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Spectacles and Story Telling

Alumni Stories.

jose-kellenbergerJosé is living proof that what you study at university doesn’t have to define your whole career path. After she retired, José wrote her first book! Read on to find out how José discovered her creative flair.

Can you tell me about your time at City?
I graduated in the 1970s in Optometry. I then went on to do my post grad in neuroanatomy in the optometry department and stayed on a further 18 months doing part time post-doctoral research. I was also working full time. I realised I wouldn’t get anywhere with my research unless I did it full time and so reluctantly gave it up.

What happened after you graduated?
I worked as an optometrist for 25 years. This was full time in a house practice in Berkshire. After that, I became a locum and worked in various practices part time. It wasn’t until I retired that I had time for leisure activities. I got myself a digital camera and started to do more creative things. I made a jigsaw from a photograph for a friend and produced a film for a club’s centenary including conducting interviews and really enjoyed it. My creative side really came out.

How did the idea for ‘Unsafe Deposit’ come about?
The idea just came along. I thought “why don’t I have a go, if others can do it, why can’t I?’ I rejected my first few random ideas before settling on a storyline.

A lot of the plot is based in London. Both my parents worked in a bank in the city. And my Uncle Ronald won a scholarship to the City of London school, so I have connections there. He died before I was born but I decided to dedicate Unsafe Deposit to him.

What has been the biggest challenge in writing Unsafe Deposit?
Getting my ideas into a chronological order. I had to write a timeline. The writing was relatively easy but the timeline took around 3 months. I had to make sure the characters had children or died at the right time. It was by far the hardest part – but very satisfying when I achieved what I had set out to do.

What has been the most rewarding experience?
Seeing my book on sale in Waterstone’s and the first person that said they enjoyed reading it.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Write a little bit every day – even if it’s just a couple of lines. Sometimes it will flow more easily and other times it won’t. But don’t beat yourself up about writing a fixed amount every day.

Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!
Favourite place in London: The Monument
Favourite holiday destination: The Algarve
Must-check everyday website: My email
Dream travel destination: Sydney
Cheese or chocolate: Both

Unsafe Deposit (Thriller) is available in both paperback and Kindle edition from Amazon.

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