Q+A: Wimbledon author Helen Fuller discusses her debut novel 'The Internet Party'

Author Helen Fuller

Author Helen Fuller

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Wimbledon resident Josh Walker is passionate about bringing power back to ordinary people disillusioned with politics.

After a series of scandals involving MPs fiddling their expenses and allegations of sleaze, he feels politicians can no longer be trusted to act in the best interests of those they represent.

Wimbledon author Helen Fuller speaks to Louisa Clarence-Smith about her topical debut novel, The Internet Party.

Louisa Clarence-Smith: Tell us about the story.

Helen Fuller: Josh Walker is a university lecturer who lives in Wimbledon with his partner Kim and her teenage children, Dan and Izzy. He is disillusioned with politicians and passionately believes there's a need for a new type of democracy. Josh grew up believing that he'd make the world a better place but so far he feels he's failed. Suddenly everything changes when he meets Maggie, a dynamic and beautiful PR consultant who challenges him to join her in a quest that will change him and British politics forever. However, as Josh's political ambitions succeed, his family life is under threat.

LCS: This is your first novel. How did you get into writing?

HF: This is the first novel that I've actually finished and it's taken 10 years. I wrote my first novel at the age of five in a large blue exercise book. I've written a lot of poetry over the years and I wrote a film script once and a couple of non-fiction books but because of work and family commitments I didn't have the time to put into getting anything published before now.

LCS: Where does your fascination with politics come from?

HF: My interest in politics comes from the fact that I was born into a political family. My father and paternal grandfather were Bristol city councillors and my father stood for Parliament on one occasion. I loved being involved in political activities as a child and teenager, delivering leaflets with the local MP and riding in the election van.

LCS: Who or what were the inspiration for characters Josh and Maggie?

HF: Josh and Maggie aren't based on real people but some of their character traits are similar to mine. Josh is an idealist and sometimes has unrealistic expectations. Maggie is determined to succeed in what she wants to achieve.

LCS: Many people are disillusioned with politics in 21st century Britain. How do you see the political landscape evolving over the next decade?

HF: I am concerned that so many people are disillusioned with politicians and disengaged from politics. However, organisations like Hacked Off and 38 Degrees are bringing about real political change by using the power of the Internet and social media. I think the next decade will see a huge increase in people wanting to have more involvement in the decisions that affect their lives like the closure of a hospital or the building of a twenty-four storey 'tower' at the end of their back garden.

LCS: Are you local to Wimbledon?

HF: I have lived in Wimbledon since 1983 and it never occurred to me to set the novel anywhere else. Some things like road names are disguised and none of the people in the novel are based on anyone real but I enjoyed writing about Josh driving around the Village and going on the District line.

LCS: What's your working routine?

HF: I don't have a working routine in relation to writing or most other aspects of my life and I know I should. The Internet Party was mostly written on holiday. I want to write a sequel and get it published in time for the general election next year so I'm going to have to be more organised.

LCS: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

HF: My advice for aspiring authors is to find the time and suitable places to write and not be put off by anyone. My editor is a dear friend and when he said, 'if you write you are a writer' I felt it gave me permission to take my writing seriously in a way I'd never been able to before. Everyone has a story to tell and self-publishing is available for those who can't find an agent or publisher.

The Internet Party is available to buy now from amazon.co.uk

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