Heather Rosser

Novelist, Memoirist and Educational Author

© 2013 Heather Rosser

In 1912 my great-grandfather, Humphrey Dyke, built a house near Llangelynnin Old Church above Conwy which remained in the family until the 1970s. The inspiration for my novel came from my mother’s memoir which she began following a trip to North Wales after many years absence shortly before she died in 1999.

Hazel wrote: ‘Where to begin? I think perhaps the church half-buried in the trees at Rowen, a little village in the Conwy Valley and my mother who was buried there 75 years ago. The trees have grown up around the churchyard but nothing has changed in this little corner of Snowdonia.’

Some of the characters in In the Line of Duty are based on things my mother, Hazel, told me about the family – her father’s sister, Daisy, was a radiographer who was a friend of  the cricketer Wally Hammond – but of her mother’s family little is known. I have created a realistic story around the character of my grandmother as a young woman and her sister who, Hazel hinted, may have been the mother of her father’s illegitimate son. Staff at Llandudno Museum were particularly helpful when I was researching the town and surrounding area during the First World War.

Writing memoir

My memoir grew from research for my article ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth among the Gude’ published in 1979. My eldest daughter, Melinda, was only five weeks old when we flew from London to Nigeria. Growing up in the Mandara Mountains will be the first of my African memoirs and features Melinda’s first 18 months as she accompanied me on research visits in a remote corner of north-east Nigeria.

Researching Family History

Talks and Workshops

15/1/14  Kennington writers group  Memoir writing workshop

05/6/14  Writers in Oxford   Writing historical narrative

28/6/14  West Oxford Centre  WW1 street party to launch In the Line of Duty

30/6/14  Botley W.I.   First World War in fiction

10/7/14  Sunningwell W.I.   Writing fiction from fact

11/8/14  Fairfield Residential home  Writing memoir

18/8/14  Headington library  WW1 novel and short story set in Headington

3/11/14  Kennington library  Background to In the Line of Duty

27/1/15  West Oxford Centre  White Feathers in First World War

28/1/15  Faringdon Women’s Fellowship Voluntary societies in WW1

20/4/15  Faringdon W.I.   Writing family history

26/6/15  Fairfield Residential home  Writing memoir

03/2/16  Kennington library  Life Writing

10/2/16  Faringdon Women’s Fellowship Short story: In Time for the Wake

09/6/16  Market Rasen U3A  Families in First World War

12/6/16  Worcester literary festival  How to get your novel published