It’s never too late to follow your dream job

Author of Your Guilty Secret discusses how there is no bad time to chase the career you have always dreamed of.

It was not until I was in my mid-thirties before I decided to follow my dream of writing a novel. I’m now about to have my second book published – Your Guilty Secret – which is about an A-list celebrity whose life unravels in the public eye.

With my first novel, The Exclusives – a psychological thriller set in an all-girls boarding school – I’d just had my first son. I realised that if I didn’t do it then, I probably never would. Something about having less time to oneself made it all the more pressing – and gaining back some sense of my own self and identity that I felt I’d lost since becoming a mother. That’s not to say I needed to have children to write a book. Just that it would have perhaps happened later on.

Previous to having kids, I’d jetted around the world for my work: (after some admin office-based jobs at which I was crap – sorry office bosses) I’d lived in the Middle East, working as a writer for a magazine, and back in London, I worked as an investigative journalist for one of the Sunday tabloids before setting up an online advertising company.

After giving birth and deciding on a change of direction, I enrolled in the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, which was every Monday evening. That suited me perfectly. I looked after my son during the day and I’d take him with me in the early evening to my husband’s office in the West End, where I’d drop him off so my husband could bring him home. It was totally worth the hassle. I’d then skip onwards to Faber’s head office in Bloomsbury, where I had two blissful hours of learning how to write a novel.

It was a rare time that I had entirely to myself. Where I didn’t have to answer to anyone. At that time I didn’t have childcare, so it meant writing every night from seven pm post my son’s bed time, until late to finish my novel (I subsequently got an au pair by the time the book had been sold). But for that time, I never minded the late nights and hard work because I’d finally found something that didn’t really feel like work. That bit came in the form of a small person, with a mouth to feed and nappies to change.

Your Guilty Secret by Rebecca Thornton. Published by Zaffre. Paperback Original 7th March 2019.

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