Richard remembers arguing with his mother about the number of books he could take out of the library.
“I was always reading,” he says. “And at university I was a tortured writer of terrible poetry. It was only when I moved to London that my writing became more streetwise.”
After university, with no idea of what to do, Richard joined a tiny publisher, and in 2010, moving to London, he worked for Random House. He has since moved to Headline.
“I’m in non-fiction, and had no idea how novels are published, but I’m two desks away from fiction, including Maggie O’Farrell’s editor, and I’ve learned massively from them.”
Meanwhile, Richard wrote a romantic comedy which gained him an agent, but not a publisher.
“I tried writing something else, and I finished it, but didn’t think it was ‘the one,’ so I put it in the bottom drawer.
“I found this article about the day in the life of council workers in Liverpool who dealt with the lonely dead. It was my eureka moment. I wrote the first draft in three months then spent many months knocking it into shape.”
Who is Richard Roper?
Date of birth: 1987 in Solihull
Education: Alcester grammar school. University of Sheffield, English.
Family: Mum and Dad and two sisters. “I’m the middle child.”
The Day Job: Head commissioner and editor of non-fiction with Headline.
In Another Life: “Having been in a succession of, terrible, bands as a teenager, I’d be a drummer in a rock band on the main stage at Glastonbury.”
Favourite Writers: David Nichols; Nick Hornby; Charlotte Mendelson; JK Rowling.
Second Novel: “It’s in the planning stages, and my ideas keep shifting.”
Top Tip: Write a book that you would want to read yourself.
Website: www.richardroperauthor.com Twitter: @richardroper
The Debut: Something to Live For. Orion: €15.99. Kindle: €7.43.
Andrew works for the council. When someone dies alone, he searches their houses for hints of a next of kin. If they have no one, he attends the funerals – but he’s terrified he might face the same fate. He’s told people he’s married with two children, but this is fiction. Can he risk everything in order to find happiness?
The Verdict: A tender, uplifting read. I loved it!
Published in The Irish Examiner on 20th July
© Sue J Leonard.