In the Victorian era, for many young women, going into domestic service was a significant source of employment where they found suitable work but with extended hours for a reasonable salary, receiving free accommodation as well as enjoying the perks and prestige of working for the aristocracy or other members of the upper or middle-classes. As a matter of course, employers had a moral obligation, but one without a legal requirement to ensure their servants were kept clean, healthy and well-nourished. However, for one poor girl, that, unfortunately, was not the case. In 1896, Jude Rogers, a wide-eyed but vulnerable sixteen-year-old from Woking, Surrey, secures a position as a domestic servant at a large terraced house in Half Moon Street, near London’s Piccadilly. Following a brief settling-in period, she quickly realises everything is not quite as it seems. As time moves ruthlessly forward, what happens next is almost beyond comprehension. Jude finds herself in the most impossible of situations and finally succumbs to the pure evil dealt out by her employer. This story is NOT for the faint-hearted!
When and where do you prefer to write?
Early in the morning, either, at home, or whilst on holiday, which is usually Gozo, Malta.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Yes definitely. The creative juices come to a shuddering half if I’m distracted or disturbed when writing.
If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
The late Leonard Cohen, obviously that won’t happen, but it is something I had dreamt about previously. A rewrite of his famous novel ‘Beautiful Losers’ but in layman’s terms!
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the good guy or the bad one?
I’d opt for being the bad guy. It would be an opportunity to see how the writer really perceives me through their subconscious.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I was once asked to interview the musician Paul Weller of The Jam for a local newspaper, but it never came to fruition, I would though, like to interview the actress Eleanor Tomlinson from Poldark for purely selfish reasons.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
On a train, or plane.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
In a pub, at a football match, or, on a long walk with my little dog, Stella.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Usually, at first, a sense of personal pride and then a nagging fear that, something might have escaped the proofreading stage.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
I usually have a working title then come up with the final title after completing the manuscript. As an example, my second novel. ‘Fly Back and Purify’, is a quote from one of the characters from the book, the paranormal journalist, Nathaniel Bream.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
I always base the cover idea on the main plotline. The cover of ‘Jude & Bliss’ I think, depicts this very well. A good cover designer will always ask the right questions to enable this to be achieved.
Thank you, Mal Foster and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Mal Foster was born in 1956 in Farnham, Surrey and grew up in nearby Camberley. He was educated at secondary modern level but left school at just fifteen years old to help support his single mother and younger brother. It was around this time that he began writing, and indeed, his first poems were published soon after.
In 2007 his most widely read poem The Wedding was published in the Australian Secondary Schools anthology Poetry Unlocked’ a book that formed part of its English Literature exam curriculum. The irony of its inclusion has always amused Mal considering he left school before gaining any formal qualifications himself.
A former local journalist, his first novel The Asylum Soul, a historical tale of incarceration was published in 2015. A second book, Fly Back and Purify, a paranormal drama appeared in 2017. Described as an explosive conspiracy thriller, An Invisible Nemesis was published at the beginning of May 2019.
In November 2020, his fourth novel, Jude & Bliss, was published and marked a return to historical fiction for Mal. “This book is close to my heart, it’s the one, I think, which will define the course of my future writing,” he told one observer.
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Jude-Bliss-Mal-Foster/9798550129265