Colin McAndrew, author

My work was having a hugely negative impact on me and my family. I’d come home at around nine on a Friday night, the kids would normally be in bed, and then I’d leave on the Monday. On Sundays my kids would be moody and upset with me because they knew I’d have to leave again. Sometimes they wouldn’t even wave me off because they were so upset that I was leaving again. I’m really close with my children so that was the worst thing. My wife and I were like strangers. She was at home all day looking after the kids. It was kind of hello when I arrived and then bye again – there wasn’t much time in between because we were so focused on the kids.

That lifestyle really took its toll. I collapsed at work one day and got taken to hospital. The doctors said it was from stress, exhaustion and incredibly high blood pressure. It was a wake up call. I realised that I wasn’t getting anything out of my job apart from worry lines and mental health problems. Things needed to change. I talked it through with my wife and decided that I was going to leave my job and start working from home.

Writing had always been a dream of mine. I had been working on my book, Sad Lisa, in my spare time – normally when I was travelling for work. After leaving my job I was able to work on it properly because I had more spare time. I found an editor and paid him out of my own money and I published the book last October.

I met Val McDermid, one of my idols, at a Raith Rovers game once and she gave me some advice. She was one of the first people to tweet me after the book came out to say good luck. It was really nice to have one of my heroes do that.

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I have to admit I was quite emotional when the printers sent me the first copy of my book. Everything I had put into it was finally there in front of me. For me writing was never about the money. I donated the first month’s proceeds to charity, that was something I had always said that I would do if I ever sold any books, to give back in any way that I could. I’m currently running a story competition at the local primary school and we’re going to put them all in a book to sell to the parents and the proceeds will be reinvested into the school.

I’m also writing a self-help book along with my therapist. I was put on medication for my mental health issues but it was her who helped me through it, she kind of saved my life. I’ve suffered from bulimia which is really rare in men so I wanted to show that it goes on a lot more than you think. I thought I’d write something from my experience because it’s so important to talk about the way you’re feeling and get help.

My lifestyle is completely different now. I get up with the kids and take them to school, something which I’d never been able to do before. I’d wanted a dog for 30 years so we rescued one from an animal shelter after I left work. I see my kids more now than I ever have before. They know their dad is happier, so they’re happier as well.

Colin’s book, Sad Lisa, is available on Amazon

Charlotte Cohen