Interviews with Writers

Crime | Cradle to Grave | Rachel Amphlett

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I’m delighted to be on the Cradle to Grave tour today hosting Rachel Amphlett in my hot seat.

Cradle to Grave is 8th story in the Kay Hunter Detective Series and can be read as a stand-alone.

Book cover Cradle to the Grave by Rachel Amphlett

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Cradle to Grave by Rachel Amphlett is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.


Hi Rachel, welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.

Please summarise Cradle to Grave in 20 words or less.

When an abandoned boat is found covered in blood stains, a race against time begins to trace a killer and a missing child.

What was the idea/inspiration for your novel Rachel?

I’m not sure where the inspiration came from – I try not to analyse these things too much! – but the idea just popped into my head one day: what if a dead man was seen floating along the River Medway one fine summer’s day and when the police investigate they find out his face has been shot away? Of course, once that idea manifested, I had to find out who he was and why he was dead – after that, it was just a case of following my team of detectives to discover what happened!

Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?

I work closely with retired and serving police officers on a regular basis who help me with the police procedural side of my research but every story is different, so I often find myself having to source other contacts to ensure I’ve got my facts right.   For Cradle to Grave, the opening scenes take place along the River Medway in the suburbs of Maidstone. I had to source information from the Environmental Agency very early on in the writing of the book to make sure that what I wanted to write about would work in real life. They got a bit of a shock when they found out why I wanted to know!

Do you have a most creative time of day?

I tend to write in the mornings. It’s a hangover from the days when I used to commute by train into work until I started writing full-time – I had 35 minutes in which to type as many words as I could before I arrived in Brisbane for work.  It’s become a habit – I still start writing every morning at 8am and I keep going until I’ve done 1,500 – 2,500 words or so. I’m independently published in the English language, so I spend the afternoons doing all the work an agent or publisher would, but the writing always comes first.

Panster or plotter?

A bit of both. I usually have the opening scene going around in my head for a few days, and then I sit down with a notebook and think “what if”? to get a feel for where the story might be heading. Once I’ve done that, I’ll have an idea of key “beats” within the story to keep me on track. I do like to write using a five Act structure, but I tend to leave more wiggle room for the character development these days – it’s always interesting to see where a passing comment might lead, and if I start with a structure that’s too rigid, I’ll lose out on these possibilities.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

So many! I started reading thrillers and crime fiction when I was about 11 or 12 years old when my family got me reading books by the likes of Jack Higgins, Alistair McLean, Ed McBain and Dick Francis. Since my 20s, I’ve been regularly reading books by the likes of Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Robert Ludlum, Daniel Silva, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen King, Lee Child, Peter Robinson, Peter James and Ken Follett. And then of course there are all the other newer crime writers who have been publishing in the past fifteen years or so!

Do you have a favourite book Rachel?

Jack Higgins’ The Eagle Has Landed. It was the first thriller my grandad introduced me to when I was about 11 years old, and I’ve been hooked on the genre since. I don’t think I’d be a writer now if it wasn’t for that pivotal moment! It’s a perfect blend of historical fiction and thriller.

Finally, can you share with us what’s next in the Detective Kay Hunter series?

I’ve finished writing book nine in the Detective Kay Hunter series, which will be out sometime in 2020 and I’ve got the bare bones of what will be book 10.

Thank you for being my guest today.

Author photo Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, and dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC. 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.

The Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold have been sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series are published by Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, print, large print and audiobook formats from libraries and worldwide retailers.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance.

Twitter @RachelAmphlett, Facebook Instagram rachelamplhett

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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