There is one part of this job of being half of Hobeck that is divine, thrilling, indulgent and fun, even though it can be time-consuming and, at times, overwhelming. The job in question is not looking at sales figures on spreadsheets, it is reading.
I have been an avid reader all my life. The house is full of bookshelves overloaded with books. I have thousands of the damn things. Now Adrian is with me - we have two thousands of the damn things. I have three boys who read. Five thousands of the damn things.
Reading was my salvation as a child. I read to escape from reality. I read to feel better. I read to find friendships where I was unable to find them in the real world. I read and read and read. That passion carried on into adulthood. I vividly remember the first 'real' book that captured my heart and started the journey into the written word: What Katy Did. It isn't a crime novel, sorry. Before that I had gobbled up encyclopaedias, my grandparents' Reader's Digest magazines, my dad's National Geographic magazines, The Beano, The Dandy, my mum's Nursing Times magazines and her Woman and Woman's Own, and my sister's Bunty annuals. Discovering 'real' books, though, opened up a new world to me and I'm still in it.
At the moment, for example, I have three books on the go (one fiction, two non-fiction). Actually, I've just remembered, I have four (there's also a book in the downstairs toilet which I am reading, slowly). None of those books are Hobeck or potential Hobeck books. If I were to include those, then I have another four to consider. That makes eight books. I am reading eight books.
This all means that down time at Hobeck Towers isn't actually downtime at all. If I am spotted out and about staring at my phone, perhaps in a shopping queue, on the school run or while waiting for the traffic light to change (just kidding, I would never do that) then chances are I am reading a Hobeck book on the kindle app on my phone. I read before I go to sleep. I read before I get up. I read in the bath. I read while cooking. I read at every available opportunity. And that is just the Hobeck books (and potential Hobeck books), never mind the real books.
Would I change things? No. Not for anything. I love reading. I love the thrill of reading a potential Hobeck book and thinking 'this person is damn good!' I love the excitement of knowing that we might, if we are lucky and play our cards right, be able to put those words into physical form and send out into the world.
We have had that pleasure so far with Robert Daws. I first read Killing Rock during that sleepy chocolate-filled post Christmas pre-New Year lull. I didn't quite believe it at that point that we'd be the ones to distribute that story into the world. It was just an idea then. Here we are, just ten months later, with three books published, including Killing Rock of course, and seven in the pipeline, plus a bunch of brand new novellas to whet the appetites of new readers. How did that happen? It happened, I believe, for the love of reading.