Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Rachel Amphlett’s latest novel, Scared to Death, which will be published on 6 December.
My review for Scared to Death can be found below, and Rachel very kindly agreed to a Q&A and so I’ll hand you over to Rachel to start the post.
- Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I currently live in Brisbane, Australia after emigrating here 11 years ago from the UK. Prior to emigrating, I played guitar in bands, helped run a pub, and worked in local radio as a freelance producer and broadcast assistant. To date, I’ve written eight books with Scared to Death being the latest.
- And a little bit about your latest novel, Scared to Death?
Scared to Death introduces Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter, who is clinging onto her career after enduring both personal tragedy and a professional vendetta against her. We meet Kay as she’s thrown into a new case – a kidnapping that appears to have gone wrong, and a teenage girl has died.
As the investigation evolves, Kay becomes convinced that there’s more to the case than she first thought, and her worst fears are realised when a second girl is taken.
- Who would you recommend Scared to Death to?
I’d like to think that anyone who enjoys the novels of Robert Bryndza, Angela Marsons, Peter James and Mark Billingham would enjoy Scared to Death. It’s a fast-paced crime thriller, so if you enjoy that element of the crime genre, I’d suggest giving it a go.
- Are you planning more Kay Hunter novels?
Definitely. I set out to write Scared to Death with the knowledge that there would be more books featuring Kay Hunter. She’s got some scores to settle yet!
- How do you tend to write – after careful planning, or just writing and seeing where the story goes?
I’ve got a really tight process these days for writing. I’ll get an idea going around in my head, and then I’ll scribble that down in a new notebook and keep jotting down basic scenes as they crop up, and then I’ll take that and develop it into an outline of about 30 – 40 key scenes. For each scene, I’ll write a sentence or two about what has to happen in that scene, and then I’ll get stuck in and write.
- How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
Scared to Death took me nine weeks to complete the first draft using the above process. After that, there were weeks of editing, but I enjoy that as much as the writing because I keep discovering new things about the characters and story.
- What kind of research do you do for your novels, and is it in advance of beginning a new book, or as you’re writing?
I’m lucky in that I have friends serving in the police in the UK and I was recommended a couple of books to read while I was sketching out the plot, so that gave me a good head start.
After that, I concentrated on the story for Scared to Death, and made a note of things I’d have to check as I went along. I got about halfway through the writing process, and then started emailing some experts in the police in the UK and kept writing other scenes while I waited for their responses or sought further clarification.
Of course, the more I write in this series, the more I’m learning, which is another bonus of being an author – I soak it all up!
- What sort of novels do you like to read, and who are your favourite authors?
I do love crime thrillers, and this last year I’ve been devouring books by a lot of the Bookouture authors – they’re publishing some awesome titles. I’ve also been catching up on Leigh Russell’s back catalogue.
My favourite authors are Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Val McDermid, Lynda La Plante, and Peter James.
- Of your own novels, do you have a favourite? Or is that like asking someone to pick which of their children is their favourite?
It is a bit, yes! I do have a soft spot for Look Closer – it’s completely different from my espionage thrillers, and gave me the confidence to write a full crime thriller series. I enjoyed having a character that had to rely on his wiles, not on strength or weapons. I really think that book made me grow as an author.
- What are the three best pieces of advice that you’ve ever been given? (Not necessarily writing specific)
- Learn to type, and learn to pull a pint – you’ll never be out of work (thanks to my late grandmother for this one. She was right!)
- Pay it forward
- Keep your next move to yourself
Thanks so much, Rachel – your grandmother sounds like a smart lady! 🙂
Yvonne and Tony Richards return from their holiday to a parent’s worst nightmare – their teenage daughter has been kidnapped. Hoping for the best, they pay the ransom money and abide by all the kidnapper’s rules, but when they go to collect their daughter from an abandoned building, their worst fears are confirmed.
Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter is assigned to the case, and whilst her colleagues see it as nothing more than a kidnapping gone wrong, she isn’t so sure.
And then another girl goes missing, and it’s a race against time to save her. Can Hunter and her team get to her before it’s too late?
In Kay Hunter, Amphlett has created a great character. Strong, determined and willing to stand up for what’s right – she’s the kind of person who will get the job done no matter what. She has her demons, however, in the form of Detective Chief Inspector Larch who has taken against her following a previous case. He seems intent on undermining her every step of the way, although Hunter isn’t one to be easily cowed.
One thing I really enjoyed about Scared to Death were the personal scenes when Hunter is with her partner, Adam. So many novels of this genre have their main character alone / divorced / separated etc. and I thought that it was really nice to see someone in a healthy relationship. It’s not all perfect, and they’ve been through some hard times prior to this case, but I thought that this was a nice element, and it added warmth and a little humour to what is otherwise quite a dark novel.
Scared to Death is a fast-paced read, and the chapters are short enough that “one more chapter” all too easily becomes three or four! Extremely well-plotted, this really is a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Hunter and her team follow the clues that lead them to the perpetrator and his latest victim. Due to the nature of the crimes, this is quite a dark story, although the violence is not gratuitous in any way – I thought that it was well handled, but without leaving any room for doubt as to what was going on.
Scared to Death is a wonderful start to a new series, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment featuring Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter. Whilst all elements of the crime were tied up nicely, there are a few questions outstanding about Kay’s past and the case that has turned DCI Larch against her, and I’d like to see this explored further.
Scared to Death will be published on 6 December 2016. Many thanks to Rachel for taking part in the Q&A, and for providing a copy of her novel for review.
Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour: