Jane Tulloch’s debut novel, Our Best Attention, will be published by Comely Bank Publishing on 11 January. The book is set in Murrays, a fictional Edinburgh department store in the 1970s. It’s a large, gothic and rambling building, but the store’s real heart lies in its staff and its customers and the book tells the story of Miss Murray, her team (and some very surprising VIP customers) and their efforts to adapt the store to changing times.
Monkeys, murderers, mayhem and more are all included in this heart-warming tale which brings the era alive and populates the fictional landscape with a new set of delightful and intriguing characters.
Jane, who was born in Edinburgh in 1954 and who has lived there ever since, said: “In the 1970s, I worked during my student holidays in a store very like Murrays. I was always struck by its likeness to a theatre and I really enjoyed working with the customers and staff. It was a lot of fun.
“After many years working with adults with Asperger’s Syndrome in the NHS and writing lots of very serious reports, it was liberating to write fiction at last. My experience of working in a department store and working with and writing about with and writing about unusual and interesting people and their families melded together and Our Best Attention was the result.
“It was very liberating to write things that do not need to be true – I found that the characters and stories just grew like magic. I can only suppose they had been there all along."
Jane has worked for the NHS for 30 years and writes as a form of relaxation. She lives with her husband, a giant cat and welcomes the occasional interruption from her boisterous grandsons.
She added: “Having found a format I like, I plan to complete a trilogy based on Murrays of Edinburgh. It’s a great vehicle for creating more characters or taking existing ones further into the future – the 1980s and beyond.”
Jane chose to work with the community publishing co-operative, Comely Bank Publishing, which was set up by author Gordon Lawrie in 2012. Gordon set up the publishing co-operative to give Scottish writers additional options for self-publishing and for writers to share their experiences and expertise.
Gordon said: “I set up Comely Bank Publishing because I genuinely believe that too many authors are failing to have their works published. Agents and publishers and have become too cautious, grasping at poorer-quality work simply because it carries the name of an established author or a bankable name such as a celebrity.
“The future of literature can only be saved if bright new talent is nurtured as it used to be.
“Here at Comely Bank Publishing we want to share our experiences so that others who want to self-publish can benefit from what we have learned along the way.”