Today I'd like to welcome novelist Rachel Amphlett to my blog. Originally from the UK and now based in Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton. Wow! Let's get going with the interview...
Tell us about your latest book in the Detective Kay Hunter series, Will to Live.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Maggie. Will to Live sees Kay Hunter pitted against a serial killer who’s been using a stretch of the local railway known as “Suicide Mile” to dispose of his victims – until a witness stumbles across one of his victims before the train strikes. Kay and her team then have to revisit a number of cold cases to try to establish a pattern, while the killer is still at large. On top of that, Kay’s investigation into who tried to destroy her career intensifies, with catastrophic consequences.
You also write espionage novels. Which do you find the most challenging to write: crime or spy fiction?
I enjoy writing the spy fiction, but crime thrillers are where my heart is at. It simply took a few books under my belt before I felt I had the confidence to give them a go. The response to one of my standalones, Look Closer, is what gave me the nudge I needed – that’s the closest I’d written to the crime fiction genre at that time, and it’s proven to be a great success. By the time I got to the beginning of 2016, I had the inkling of a new series featuring a female detective, and that’s how the Kay Hunter series evolved.
What’s next for you now that Will to Live has been published? What can your fans expect next?
The third book in the Kay Hunter series will be released in June, so expect a cover reveal for that soon, with the fourth book scheduled for a September release. On top of that, the audiobooks for the series are going into production this month, which I’m really excited about.
In which genre(s) do you write? Would you consider writing in different genres and if so, which ones?
I definitely want to write a historical / crime fiction book – I’ve been researching in between writing the Kay Hunter series and have jotted down a few scenes and a rough outline. I’m hoping to spend some time on that later this year.
What draws you to your chosen genre(s)?
It’s what I’ve been reading since I was a kid – I love mysteries, so like a lot of authors I started off reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and went from there. I can’t recall a time I wasn’t reading crime fiction in some form!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I usually have the opening scene in my head and the “lift” points sorted out, and then I’ll take those and develop a rough outline using a five act structure. Once I have that, I get stuck into the writing. I do like to leave a bit of wiggle room for characters to develop, because that makes it interesting for me as a writer – a character could say something that takes me down a different path to the ending I have in mind that’s a better way than I originally thought, so it’s important to allow that to happen.
How long does it take you to write a book to first draft stage?
The first draft usually takes me no longer than 12 weeks – and it’s a hot mess, I can tell you! However, it’s important to me to get it written down as fast as possible because it reflects the pace of the story. The fastest I’ve ever written a first draft is 9 weeks.
What book are you reading at present?
CJ Sansom’s Lamentation – I’ve loved his whole Shardlake series of books, and I’ve finally found a bit of spare time to savour this one!
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