CAREER moves are not for the faint hearted.
Taking a leap of faith into the unknown abyss may serve some people an adrenaline rush, others the career they have been waiting for, but for most it is certainly a risk.
But for one gutsy Winchester mother-of-two, a career change is a risk worth taking after signing her debut novel to world-renowned publisher Penguin, under their Figtree division.
Claire Fuller, 47, of West End Terrace in Fulfood, has worked as a partner of local marketing company, WM Group, for 23 years and in December will pack away her life in the fast lane to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
“It feels like a big risk,” she said.
“The book will come out but I have no idea how well it will sell. It is amazing and I can’t quite believe it.
“It is still rare for this to happen to new authors. It’s amazing and it must mean that they think the book is sellable – they are a business at the end of the day.
“If the book doesn’t sell I probably have two or three years and then I might have to go out and get a job. We have decided it is worth taking the risk.”
Newlywed Claire, and her partner Tim, had quite a shock last July when it first became apparent a publisher had bought it.
“We found out two days after our wedding day,” said Claire.
“I was really lucky. My agent worked with me to send the manuscript out and I had three offers, so it went to auction. The publishers were bidding against each other for this book. It was also sent out across Europe. Penguin was the highest bidder.” Our Endless Numbered Days, which started life as a screen play for a University module, has been snapped up by book worms across the globe, and will launch in eight countries next year including America, Canada, France and Italy.
Claire said: “I started as part of my dissertation, as I have just finished my MA at Winchester University in Creative and Critical Writing. I started writing in June 2012, then realised that the University was only two semesters, so my course would finish in April and not start again until September, so I wanted to keep writing.
“I turned the screen play into a novel and then finished it last April and sent it out to agents.”
The story follows Peggy Hillcoat, who in 1976 at eight years old, is taken by her father to a remote forest in Germany, and isn’t seen again for nine years. Claire’s imagination hasn’t stopped there though, as she has recently attended inquests to find out how they work as part of her research for her second novel, which she will have plenty of time to write next year after leaving her current post.
“I am giving up work because I want to give this writing a go I suppose,” she said.
“The company has been great and I work with my ex husband so it’s quite traumatic for both of us for me to give up after so long. The situation is quite unique but it works, and it works for the children.”
Being mother to 17-year-old India, and Henry, 18, an author and business partner means Claire’s hands are pretty full, but she says Tim is always happy to help.
She said: “Tim is really helpful and does a lot of the work around the house so that I can write in the evenings and sometimes for half an hour or so before work.
“I still can’t believe this has happened.”