 would be a must have desert island read?
    For some reason the book I always come back to is “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. There’s something about the atmosphere he creates that is so compelling. And “I Capture The Castle” by Dodie Smith for comfort. 


  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Whether I want her or not the cat is usually there getting in the way.
  12. And finally Jane, do you have any new projects or releases on the
 horizon, which you would like to share with the readers of the blog?
    Well, as you mentioned “The Ugly Sister” is coming out soon – September 29th – and I’m just (finally!) starting on my next book. Other than that I’m keeping my fingers crossed for one of the various film versions of the others that are in the offing to actually happen.

Read more about Jane Fallon online and on Facebook Jane Fallon

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