Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Meet the TikTok famous Bromley author who used to deliver the News Shopper

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Bromley-based author Fiona Lucas, 55, has written 28 books with a mix of contemporary women’s fiction stories.

Fiona published her first book Blind Dates Marriage in 2006 for Mills & Boon, with her latest book Never Forget You most recently published in September 2022.

Before becoming an author, Fiona worked several jobs including dance teaching, video editing and office work, with her first job delivering a paper round.

The author recalled that her first ever job was when she delivered News Shopper papers with her friend as a teenager.

The 55-year-old said: “I was about 15 and my friend who did the paper round convinced me to do it with her and she split the money with me.

“We got a block of flats in Whitmore Road, and I remember there was so many papers and walking all those stairs was exhausting.

“I didn’t last very long; I think I did it for about a month or so.”

The author was born and grew up in south east London, first living in Lewisham and then Bromley in later life.

In the early years of her writing career, Fiona admitted to not including her hometown in any of the books she wrote, however that took a turn in more recent years.

Fiona explained that a lot of her more recent books have taken inspiration from the south east London area she grew up in.

Fiona said: “I never used to use locations near where I live in my books, but then a few years ago I thought ‘well why not?’

“One of my books called The Other Us was set in Sevenoaks, and in another book called The Memory Collector my main character lived in Shortlands.

“In the book there’s a scene where my main character has a panic attack in the Mothercare in Bromley which is no longer there.

“But then more recently in The Last Goodbye, my main character lives in Sundridge Park.

“Then finally in my book Never Forget You, the family of my main character lived in Penge.

“So, I’ve been dotting my recent books all around the Bromley area lately and I think it helps to imagine the areas you’re writing about more vividly.”

In recent years Fiona joined the ranks of authors creating content on TikTok and has increased to 30,000 followers since first beginning in 2020.

Fiona explained: “I first opened a TikTok back in April 2020, and a lot of publishers talk about the importance of ‘BookTok’ these days.

“But it wasn’t until June 2020 that I posted my first ever TikTok after endless scrolling and a lot of persuasion from my daughters.

“There weren’t many other authors on the app at the time and I couldn’t find many British writers on there.

“So, I just kept plugging away at it and honestly I never expected to get to where I am now.”

Fiona uses her TikTok to share writing tips, answer questions on publishing and becoming an author and to document her journey as she writes further books.

She celebrated a huge success when one of her videos went viral, gaining 250k views, when the author went to find her latest book on the shelves at her local Tesco in Orpington.

Fiona said: “I made the video in March 2001 when my book The Last Goodbye came out.

“At the time we were still in lockdown and all the bookshops were closed.

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“But my book was available in Tesco, so publication day came and I found out that my book was going to be on the shelves of Tesco.

“So, I dragged my husband to the big Tesco Orpington and I filmed myself driving there and going in to find the book.

@fionalucasauthor This was so special! #thelastgoodbye #authortok #bookloversoftiktok #ukbooktok #booktokuk #tescos #mumsover30club #ukmumsoftiktok ♬ Home – Edith Whiskers

“Then I woke up the morning after and it had 250,000 views, which was the most any of my videos has ever had.

“It also meant that I had a huge spike in sales in the first week or two that the book was released as well.

“Lots of people commented and made videos going to buy my book at Tesco which was just so lovely.”

Living in Bromley, Fiona said that it can often feel very strange to see her titles displayed at her local Waterstones in Bromley.

However, she also admitted to never signing any copies that she has seen on the shelves on account of feeling “too shy” to do so.

Fiona explained: “Even though I make TikToks in real life I’m very shy, too shy to do something like open a book and sign it.

“If I’m with my husband he’ll always reorganise the shelves so that any of my books are at the front and I always sneakily put them back when he’s not looking.”

@fionalucasauthor @waterstonesbromley We put it back, we promise! @waterstones #waterstones #thelastgoodbye #fionalucasauthor #emotionalreads #ukbooktoker ♬ Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Fiona’s latest book “Never Forget You” is out now.

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