Easy – I love what I do!
How do you manage your writing time with everything else you do? How has that changed from when you were starting out?
For me, it’s a case of I want to succeed with my writing business, so I make time – I don’t wait until I have “spare” time. I keep a production schedule and stick to word count targets as best I can – the most I’ve gone over a self-imposed deadline is two weeks, and that’s usually because the end of a first draft has coincided with a new book release. When I started out, I didn’t publish regularly, and that was a huge mistake – it’s too easy to lose visibility. Now, I aim to publish 2-3 books a year as a minimum.
Where do you write? How do you arrange your working space?
I’ll write anywhere! A very productive place for me is on the train during my commute to my part-time job. If I want a change of scenery, I’ll come to SLQ and spend an hour there bashing out words. Sometimes I’ll use the café there – I’m getting good at tuning out the noise. If I’m not using my computer then I’m happy to curl up on the sofa with my notebook and write pages by longhand.
What are your essential writing tools?
- My MacBook, for writing on the train
- Scrivener, for first drafts
- Evernote, for jotting down ideas during the day
- Nuance Dragon Dictate, for when I’m too tired to type
- A notebook
- A pen
- Smartphone, for marketing
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you were starting out as a writer?
I should’ve started marketing the minute I published – boy, was that a tough lesson to learn. It took me two years to realise where I was going wrong, but at least I got there in the end!
What do you read and how do you read as a writer?
I don’t read as often as I’d like to as a writer, and when I’ve got that first draft buzz going, I rarely read at all unless it’s to do with research. I do try to read at least two fiction titles in my genre every month – there are so many great crime thriller authors I’m discovering! Apart from crime fiction, I enjoy historical fiction as well – authors like CJ Sansom, Robert Harris, and Ken Follett are particular favourites of mine.
How do you overcome ‘writer’s block’?
I outline before I make a start – with the production schedule I have, I can’t afford not to write. With an outline, if I’m struggling to get into one particular scene for whatever reason, I can scroll through my outline until I find one that piques my interest. Often, it’s getting the first 50 words down is the hardest – after that, you’ll find you’re flying along.
What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up, and join a professional group such as Australian Society of Authors or the Alliance of Independent Authors to make sure you’re receiving the best business advice in relation to contracts and publishing services.
Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.
She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.
An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.