Where Are You Now?

Roger Pape

Roger Pape

BA History and Politics 1987, Certificate IT 1989, MA Historical Research 2002

Following an early retirement as a civil servant and subsequent heart transplant in 2015, Roger decided to follow his dream and write a novel.

His novel, entitled Bluebirds in the Moonlight was published in August 2020, and spans several decades including the events of the Second World War, post war life and the social change of the 1960s.

Asked about how he got inspired to write this novel, Roger replied: “They say everyone has a novel inside them. Some take this to mean that anyone can sit down and write a novel. They’re wrong but what is right is that everyone has a story to tell about their experiences. The aim of the writer it to take these experiences and mould them into a story that is both entertaining and challenging.

“The inspiration for this novel came from a group of old guys I knew who used to meet up every week in the local pub. One of them (sadly deceased) opened up to me one day about his experiences in Burma during the war. He told me the horror of it and how it had taken ten years for the nightmares to stop. He cushioned himself from this through drink; although he never became an alcoholic. His favourite expression about the campaign was ‘we lost one in three, did I tell you that’ which I used in the book.

“However, he inspired the book but it is not about him. It is about the heroes around us that we don’t know about, how their experiences made them who they were and what stress can do to you. It is set against the evolving zeitgeist of the twentieth century, of ambition and hope and the quest for a better life.”

Before retirement, Roger used to work as Civil Servant on Policy, Strategic Development, Tactical delivery, Corporate Governance and Risk Management for the Department of Health and Social Security, Inland Revenue and HMRC.

Asked about what attracted him to the University of Sunderland, Roger replied: “The University was among leaders at the time to introduce part-time study for those of us who were worried to give up careers but wished to study and continue education as well as progressing career prospects.”

He added: “Studying my degree enabled me to develop a wider and more informed appreciation of events. Will always remember Peter Rowell and Graham Potts with affection.”

Roger’s plans include to continue writing and researching.

He concluded: “The next book is ready for production and I’m currently writing a sequel to Bluebirds. I also want to continue my association with the National Institute for Health Research Blood and Transplant Research Unit in development of new treatments and procedures surrounding organ transplant.”

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