Today we welcome Heather Rosser to the blog. Heather is another of our contenders for the 2015 Joan Hessayon Award.
I have wanted to be a romantic novelist since reading romantic sagas as a teenager. My first novel was shortlisted for the Constable Trophy but not published. After my mother died I realised I had my own saga to tell based around the house in North Wales that had belonged to our family for nearly a century. I knew that I needed a structure for my story with its family secrets and colourful characters so I signed up for a ‘starting your novel’ course which is where I had the good fortune to be told about the RNA.
How many years were you a member of the NWS scheme and did you submit a different book each year? Which year’s book did you graduate with?
I graduated in 2013 with In the Line of Duty. I was a member of NWS for six years and submitted a partial manuscript of this novel under the title Shadows Across the Mountain and a full length manuscript titled Feathers in the Wind. I also submitted Rebel Causes, a stand alone sequel to In the Line of Duty.
How did you find your publisher?
I met most of the publishers who were interested in my book at RNA events. I also had recommendations about my current publisher from friends in the Oxford Writers Group.
Promotion is a big part of an author’s working life. How did you promote your novel?
I sent personal emails to all my friends, set up an author facebook page, was interviewed by local radio and had features in local newspapers. I persuaded local bookshops to stock my novel. I gave away copies on Goodreads. Since publication I have given monthly talks to libraries, WIs and other local groups. I always carry postcards promoting my novel which people enjoy receiving.
What has happened to you as an author since that first sale?
Metaphorically I have grown taller.
How did you celebrate your first book sale?
By opening a bottle of bubbly with my family in Oxford. And another bottle later with my family in New Zealand.
During my childhood I spent summers at the family home above Conwy in North Wales. As a student, I returned for weekends in Snowdonia with Leicester University Mountaineering Club. I was posted to Ghana as a VSO teacher and travelled to Timbuktu with Adrian: Reader, I married him. We spent twelve years in Africa and I became a writer for the Botswana Guardian newspaper and for British magazines with an interest in childcare issues. Later we bought a smallholding in Lincolnshire where I set up Wold School of English for international students. Since moving to Oxford, I have written Social Studies text books for Africa and short stories published by OxPens. I am working on my next novel set in Africa and North Wales.
Thank you Heather and good luck with your writing career.