Author Interview: Claire Fullerton, Little Tea

by maryhelensheriff | Sep 27, 2021 | Interviews

Claire Fullerton is the multiple award winning author of 4 traditionally published novels and one novella. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Celtic Life International, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.  Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/

Me: Tell us about Little Tea.

ClaireLittle Tea concerns Southern culture, female friendships, family tragedy, and healing the past. Little Tea is actually the nickname of a character because Southerners are fond of nicknames! The story is a celebration of those deep friendships that last a lifetime–their shared history, loyalty, unconditional acceptance, and the importance of a sense of humor. 

Me: Which scene was the most difficult to write and why?

Claire: There’s a particular scene in Little Tea that is pivotal in the story. I’d never had such an experience, so I used my imagination and employed all senses. The scene came together for me when I incorporated how the atmosphere sounded. 

Me: How does the Southern setting influence your story?

Claire:  Southern culture is part and parcel to Little Tea. I’ll go as far to say had the story been set anywhere else, the events couldn’t have happened as they did. 

Me: Describe your journey to becoming an author.

Claire: It began for me with keeping a daily journal from a very young age. I kept a journal when I lived on the west coast of Ireland. When I returned to America, I wrote the book that became Dancing to an Irish Reel from what was in my journal. It’s been a steady build from there that includes 4 novels, one novella, and a recently completed manuscript. 

Me:  Who has been your greatest influence in becoming a writer?

Claire: All the fearless writers who dare to write in the first person!  Beyond that, I admire Donna Tartt, Pat Conroy, Ron Rash, Anne Rivers Siddons, Billy O’Callaghan, and many of the Irish authors. 

To buy click here.

For more about Little Tea and a few other sensational southern books, read this blog post

Storytellers Podcast with Grace Sammon

 I had an extraordinary time talking about writing, Southern Culture, Inspiration, and the writing life on the Storytellers Podcast with Grace Sammon, and I’m sharing the link for you here!
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The Storytellers Radio Show and Podcast, hosted by Grace Sammon, focuses on individuals who choose to leave their mark on the world through the art of story. Each episode engages guests and listeners in the story behind the story of authors, artists, reporters and others who leave a legacy of storytelling. Applying her years of experience as an educator, entrepreneur, author, and storyteller herself, Grace brings to listeners an intimate one-on-one experience with her guests.
The Storytellers is heard in over 150 countries. Each episode airs twice weekly on The Radio Ear Network subsidiaries of SOB Radio Network and Society Bytes Radio. Shows then become available at the links below and on SOB Radio at and Society Bytes Radio
To contact Grace about being a guest on the show, email her here.

Episode 8 – Novels With a Southern Flair and a Powerful Message – Claire Fullerton – 2021-09-20

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Claire Fullerton has always known she’s a storyteller. She was born in Wayzata, Minnesota (the homeland of her father) and transplanted at the age of ten to Memphis, Tennessee (the homeland of her mother). She learned early that the art of observation can be an acclimating lifesaver. Her mother told her that as a child, she would sit and watch people. Claire was thirty years old the first time her mother said this, then her mother added: “You still do.” It is what is known as “the writer’s eye,” the ability to see the world from the outside in. If that is true, Claire admits, she is happily guilty.

Claire currently lives in Malibu, California, but will always consider herself a Southerner: a card-carrying member of the last romantic culture on earth. She found her niche in music radio as a member of the on-air staff of five different stations, during a nine-year career. Three weeks after her return to the United States from a year-long trip to Ireland, she reviewed the journal she kept while living abroad and knew then that she had a good story to tell. Today, she is the author of eight traditionally published books and multiple essays. Claire is a much sought-after speaker and radio guest with a strong voice for women’s fiction and the voice of the American South. Listen

Moderator Grace Sammon is the author of The Eves

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Read about Grace on Goodreads!
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/581240.Grace_Sammon

Little Tea!

I woke up this morning to the surprise of this on Goodreads.

This, I think, is proof of the scales balancing in that Little Tea was released at the beginning of the pandemic, which meant the book tour primarily in the Deep South that I had scheduled was canceled. I had ten events scheduled, back-to-back, in three Southern states including radio, bookstores, and television. The cancelation left me, as well as legions of authors, not only disappointed, but baffled about how to get the word out about our books. I owe endless gratitude to WordPress Bloggers, book clubs, podcasts, libraries, Facebook book pages and book groups. ZOOM and StreamYard have been phenomenal venues.

Below is Landis Wade of the Charlotte Reader’s Podcast.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

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Little Tea: Book of the Year by the Independent Authors Network: 2nd Place
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Reader’s Favorite: Gold Medal in Southern Fiction
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Summer Reading List: Deep South Magazine
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Top Shelf Magazine Award Winner
Contemporary & Literary  Novel Writing Contest | Chanticleer Book Reviews
First Place in the Somerset Awards
Zoom Meeting with The Pulpwood Queens Book Club of Jackson, Mississippi . Little Tea was the August, 2020 Selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club!
And, if you want to hear my Southern accent, here is the video of the Beaufort, South Carolina Chapter of the Pulpwood Queens, who had me as a guest after they read Little Tea! The Pulpwood Queens Host Novelist Claire Fullerton, author of Little Tea – YouTube

Meggie Daly

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2021 Verified Purchase
Gosh, there were so many wonderful things about this book! I loved the protagonist’s voice, the sassy banter among the girlfriends, tackling hard family, marriage, and race issues. A subtle wisdom fanned out from the pages. Fullerton is an expert in backstory integration! Needless to say I went into mourning for a day or so after I finished the book–as I always do when I have to say goodbye to characters that I have loved!

Little Tea is available at online book outlets and book stores!

Little Tea (bookshop.org)

https://amzn.to/3hemNqD