A huge welcome to this week’s Author Influences guest, Rachel Amphlett. Rachel has taken time out to tell us all about the books and authors that have influenced her.
Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
From an early age, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series – I think it’s a prerequisite for being a crime writer! From there, I discovered Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series and because we used to go to a second-hand bookshop quite regularly, I picked up both The Crimson Rust and The Ring of Nenuphar by CB Rutley. The Ring of Nenuphar made an early impression on me because although written in the 1930s, it featured a female pilot and an adventure in northern Africa. It took me a while, but I managed to locate a copy to replace the one I had as a child a couple of years ago – and it’s still a great story.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English at school – I got bullied from an early age through most of my school years, and so the library became a sanctuary for me. All that daydreaming paid off, because I used to love writing my own stories.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Crime fiction and spy novels are at the top of the list – that stems from reading my grandparents and parents collection of books, including Dick Francis and Jack Higgins. Outside of those genres, I really enjoy historical fiction, especially by authors such as Ken Follett and Robert Harris.
Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Peter Robinson, and countless others have all had an impact on what I write – I make sure I read all their interviews, and every time they have a new book out I pounce on it, because I know I’m going to learn something new about the writing craft.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d really like to write historical fiction – I’ve got a couple of projects on the sidelines, but it’s difficult to find the time to write them!
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
When I was still at school, reading books by Alistair Maclean and Jack Higgins got me started writing my own action and adventure stories.
I think my crime fiction writing happened by osmosis – I read so much of the genre, it’s impossible not to soak it up and after a few years of not doing anything creative after I left my last band, when I started writing again it was natural to lean towards the crime genre.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Yes, Michael Connolly is one, and Robert Crais is another. They have a real knack for pulling you into the story and you become invested in the characters and setting.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Any of the Shardlake series by CJ Sansom. His research is meticulous, so you feel like you’re in Tudor London with all the sights, smells, and political intrigue. He’s another author that when there’s a new book out, I’ll drop everything to read it!
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
No, but I hear snippets of conversation or read a headline and my brain goes off on a tangent playing “what if?” – that’s usually how stories begin in my head!
Thanks so much for taking part, Rachel.
Rachel is the author of the Detective Kay Hunter Mysteries and the first in the series is Scared to Death. Here is what it’s about:
“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.
When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.
With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun…
You can grab your copy HERE.
About Rachel Amphlett
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!