Today I have the absolute pleasure of welcoming Rachel Amphlett back to Chat About Books 🙂
Kay Hunter is back!
Call To Arms is OUT NOW!!
Happy Publication Day, Rachel 🙂
Interview with Rachel Amphlett…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m originally from the UK and currently live in Brisbane, Australia. I write the Kay Hunter crime thriller series and two espionage series: the English Spy Mysteries and the Dan Taylor spy novels.
Call to Arms is the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series and is published on 11 March 2018.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
A lot of the time it’s through browsing news stories, overhearing a snippet of conversation, or getting distracted by a passage in a non-fiction book – ideas can come from any source, which is why I always keep a notebook handy in case my phone has gone flat and I can’t use that to jot down an idea!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
No – all of them are fictional. I might see an interesting tic in a passer-by that I’ll incorporate into a character, but that’s about it.
How do you pick your characters names?
On rare occasions they pop into my head at the same time as the idea for a character, but other times it’s a case of sifting through lists of names via a search engine until something resonates. I had a hell of a time with Kay Hunter’s name because I couldn’t settle on it until about 8 weeks out from publication of the first book in the series, Scared to Death! It was simply caused by the fact I wanted a name that could carry a series, not just a standalone book – it caused some sleepless nights, I can tell you!
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Once I have an idea, I’ll do some initial research to get me going and then it’s a case of jotting down a couple of bullet points for each scene that’s already popped into my head and sorting out a basic sequence. I’ve studied screenwriting, so I tend to work in a five Act structure, which gives me an indication of where the big “lift” points are in the story – those bits that make you go “woah!” and turn the page.
I’ve got a production schedule I work to during the year, so as soon as I start I know when I want to publish the book. I can plug that information into the Scrivener writing software that I use, and that tells me what my minimum word count is every day. After that, it’s a case of getting my bum in the seat every morning and hitting that word count.
If I don’t know something, or I haven’t got a name for a character, I’ll simply put “XXX” and keep going – for me, the first draft is about momentum. I can go back and fix things later.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Only five? That’s hard! Okay, I’m going with Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, Peter James and Michael Connelly because I always learn something from them whenever I hear or read an interview with one of them. If I hear them talk on a panel at a crime festival, I’ll always take notes and be inspired either from a writing or business perspective.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’ve been so lucky over the years to meet a lot of my writing heroes, but I’d love to get the chance to meet and ask Michael Connelly how he pushes himself as a writer each time he publishes a new book – I think there’s a lot to be learned from authors who have been around for a while and have sustained a high quality of storytelling.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Absolutely – we were taught to read before we started infant school, so by the time I got there my teachers wouldn’t believe that I was getting through the books so fast – I got into a lot of trouble with that before my parents explained it. The only way my parents could afford to keep up with my reading habits was to rely on the local library and sometimes treat us to a visit to a second hand bookstore so we could stock up.
When did you start to write?
I’m not going to count my early attempts at six- or seven-years old. I had some success with competitions and publication of short stories back in 2009, but I started writing my debut novel White Gold in 2010.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Well, some books can be a bit bleak, but I think certain endings happen for a reason so I wouldn’t want to change anything.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Robert Crais’ Hostage – that’s a really fast-paced thriller and very entertaining. I love the premise and the fact you can’t stop turning the pages once you start.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
“Don’t try this at home, kids”
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
That’s a great question! I’m going to pick Robinson Crusoe and take him to the Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells, because after being on that island for so long, he could probably do with a slap-up meal!
What are you working on right now?
Book six in the Detective Kay Hunter series – I’m really enjoying it, so the words are flying at the moment!
Tell us about your last release?
Call to Arms sees Kay Hunter back at work after the events in Hell to Pay – not only has she got a lot to prove, her mentor is under investigation too and it’s up to Kay to solve a cold case to prove his innocence. It’s fast-paced, and brings the team together in order to help one of their own – but it comes at a price, both personally and professionally for Kay.
Do you have a new release due?
Call to Arms will be published worldwide on 11 March 2018 in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from all retailers.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
We usually have a nice bottle of wine to celebrate, but that’s about it – I’ve usually got my head down working on the next book!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The best way is to join my Readers Group at www.rachelamphlett.com so you can come behind the scenes of the Kay Hunter series and find out more about my writing life.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I’m always grateful to readers and book bloggers for the tremendous support – I really couldn’t do this without any of you, and it’s very much appreciated, thank you!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Rachel 🙂
Call To Arms…..
Loyalty has a price.
Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.
Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.
Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.
But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.
Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…
Call to Arms is a gripping police procedural, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:
1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS
A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.
If you haven’t already read the previous books in the series then you will find them all HERE
About the author…..
Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.
She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride.
She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.
Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.
A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance, usually with a crime fiction festival tacked on for good measure! You can stay in touch with Rachel via her Reader’s Group at http://www.rachelamphlett.com.
My reviews, so far…..