Today sees the release of Rachel Amphlett’s brand new political thriller Look Closer – a Storm in the Stacks 5-STAR read. Rachel kindly took the time to answer some questions for me, and here’s what I found out….
(Ooh and stick around at the end for details on the Look Closer FREE GIVEAWAY!!)
Rachel, please tell us about Look Closer, where did the inspiration come from?
I wanted to take a step back from my military thrillers and see if I could go back to basics – that is, write a thriller that features an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances.
Without giving away the plot, I spent some time last year reading about organized crime in the UK. The plot was sparked by an image I had in my mind of a man holding a photograph where nothing was quite as it seemed. The finished novel is very different from that initial idea, but the urgency of having to follow clues to solve the mystery remains.
Of course it still includes my trademark twists and fast pace, but it was fun dipping my toe into a political thriller for a change.
If Look Closer made it to the big screen, who would play Will Fletcher, Trevor Lake, Ian Rossiter, and Malcolm Gregory? How much artistic license would you allow?
I don’t imagine my characters as film or TV actors when I’m writing – they have their own traits to me, and I think too much description or things like that can spoil it for readers. When I’m reading a book, I have a certain picture in my head of what the characters look like to me, so I’d have to hand over full artistic licence and trust the director and producers to get it right!
Which is most important to you, characters, plot or scene-setting?
Plot first. I’ll have a vague idea for characters, but I need to develop the plot in order to get to know them. Out of all that, the scene-setting becomes a natural process.
Your books are set across the globe, which is your favourite location?
Ooh, that’s a tough one for a travel-lover like me! So far, it has to be Malta – I have fond memories of the place and it was great to capture that in Under Fire. Mind you, we’re making plans for some overseas trips over the next 18 months to countries we haven’t been before, so I’m sure some great story ideas will come out of that.
What makes a good thriller in your opinion?
If a story can make my heart rate sky-rocket, and keep me turning the pages, that’s a good thriller – no matter the sub-genre.
Which of your books are you most proud of?
I’d have to say all of them because I’m constantly developing my craft, but I can still go back to my early thrillers and think, ‘yeah, I enjoyed that’. I do see things I would have done differently if I’d written the story now – I think that’s something all artists do, don’t they?
Which authors inspire/influence you?
Crumbs, this is going to be a list and a half – ready? Ken Follett, Robert Harris, Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, Jack Higgins, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Matthew Reilly, Dick Francis, Vince Flynn, Clive Cussler, Chris Ryan – all the thriller authors really! I do read a lot of books in other genres, but thrillers are my ‘go-to’ reads.
I especially envy authors Ken Follett, Robert Harris, Matthew Reilly, and Michael Crichton as they’ve used their writing to explore different eras and, in the case of Michael Crichton, the ‘what if?’ scenarios associated with technology.
When writing, do you have any rituals? What makes up your writer’s toolkit?
I started writing on my regular commute about a year ago and that’s the best time for me – I can easily bash out 700-1200 words on a 40 minute train journey into work. Sometimes I’ll go to the library after work and get my head down for another hour if there’s a particular scene I’m caught up in. I bought a new laptop last year – a MacBook – and I use the Scrivener software. I can’t imagine not using Scrivener now!
I always carry a Moleskine A5 notebook around with me because I do still like to write long-hand as well as using the laptop – sometimes it’s easier to coax the words out of my head that way.
What are you reading right now?
Runner by Patrick Lee. Next off the TBR pile is Andy Weir’s The Martian otherwise my other half is going to explode – he’s been bursting to talk about the plot with me since finishing it over two months ago!
You’re in a ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ scenario, people are burning books in the last library in the world in order to stay warm… Which 5 books do you rescue?
Stephen King & Peter Straub – The Talisman
Ken Follett – Hornet Flight
Michael Crichton – Timeline
Umberto Eco – The Name of the Rose
Daphne Du Maurier – Jamaica Inn
What advice would you give to the budding authors out there?
Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to contact other authors for help.
What does the future hold for Rachel Amphlett?
It’s going to be a busy 2015, that’s for sure! My next suspense/thriller, Mistake Creek is going to be available on pre-order from mid-April with a publication date in June, and I’m currently writing the third in my Dan Taylor series of military thrillers. I’m aiming to get that published before Christmas. In between all that, I’m constantly researching and jotting down plot notes for the two novels I want to write next year.
And finally, your turn… What question do you wish was asked in author interviews but never/seldom is? And what is your answer?
Who would you like an opportunity to co-author with?
And my answer would have to be either Ken Follett or Robert Harris!
Thanks so much for your time Rachel. And the very best of luck with the launch of Look Closer and your future works!
Rachel Amphlett previously worked in the UK publishing industry, played lead guitar in rock bands, and worked with BBC radio before relocating from England to Australia in 2005.
After returning to writing, Rachel enjoyed publication success both in Australia and the United Kingdom with her short stories, before her first thriller White Gold was released in 2011.
Look Closer is Rachel’s fourth independently published thriller, with the Italian foreign rights for White Gold being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TimeCrime imprint in 2014.
A further thriller is scheduled for release in June 2015, while a third Dan Taylor thriller is being written.
You can keep in touch with Rachel via her mailing list: http://www.rachelamphlett.com/mailing-list.html or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett
*****FREE LOOK CLOSER GIVEAWAY*****
To be in with a chance of winning your very own ebook copy of Rachel Amphlett’s new political thriller Look Closer just send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Three winning names will be drawn at random on Monday 30th March 2015.
And if you missed it first time around, here is my review for the fantastic Look Closer
Published by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Author ARC
Available in paperback and ebook from 24th March 2015
How far would you go to protect a secret?
How far would you go to expose a lie?
Will Fletcher seems to have it all – perfect job, perfect life. Then in one act of extreme violence, his world is turned upside down.
A bungled assassination attempt on a London street uncovers a disturbing conspiracy fuelled by organised crime and political ambition. Now, Will finds himself on the run, pursued by a dangerous enemy who will stop at nothing to protect his employer’s past.
The only way to stop the chain of events is to follow a trail of clues that lead to the heart of British politics.
With the date for the UK General Election only days away and the killers closing in, Will is running out of time to deliver his own version of vigilante justice and expose the corruption. As the web of lies and deceit unravels, Will knows the answer’s out there.
All he has to do is look closer.
Everyone has secrets. Everyone lies.
Well it has happened, I am astonished! This is by far the best book I have read in a long time. I cannot fault it!
Look Closer begins with some extremely emotive drama when Will Fletcher discovers that his girlfriend Amy lies in hospital. She is in critical condition, having been shot during an assassination attempt on the man who is likely to be elected British Prime Minister.
However it soon becomes apparent that the would-be leader may not have been the intended target at all, and that it may well have been Amy in the shooter’s sights all along – especially when Will receives messages left by Amy in which she warns him that she fears for her life, and that the fact that he has even received these messages means that she was right to be afraid, and furthermore, Will must now fear for his own life.
We are then taken along with Will on a thrilling ride that is not only fast paced, but non-stop! Facing an unknown enemy encompassing conspiracy, corruption, and power hungry monsters with dark and dangerous secrets; Will finds himself desperately trying to piece together the mystery whilst also trying not to get killed – a difficult feat indeed with nowhere to turn and nobody to trust.
Amphlett skilfully creates a brilliant cast of characters, especially Will; tough yet sensitive, determined yet lost; and his terror and desperation practically bounces off the page at you. The villains of the piece are also fantastic creations; terrifying, relentless, and immensely dangerous – any reader will very much share Will’s fear and will still blindly root for him no matter how hopeless a cause it seems.
Whilst you are still reeling from all of the action and excitement, Amphlett decides to throw a twist in there that will really make your head spin, and there is not a word more I can say about it – except to maybe tell you that I’m now off to read it again with fresh ‘knowing’ eyes – so that I can have lots of little ‘A-ha!’ moments.
Look Closer is an energetic, intriguing, terrifying ride, with a twist that will smack you from here to next Friday. Put it on your ‘to read” list. Now.
Many thanks to the author for providing this book for review.
Find out more, visit www.rachelamphlett.com