Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for Cradle To Grave and I’m delighted to be hosting a Q&A with author Rachel Amphlett. My post is presented with thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the tour and of course to Rachel Amphlett for answering my questions!
Have you always wanted to write?
Since I was about seven, yes – I was always trying to write my own stories from an early age although my mum had to type up my scribbles because no-one could read them. I was reading before I started school, so I think by then my imagination was already working overtime.
What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?
I don’t think any of my previous jobs helped my writing process, but having a background in projects and contracts administration has certainly helped me to develop the business side of things and ensure I keep my wits about me in the publishing industry.
What was your inspiration for Cradle To Grave?
It really was just one of those ideas that popped into my head out of nowhere.
I was finishing my last standalone novel, The Friend Who Lied and pondering what Kay and the team might get up to next when I suddenly had an image of a man’s body floating face-first down the River Medway.
Inspiration can be like that sometimes. Other times, it can be a news article that will set me off, like it did with book seven in the series, Bridge to Burn.
How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?
No, I don’t base any of my characters on real people, but they are a mash-up of things I notice from day to day. For characters who don’t pop up in each book, I’m could be writing a scene and someone will walk through the door or approach one of my detectives, and so I’m honing in on what Kay’s first impression of that character might be, or what Barnes or Piper might notice.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely not a pantser – time is too precious, and I need some sort of structure to make sure I know what I’m supposed to be doing when I sit in front of the computer in the mornings.
With a Kay Hunter novel, I’ll usually start with the opening scene and mull that over for a few days – this is the part when I’ll do some initial research and run theories past some of my experts to find out if what I want Kay to do is even feasible.
After that, I’ll sketch out a five Act structure for the story, jot down some bullet points for the scenes that are going around in my head and then make a start. I’ll follow up with other research questions at the end of each writing day if I need to – that way, I usually have the answers to hand ready to start the next session.
I’d say it’s 40% planning, 60% organic these days. It seems to work.
How did you research Cradle To Grave? Did you enjoy it?
I did enjoy it, yes. Writing Cradle to Grave meant learning a lot of different police processes and procedural matters than I’d done before, and my head was spinning at one point.
I always say to people that for me, it’s important that the story comes first but by the same token, I don’t want anyone from the emergency services feeling like they want to throw the book across the room because I got something wrong! It’s all about finding a balance.
Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?
Favourite crime writers are Michael Connelly, Peter James, Robert Crais, and Val McDermid – when I started out writing, I read every single interview I could find with them to learn more. Anyone who’s had a long-running established writing career who so obviously still enjoys doing it is to be admired.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m actually shuffling my schedule around for next year so I can get some more spare time to get back into my photography and explore more of Dorset now that we’re living here.
I love walking to clear my head, and I love to read when I get a quiet moment. I’m managing to get through 4-5 books a month on top of my writing commitments, thank goodness – I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t!
What is next for you?
I’m writing the third book for a new police procedural series that will launch in spring 2020, and of course I’ve got Kay Hunter book 9 up my sleeve! I’ll start writing a new standalone project in January.
Book? The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
Film? Raiders of the Lost Ark
Band/Singer? Too many to mention – and too many Spotify playlists! ☺
TV show? I’ve just finished binge-watching seasons 1-5 of Bosch, and loved it
Colour? Green – I used to say blue, but that was before 13 years living in Australia and not seeing enough greenery!
Place? Ah, I’ve still got a soft spot for my old hometown of Brisbane. Lisbon in Portugal is a close second
Cradle To Grave is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: