Marcia Strykowski

April Author Spotlight

julie fulton roundI’m thrilled to introduce you to Julie Fulton from all the way across the pond. Born and raised in Buckinghamshire, she lives in the UK! Julie excels in music as well as writing and has shared some fun and fascinating answers to my questions about her delightful picture book series.

Please share a little about your books.

My ‘Ever So’ series of picture books takes place in the weird and wonderful (and totally fictitious!) town of Hamilton Shady. As one reviewer put it, ‘It’s a crazy town and there’s always something going on. Not the place for a peaceful holiday.’

There are four in the series so far, with a fifth set for release in January 2016, plus more currently working their way out of my imagination.

Mrs MacCready Was Ever So Greedy –

In the small town of Hamilton Shady there is a rather large problem. Mrs MacCready won’t stop eating and is soon towering above the town. There can only be one outcome…..

Tabitha Posy Was Ever So Nosy –

Tabitha Posy annoys all her neighbours by sticking her nose into their business. However, on a school trip to the zoo, she discovers there are just some times when it’s better not to be too curious with oversized cats!

Miss Dorothy-Jane Was Ever So Vain –

Dorothy-Jane thinks her good looks and stylish clothes make her popular. However, on her way to take part in Hamilton Shady’s Best Lady Competition, she has to choose whether or not to put aside her vanity and save the day.

Daniel O’Dowd Was Ever So Loud –

Daniel O’Dowd has a very loud voice and annoys everyone with it. One day, on a school trip to Professor McWhizzit’s house, he spies a comet heading towards Earth. Is this the end for everyone? The Professor has an idea how Daniel’s supersonic voice might save the day….

julie's books

How has your upbringing influenced your work?

My mother used to read all sorts of books to me when I was little, but those that have stayed with me most (and I remember enjoying most at the time) are the nonsense, rhyming poems and stories of the likes of Edward Lear, Hillaire Belloc, Spike Milligan and Dr Seuss to name a few. The rhythm of their writing and the fantastic tales they told have stuck with me.

My father would make up stories for me at bed time and I often drifted off to sleep continuing the adventures of ‘Little Mouse’ in my own mind.

If you factor in to the above that I am a musician by ‘proper’ trade, I suppose I was bound to end up writing my own crazy, rhythmic, rhyming stories at some point in my life!

Could you briefly tell us your writing process?

I usually have to grab small bursts of time to sit down and write intentionally. Most of my ideas occur at the most difficult times – in the checkout queue, in the middle of teaching, when I’ve woken up in the night. I’ve learnt to carry a notebook with me wherever I go. First drafts get hurriedly scribbled down, are later transferred to my computer for safe keeping, then edited and honed when I have the time. On the whole I’ve found I work better with my picture book ideas and poetry (I do sometimes write things other than picture books!) if I use pen and paper. Sitting at the computer from the start is something I save for my ‘older’ writing.

So, my process for picture books boils down to – have an idea, scribble it down, work on it in fits and starts, throw my rhyming dictionary out the window several times when it refuses to come up with the perfect word, edit, edit again, have a fit when my publisher’s editor says something else needs changing, work it out and breathe a sigh of relief when everything’s finished.

What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published?

I can only tell you what I have experienced and found useful….there may be lots of other things I haven’t come across yet. Please do let me know if so!

Definitely find and join a critique group of the genre/age range for which you wish to write. The insight and support of fellow writers is invaluable.

Definitely read everything you can lay your hands on that is current and of the genre/age range.

Join a general, tutor-led writing class to hone your basic skills. I love mine and find the knowledge I have gained has dripped into all my writing.

Join SCBWI – the best thing I have done since becoming a published writer, though you do not have to be published to be a member. Being able to share successes and disappointments with people who really understand is essential.

Write because you want to and because you love doing it. It’s a hard business with no promise of ever seeing your work in print. I still count myself as incredibly lucky and often feel the urge to pinch myself to check it’s all true. But, even if I wasn’t able to see my words in a real book on real bookshelves, I’d still write….because I can’t imagine not doing it.

Five Favourites:

Book – Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

Movie – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (sing along every time!)

Vacation – spending days on a certain North Cornish beach, surfing, building dens out of driftwood, baking potatoes on a fire, spending time with good friends.

Hobby – ballroom and Latin dance

Colour – this depends…on me, turquoise or cerise. On anything else (except cars and walls!) purple. Don’t know what I like on cars or walls, which often leads to difficulties when redecorating. Who’d have thought a simple question like that would lead to such a protracted answer.

If you weren’t a children’s book author, what career/s would you like to try?

I love my other job – teaching music and playing piano/singing in choirs – so can’t really think of much else I’d rather do. If you pushed me, probably a librarian!

Be sure to check out Julie’s cool website at www.juliefulton.com.

20 Comments

  1. Rebecca C

    As a fellow PB writer and rhymer, I’ve read all of Julie’s books and love them! I can’t wait to hear what she’s got coming out next year. This was a great interview–I particularly enjoyed reading about her process and I can so relate to throwing the rhyming dictionary out the window. 🙂 Thanks, ladies!

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    • Ha ha, that tossed dictionary is a great visual. Thanks for visiting, Rebecca!

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  2. Great interview, Marcia and Julia! Love the advice to new writers.

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  3. Bobbi Miller

    I love the Ever So series. The narrative is a great read aloud, the characters are absolutely FUNtastic. What a great interview!

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  4. Fun interview!!!

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  5. Ashley

    Another fun author interview! Her books look great!!

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  6. Bette Norton

    I enjoyed “meeting” Julie Fulton through another one of your Author Spotlight Posts!.. Her “Ever So” picture book series look very fun and imaginative!! I will have to check them out! I love Julie’s advice to other writers and how her musical talents influence her writing! Another great Author Spotlight Post!

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  7. christinabanach

    What a great interview! I love Julie Fulton’s books; they’re such fun.

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  8. My little guy would love the one about Daniel. He’s down about anything to do w/space or aliens. =) It’s nice to meet Julie!

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  9. Julie’s books look so fun, especially Miss Dorothy-Jane and Daniel O’Dowd. I mean, a ‘Best Lady’ contest? Also, I definitely understand how it is to work in fits and starts.

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  10. Hi Marcia,

    I really enjoyed your interview with Julie Fulton. I put in a request for interlibrary loan for all four of the “Ever So” series as the library here in Lawrence, KS, didn’t have them, but was told they could not find copies of the book in the United States. I was wondering if that was true.

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    • Hi Carolyn, thanks so much for your comment and interest. I’ve just checked WorldCat and you’re right, these books don’t seem to be in US libraries. Despite being of high quality, many of our libraries don’t stock paperbacks, fearing they won’t hold up as long. They can be found on Amazon, though, and through many other book-selling venues.

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