Today’s conversation is with an author who so far has only published one book in Portugal, but in reality there are many series she has written. With British and Australian citizenship, she published her first book in July 2011 that accompanied a British secret agent Dan Taylor, later started another series by a detective Kay Hunter, who already has 9 published books. The author speaks to us in this conversation , which today is with Rachel Amphlett.

First, thank you for the opportunity to talk with you. When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

Thank you for having me on your blog, Liliana!

I think the moment was when the stories I had going around in my head wouldn’t go away – that’s when I knew I had to start writing them down. It’s the same now – if there’s a particular idea that won’t leave me alone, I write the story.

In Portugal only “The Friend Who Lied” is unfortunately translated. How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I’ve always enjoyed locked room mysteries and one day the idea for a murder within an escape room popped into my head – it was the perfect modern scenario for the genre, and I wanted to find out if I could write it. It was a lot of fun to do, and really pushed me as a writer to try and figure out how the murderer did it!

He currently has a series of books with Detective Kay Hunter, who already has 9 books published at the moment. For Portuguese readers who still don’t know this story, who is this detective and what can we find in these books?

I wanted to write a fresh perspective of the popular detective tropes and so readers will find that instead of having a broken home life and being a rule-breaker, Kay Hunter is part of a dedicated and close-knit team. Readers have compared the series to TV shows like NCIS and Law & Order: Criminal Intent for the camaraderie between Kay and her colleagues.

Kay is resilient, courageous and fierce when it comes to the victims and their families, and she pushes her team to their limits to solve the investigations and bring the killers to justice.

The stories are meticulously researched – I’ve studied forensic archaeology and anthropology and forensic science courses to make sure the investigations are as realistic as possible, and I have a team of police and forensic experts on hand to help me when I get stuck.

None of that slows down the pace though – the books are fast-paced reads!

The books have a lighter side too, thanks to Kay’s partner Adam who is a vet – you never know what animal he’s going to bring home until Kay walks through her front door!

Next July, the 10th volume of the series, A Darker Place: A chilling crime thriller, will be available, what can readers expect in this book?

I had so much fun writing this one – the opening scenes are chilling, and I hope readers enjoy the shocks and twists that this investigation brings. Here’s the description:

The frozen body of a man is discovered in a used car yard on the hottest day of the year, his face contorted by fear and pain.

Detective Kay Hunter and her team are assigned the case, but when they find out who the victim is, their worst fears are realised.

There is another man missing – but is he a victim, or a killer?

With time running out and witnesses afraid to talk, Kay is thrust into one of the most challenging investigations of her career to date. 

Is the translation of this series in Portugal coming soon, or is there still no news?

There is no news yet, but if any Portuguese publishers are reading this and are interested, please get in touch!

You write psychological thrillers and mystery crime books. What is your favorite?

I don’t have a favourite sub-genre of crime fiction – it all depends on what idea pops into my head next. I get excited when that happens because it often pushes me out of my comfort zone to go and learn something new in order to tell the story to the best of my abilities.

Do you use story boarding or mapping processes to develop your plots and interactions, or do you go with the flow and follow your instinct and gut feeling?

I’ve been doing this for over ten years now and although I did plot out about half of my first two books, these days I tend to follow my characters. Often when I start out I have the opening scene going around in my head and nothing else. I usually find out what’s going on at the same time my characters do!

What is your favorite part of your writing process?

All of the writing part! I write every day and I circle back and update bits and pieces as I go so once I’m finished I have a complete manuscript and then that is sent off to be professionally edited.

Did you ever think that your books would be translated into several languages?

I always hoped they would be, but it’s really exciting to speak with different publishers to see how we can work together and then hold the finished translated book in my hands once it’s published – I’ll never get tired of that.

How important is the reader’s opinion to you?

It’s important to me that I tell the best story I can at any given time, and that readers enjoy my books but I try not to read too many reviews – some people can be nasty for the sake of it, and I’d rather be writing the next book.

What advice would you give to aspiring or debut authors?

Have fun – and publish what you write. Then go and write the next book.

What authors have you most admired and have had an influence on you?

There are so many authors I admire and who have influenced me. Writers like Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Lee Child … all the ones who started out 20 years ago and have consistently published new stories are the ones who inspire me to keep doing this.

Can you give us any insights into any future books or projects that you’re working on?

Books 11 and 12 in my Detective Kay Hunter series are finished and waiting to go to editors, and book 4 in my Detective Mark Turpin series is also awaiting an edit – the third book in that series, The Lost Boy will be out in October 2021. I’m currently researching my next project and anticipate starting to write that at the end of May.

Finally, what would you like to say to Portuguese readers?

Obrigada! Really, I do appreciate all your wonderful support and hope to share some more of my books in Portuguese in the not too distant future.

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