The king of espionage thrillers: 10 questions with author Rob Sinclair

Rob Sinclair author
Rob Sinclair, author of Renegade

Rob Sinclair specialised in forensic fraud investigations at a global accounting firm for thirteen years. He began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen an ‘unputdownable’ thriller. Since then, Rob has sold over a million copies of his critically acclaimed and bestselling thrillers in the EnemyJames Ryker and Sleeper series. His work has received widespread critical acclaim, with many reviewers and readers likening Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 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. His latest book ‘Renegade’ see the return of popular character James Ryker, a veteran intelligence agent.

Rob takes our 10 questions quiz:

  1. What’s your name and where do you come from?

    Hi, I’m Rob Sinclair I’m based in the West Midlands now, and have lived here for quite a few years, though I’m originally from the North East of England.

  2. Do you write fact or fiction and in what genre?

    I write fiction, and always thrillers, though that genre is very wide in definition, and my
    books range from traditional action thrillers (such as my James Ryker books), to crime
    thrillers/police procedurals (my DI Dani Stephens series).

  3. Are you traditionally or self published and which route do you consider best? 

    I’m both. I self-published my first 3 books but have since worked with 3 different publishers of various sizes. Which is best? It’s impossible to answer. There are pros and cons to each, and massive success stories in both camps, but also a lot of people who struggle in both camps. Being an author is very difficult for the vast majority, and no route to publication is a guarantee of success or failure.

  4. What’s your work schedule like when you are writing? 

    I write on my trusty Macbook Air, sitting at the kitchen table looking out over my garden.
    I’m quite regimented when I’m drafting a new book. I’ll sit down every morning at 9am, after taking the kids to school, and bash out as much as I can until lunchtime, with breaks only to put the kettle on and go to the toilet. Typically I aim for 3,000-4,000 words in that time. Then my afternoon is spent editing and re-writing my morning’s work, which can be quick or not, depending on how focused I was, before I pick up the kids again just after 3. A short day really, but I find that my creativity burns out after that morning rush, and I really do come up with my best ideas in the hours afterwards when I’m ‘relaxing’ with the kids.

  5. What advice would you give to budding writers?

    If you’re writing your first book, just take it one step at a time, whether that’s each day, or
    each page, or each chapter. I go by a daily word count. As long as I achieve that, I’m
    happy. And as long as I know what I’m writing the next day, I’m happy. The thought of an
    80,000 words or more story on day one is very daunting, not least because it’s hard to
    conceptualise every in and out, but by breaking it down it becomes much more
    manageable. It definitely feels easier now, approaching my 20th book, than it was on the
    first, and it’s this method which has gotten me here.
    Also, don’t give up. There will be rejection, problems, heartache, but there’s always a way.
    It’s good to look at other authors’ journeys, but realise that what worked for one person,
    won’t necessarily work for anyone else. Everyone’s journey is different but it’s down to the
    author to make it happen.

  6. Who/what are YOUR favourite books? 

    This sounds terrible but I haven’t read a book properly in the last year. I’ve been so busy
    focused on keeping to my own writing schedule, while battling with the disruption of covid,
    homeschooling, etc, etc, that I’ve barely picked up a book at all, except for with the kids!
    But, typically, I read the type of books that I write; action thrillers, crime thrillers, serial killers and the like.

  7. Are you a plotter or a pantster? i.e do you plan out your work of fly by the seat of your pants?

    Pantser. There is no other way for me either in writing or any other aspect of life really! I like to get stuck into things. Planning is just time wasting really, thinking about what could happen, rather than seeing what does happen. On day one of a new book I’ll have a vague idea of what’s going on. Clearly, the main character is sorted, and likely the start and end point, but the rest comes as I go along. It’s not literally every word is made up on the spot, though, I don’t think that would work, but after each day’s writing I’ll spend time thinking about what comes next – imagining myself in the characters’ shoes, and thinking what they would and should do – with that end goal (and twist) always in sight in the distance.
  1. What helps you focus? 

    It’s hard to say. I can work with people around me, in a cafe or whatever. I can work with a
    TV on, though I just block it out. Although I have my favourite seat in the kitchen, I’ve
    worked in hotels, in the garden, on planes, ferries, on holiday, so it’s not the location. I
    think it’s getting lost in the story that makes me focus. When I’m writing a scene, I really
    fall into the action, almost like I’m reading the book myself for the first time, or watching the
    movie and wanting to get to the next part. I get a real buzz from writing it all out. The more
    exciting, and tense, the scene, the faster I seem to type!

  2. How long did it take you to write your book/books? 

    I currently aim for 3 books a year, roughly one per school term which fits nicely around
    holidays! The actually drafting, at 4,000 words a day, takes maybe 5-6 weeks, which may
    seem really short to a lot of people, but there’s a lot that comes after that before a book is
    ready for publication. All my books go through at least two rounds of editing, so all in all,
    with turnaround time for the other people involved in the process, it does stretch out to 3-6
    months from conception until the books is ready and off my to do list for good!

  3. Where can we find your book/s? 

    Amazon is the best place to view my whole catalogue.

    Thanks Rob! You can find out more about his latest book Renegade via his website HERE

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