Here is a guest post from Alex Sinclair, author of ‘He’s At Your Door’, for the first day of the blog tour. Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the invite.
Karen Rainey lives a sheltered life on the edge of the city. For the last five years, she has rarely left the home unless it was unavoidable. She has her food and anything else she needs delivered to the front door. She works from home to avoid venturing outside.
But Karen isn’t agoraphobic. She’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, Zach, who is serving a life sentence in prison for a string of bank robberies after Karen testified against him. With the constant threat that Zach might send someone to find and kill her, Karen keeps a low profile.
To aid her in paying the rent each month, Karen takes in the occasional housemate, opting for students from the local university. Her current housemate, Beth, is a young student who has no idea about Karen’s past.
But when a mysterious package is left of her doorstep, it sends Karen’s world into turmoil.
Has Zack found her?
Isolated and frightened, Karen befriends Beth but refuses to tell her everything about her past.
Trapped inside their home, Karen and Beth soon begin to lose their minds.
But is the threat really outside or is it closer to home?
The Five a.m. start
I’m not a morning person. When it’s dark outside before the sun rises, like most people, I’d rather be sound asleep. But when you are an author who still works a full-time job, you have little choice.
When my daughter was born a little over three years ago, she had a lot of trouble early on sleeping. We were lucky if she lasted two hours at a time despite having enough food in her belly to see her through to the next feed. Because of this, my wife and I took turns attempting to help her go back to sleep. To say it exhausted us was an understatement.
When you have your first child, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming change your life will undertake to accommodate a tiny human’s every need. It’s amazing how such a small thing impacts not only your lifestyle but the way you see the world. Each person handles the transition differently. But for me, it was the moment I resolved to take my writing seriously and put in the hard yards.
I was up one morning around four with my daughter on my chest, trying my hardest to coax her back to sleep. I was reclined in the feeding chair with my laptop within reach. While my bundled-up daughter drifted off on me, I decided to do some writing to keep myself awake while she settled into a deep slumber. The light rattling of the keyboard seemed to help settle her. This became a nightly ritual until I realized something: I was getting more work completed than ever before.
Prior to this new and bizarre habit, I would write when I felt like it, typically at night. I’d be lucky to put down four hundred words over several hours, often distracted by the TV or my wife. It would take me six months to complete a first draft of anything. But when I wrote in the early hours of the morning, the words flowed. The absolute calm and quiet of the dark before the sun came up allowed me to move into a focused zone. Once my daughter slept through the night, I decided to get up every morning at five to spend two hours writing before work or before the day started with my family.
That was three years ago. In that time, I’ve written seven novels and three novellas while working full time and helping to raise our child. Life is busy. I had three novels published in 2018. I have another two being published in 2019 so far. It’s thanks to this seven-day-a-week writing habit. Unless something else needs to be prioritized or I’m sick, I don’t sleep in. The early starts have helped me achieve far more than I ever imagined possible and are charging me toward my goal of becoming a full-time author.
I’ll admit, it’s not an easy thing to do every day. I’ve had my difficulties. Some mornings, I can produce three thousand words in less than two hours. On others, I’m lucky if I break through to the one-thousand-word mark. But the most important factor is consistency. You must write every day if you want to improve your craft and be capable of producing anything worthy of publication. It’s no different from putting in the hours at a job. If you fail to show up consistently, you can’t expect to get ahead.
I wish I had understood the importance of treating writing like a career and not a hobby when I first started a novel back in 2011. I have my daughter to thank for showing me what was possible. I’m sure she just wanted a warm chest to snuggle into, but one day I’ll tell her how much she motivated her dad to take his writing to the next level.