I love featuring authors I’ve actually met so I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Dark Fragments by Rob Sinclair as I have so enjoyed chatting with him in person. Dark Fragments is published tomorrow, 8th November 2016, by Bloodhound Books and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
Today, Rob has kindly provided a guest post all about what it is like to be both a full time writer and a full time Dad and the challenges and benefits those two roles bring.
Murder. Money. Revenge.
Outwardly, Ben Stephens appears to be a normal, hard-working family man. In reality, his life has been in turmoil since the murder of his wife, Alice, seven years ago. The killer was never caught.
Now re-married – to the woman he was having an affair with while still married to Alice – Ben’s life is once again spiralling out of control, and he’s become heavily indebted to an unscrupulous criminal who is baying for Ben’s blood.
When Ben’s estranged twin sister, a police detective, unexpectedly returns to his life, asking too many questions for comfort, it becomes clear that without action, Ben’s life will soon reach a crisis point from which there will be no return.
In order to avoid falling further into the mire, Ben must examine the past if he is to survive the present – but just how much pressure can one man take before he breaks?
Full Time Writer or Full Time Dad?
A Guest Post by Rob Sinclair
I often wonder to myself whether I have two full time jobs or two part time ones. Writing is certainly the only job I have which pays money, but as a stay-at-home Dad with two young sons (aged 5 and 3), it feels at times that writing is just something which fills that short period of time in between weekends and school holidays and the twice daily school runs.
Now, I’d like to make it absolutely clear that I’m not complaining about our family set-up. I feel incredibly privileged that I now get paid a very decent amount for what is essentially a hobby, and I feel even more privileged knowing how hard it was to get to this position in the first place, and how much many writers struggle to make ends meet. That’s not to say that we have an easy life, though.
Wind back just a few short years and everything was very different in the Sinclair house. My wife and I were both working full time in demanding roles for a global accountancy firm (and my wife still is). With the birth of our first, and then our second son, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage both our workloads while also being parents. Something had to give. Luckily for me, I had a secret life, which I’d only recently revealed to my parents some time after my first son was born. My secret was that I was also a budding writer. I’d kept this only to myself and my wife for a number of years through fear of being ridiculed, and because I’d had such a hard time properly finishing my first book (Dance with the Enemy) and getting it published. Despite years of rejection from agents and publishers, knowing that my wife and I couldn’t both go on working as we were (at least not without us both sacrificing time with our children), we collectively made the decision that I’d move to part time working, mainly in order to reduce the childcare burden, but also to see if I could ignite my writing career.
Whether mainly through luck or hard work or pure destiny, or a combination of all of those, my career did take off shortly after publication of my second book (Rise of the Enemy), and in summer last year I walked away from my accountancy career for good. At first I think many people felt the decision was rash, but I’d fully committed to writing in my own mind and was determined to make it work. And I think I have. My wife is now freed from having to worry about school drop-offs and pick-ups. She can work the hours she needs to, and stay away when she has an international trip without having to painstakingly check and re-arrange calendars. She can push on with her career however she chooses, without mine getting in the way.
And, most importantly, I get to do what I want to do, which is write (and spend more time with the boys).
Is it perfect? No, of course not. Being a writer isn’t easy, even though I do really enjoy the craft itself. But it’s not just about writing, it’s about editing and publishing and marketing and everything else that goes into making books sell. Most importantly I treat writing as my business. It’s a real job and I sit down and work full days (during school times at least!), and many evenings too. I still put a lot of time and effort into marketing and social media and everything else that is needed, I keep my own accounts and budgets etc etc. I think its been a huge benefit that I have a business and accounting and project management background as I’ve transferred a lot of those skills into my writing career.
But, inevitably, I do get taken advantage of still, and at times it can feel like I’m only a part time writer and full-time dad and house-husband. I guess it’s only natural for house-based burdens to fall to me. I do, after all, spend the lion’s share of the week in the house! During the lengthy school holidays and on the numerous teacher training days, it’s just assumed I’ll be looking after the kids, no questions asked. When my wife’s parents can’t get over on a Wednesday to look after our youngest son (the only day he doesn’t go to pre-school), it’s again just assumed I can drop my writing and whatever else I had planned and look after him, however impromptu it may be, and regardless of what writing I would otherwise have been doing.
On the flip side, though, I’m my own boss, which is perfect for a control freak like me. I hate being answerable to other people, and there’s nothing to stop me from taking time off whenever I want. If I’m feeling tired or just not in the mood, I’ll have a day watching movies, or go and play golf, or do a spot of gardening, or read a book, and I never feel bad about that because I always make sure I don’t let my writing slip. There aren’t many jobs where you could get away with doing that. Yes the competing demands I face can be tiresome, but for the sheer flexibility of it, I’m really not sure there’s another job out there that’s more suited for me. And you know what? Having been on the other side, stuck in offices day in, day out, I know now that writing is the only job I ever want.
About Rob Sinclair
Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan.
His explosive debut, Dance with the Enemy, was published in 2014 and introduced the world to the enigmatic Carl Logan. The second novel in the series, Rise of the Enemy, was released in April 2015, with the third, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.
Rob’s latest novel, the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments, released by Bloodhound Books in November 2016, has been described as ‘clever’ and ‘chilling’ and an ‘expertly crafted’ story.
Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.
Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.