- Course studied:
- Psychological Research Methods
- Year of graduation:
From Psychologist To Author
Having gained her first Psychology degree in 2001, Juliet later obtained an MSc in Psychological Research Methods from Staffordshire University and a PhD from Durham before becoming a research scientist in cognitive psychology.
But, with the recent publication of her first novel, The Fractured Man, Juliet revealed her first passion. “I have written stories since I learnt to write, so I would always consider myself a writer first.”
This revelation hints at why she left her role at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. “I got to a point where I could no longer do both,” she says. “It wasn’t an easy choice, but I can incorporate science into my writing – it’s a little more difficult the other way round!”
Faced with Juliet Conlin on paper, you would imagine her to be a scientist first, a writer second.
One of the best decisions I’ve ever made
But, it could all have been so different, Juliet recalls.
“After school, I had an unbearably boring office job for the German foreign ministry. I got married and had two children before deciding that I really needed to go to university to stop my brain from shrinking!
“I was enormously grateful to Staffordshire University for offering me a place on their Psychology course. Leaving my job and going into higher education was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
This decision was pivotal. It was during Juliet’s time at Staffordshire University that she was inspired to write her novel which tells the story of Elliot Taverley, a psychoanalyst, who has a patient with an intriguing condition.
“I studied a module entitled ‘The History of Research Methods’ taught by the absolutely fantastic now-retired Professor Graham Richards. Within that module, I was really interested in the area of Psycho-Graphology.”
Graphology – the study and analysis of handwriting – is a central theme within her book. It became extremely popular in London in the 1920s – the time and place her novel is set – and it was the case of Rafael Schermann, a Polish Jew, who became fascinated from early childhood by envelopes that really inspired Juliet.
“I suddenly just thought – I could really write a novel on this!”
Greatest time of my life
“This quote will always stay with me: I remember him just saying, ‘Fact is always better than fiction!”
But, of course, she stuck to her vision. She continues fondly, “I had the greatest time of my life at Staffordshire University. I actually found the support there better than any other university I attended.”
Currently a freelance translator, Juliet is now in the process of writing two further novels: her second in English, as well as her first in German.