Today I'd like to welcome novelist Rachel Amphlett to my blog. Originally from the UK, then based in Australia and now back on our shores, 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…
Pick one of your novels in the Detective Kay Hunter series and tell us about it.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Maggie. 'Will to Live' is the second in the series, and 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?
Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American novelist. His most famous novel, written in English, is 'Lolita' (1955), notorious thanks to its controversial examination of an affair between a young girl and an older man.
Nabokov had an avid interest in butterflies, which was what led to his exploration of the region, rather than a prurient interest in children (we hope!) The area is stunningly beautiful and includes Arizona, parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Nevada and California. As someone who has long wanted to drive across the southern USA, I'd love to follow in Nabokov's footsteps, although without the butterfly net! Monument Valley will be a 'must see' on my itinerary when I do so. Perhaps it's time to write a road trip novel?
2. The French Riviera - Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald and his family once rented a seaside villa in Cap d'Antibes, where he wrote his most famous novel, The Great Gatsby. The French Riviera is located in the south-east of France on the Mediterranean, and became popular during the eighteenth century as a winter vacationing spot for the British upper class. It has also played host to other famous writers such as Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham and Edith Wharton. I've not visited the French Riviera for many years, but I well remember the fabulous wealth of Monaco and the beauty of the scenery. France isn't on my immediate list of countries to visit, but it would be good to return one day and explore further, following in the footsteps of the famous novelists I've mentioned.
3. The Florida Keys - Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is inextricably linked with the Florida Keys, in particular Key West, where he wrote To Have and Have Not. He also worked on the draft of A Farewell to Arms while living on the island.
The drive from Miami through the Florida Keys is spectacular, and one I remember well, my destination being Key West with its relaxed atmosphere. When I was there in 1994 I visited Hemingway's house where he lived for eight years. As an avid animal lover, I was entranced by the cats there, all descendants of Hemingway's own felines and sporting six or seven toes rather than the usual five. The house itself contains much of interest and was one of the first on the island to benefit from modern plumbing and a swimming pool.
4. Henry Miller - Paris
Henry Miller was an American author who developed a new form of writing novels, penning semi-autobiographical books involving social criticism, philosophy and explicit sexual references and language. His best know works include Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. He lived in Paris between 1930 and 1939, which is where he wrote Tropic of Cancer, telling a friend he'd write it as 'first person, uncensored, formless'. Whilst there he became friends with the British author Lawrence Durrell and began his affair with Anaïs Nin.
Paris is an easy trip for me, being a short hop on the Eurostar, and I was last there about twelve years ago. The city has been home to many famous writers, including Honoré de Balzac, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre.
5. Cornwall, UK - Virginia Woolf
I've not visited Cornwall since my teens, but seeing the BBC's recent adaption of Poldark reminded me how beautiful that part of the UK is. I also read 'The Fire Child' by S K Tremayne recently, which features the old Cornish tin mines along with photographs of them.
The town's lovely coastal scenery, including Godrevy Lighthouse, may have been the inspiration behind Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Other authors, including Poldark's Winston Graham, have used Cornwall’s landmarks in their books. Mary Wesley's 'The Camomile Lawn' features Roseland House; the Headland was used in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 'The Witches'. Daphne Du Maurier's books also rely heavily on Cornwall as their backdrop. Perhaps it's time I paid the county another visit - who knows, I might get inspired for a future novel!