Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Q+A Rachel Amphlett

Q+A with one of my favourite authors. Rachel Amphlett . 

How's lockdown going? 

Put it this way, there has been a LOT of writing going on!

You've got a new series out featuring Mark Turpin, can you give us the essence of it? 

The Detective Mark Turpin series is set in the Vale of the White Horse, a picturesque corner of the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border that is steeped in history from Bronze Age settlements through to Second World War airfields and more.

The locations and settings are as much a character as the people in these stories, and they have a slightly different feel to them from the Kay Hunter series.

When we first meet Mark, he’s emerged from a turbulent time with Wiltshire Police and has moved to the Vale in order to try to make some sense of his life and ease back into work. His sabbatical ends abruptly with the vicious murder of a parish priest.

How many books have you got planned featuring Mark? 

It’ll be an ongoing series – book 2, HER FINAL HOUR is out in November, book three is already written and ready to be published in 2021, and I’ll start work on book 4 in the New Year.

I visited Abingdon – where Mark is based – in October last year and had a wander around, and from that I’ve already got 2-3 new ideas lined up for Mark and his team that I want to explore.

What gave you the idea for this new series?

I had some ideas going around in my head for detective stories that wouldn’t fit in the Kay Hunter world simply due to the locations and settings.

I lived in the area where the series is set while I was playing guitar in bands in my 20s and my Dad grew up there, so what with all that and visits to grandparents when I was growing up, I’m very familiar with all the landmarks and locations.

Originally, the Kay Hunter series was going to be set there – or so I thought. Kay Hunter had other ideas, and that series moved to Maidstone…

How can we expect Mark's character to evolve over the course of the series? 

He’s still finding his feet in his new role in Oxfordshire, and readers will see how he’s struggling with that in book 2, HER FINAL HOUR but his working relationship with his colleague DC Jan West is the anchor that holds him steady. I’m having a lot of fun writing about the two of them – they’re chalk and cheese.

The Kay Hunter books are still going strong, what does the future hold for her? 

We’ve got TURN TO DUST coming out on July 13, and I’ve just started writing book 10 in the series so she and the team are still going strong – I have a lot of fun writing this series, too so as long as you enjoy reading them, I’ll keep writing them. I’ve also got some surprises lined up for readers later this year so I’d recommend signing up to my Reader Group for first dibs on that news :)

Would you write another standalone like The Friend Who Lied? 

Absolutely – the standalone novels are a great way to capture stories that don’t fit in one of my series and gives me a chance to try new writing skills so I’m always learning.

Would you ever be tempted to write a continuation novel for another series e.g. Bond or Sherlock Holmes? 

I wouldn’t rule it out completely but it’d have to be for the right reasons and at the right time, simply because I’ve got so many of my own ideas lined up to write over the next 2-3 years – and of course, by the time I get to the end of next year I’ll already be planning ahead for the next few years!

Which author have you discovered in the last 12 months that’s really surprised you?

I don’t know why I hadn’t read Cara Hunter’s series before now – time, probably! – but I discovered her first book Close to Home last year and quickly smashed through the read of the series in no time at all. I can’t wait for the next one.

Which movie or TV show have you watched during lockdown that's really surprised you? 

We’ve just binged seasons 1-3 of Travelers on Netflix and now I’m bereft because there’s no season 4. It’s another show that we missed the first time around while we were living in Australia but I got very invested in the characters. Clever ending, too. It surprised me because I don’t read sci-fi but I do like a lot of the TV shows – my other half’s favourite genre is sci-fi so through him I’ve discovered The Expanse and Picard as well.

What new releases are you most looking forward to? 

Michael Connelly’s Fair Warning, out on May 26 – I’ve already got my copy pre-ordered, and please don’t expect any writing to happen until I’ve finished reading it. Which will probably be between 24-36 hours – I love Connelly’s writing and will have to force myself to slow down while I’m reading it!

You always seem to have new projects on the go, how do you keep track of them all? 

I use an Excel spreadsheet set out a bit like a Gantt chart – I used to work as a project administrator in Australia and studied project management. All projects use one to keep track of their design and production schedule. My version is a slimmed-down version of that. I use it to note down when a book is due to be finished, when it’s got to be sent to the copy editor, proof reader, audio studio if we’re doing that format, and what the publication date is. Of course, by the time a book goes to the copy editor I’m already working on the next one.

What’s next for you?

I’m scheduled to finish the next Kay Hunter book by the end of July and then I plan to use August to write some short stories and learn some new skills before starting the next book on 1 September.

The second book in the Detective Mark Turpin series, HER FINAL HOUR will be out on November 9 and I’ve got a couple of surprises up my sleeve for later in the year as well to share with readers.

Links and things:

Instagram/Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

and now for something i've never done before. asked an author to pose ME some questions. keep an eye put for the next post to see that.

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