Lovely Rachel Amphlett, author of Call to Arms, has been on Linda’s Book Bag a couple of times, revealing 5 things about herself here when Assassins Hunted was released and writing about living locations here to celebrate Scared to Death, so this time I thought I’d set her a challenge and ask how her music has influenced her writing. Luckily she accepted the challenge!
Call to Arms is part of Rachel Amphlett’s Kay Hunter series and is available for purchase here.
Call to Arms
Loyalty has a price.
Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.
Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.
Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.
But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.
Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…
On Writing – And Music
A Guest Post by Rachel Amphlett
One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept as a writer is that I can no longer listen to my favourite music while I’m working.
My love for music developed hand in hand with my love for writing – after nagging my parents for a good 18 months about wanting to learn how to play the guitar, my grandfather gave in and bought me a little acoustic guitar for my eighth birthday and I was packed off to lessons. Unfortunately, my parents had me learning classical guitar, when all I wanted to do was be like Chrissie Hynde!
At the same time, I was inhaling books at the rate of knots and starting to write my own stories – not that any of them from that time will ever see the light of day.
I left school at 16, determined to give it a shot at playing guitar in bands after teachers and careers advisors alike scoffed at my ideas of wanting to work in a recording studio, and so that’s what my focus became for the next 10 years.
I worked hard, grabbing any job I could to save up the money for a guitar, amplifier and then proper lessons, often working double shifts in hotel kitchens washing up or getting up at five o’clock in the morning to walk to an industrial estate a couple of miles from where I lived to make sandwiches for construction workers all morning – I’d do anything I could to make my creative dreams come true.
It paid off – by the time I was 23, I beat 450 other female lead guitarists to an audition at Air Studios in London for a new all-girl rock/pop band that was being put together by a record label.
I’m a shade under six feet tall though, and when I turned up at the audition they took one look at me and told me I wouldn’t suit the photo line-up they had in mind.
Me and the music industry had a falling out shortly afterwards 😉
Fast-forward a decade or so, and I’m living in Australia and desperate for something creative to do. I tried putting together a couple of covers bands here, but honestly – it’s like herding cats, and I got frustrated very quickly.
In the meantime, I was starting to jot down story ideas again and once I started, I couldn’t stop. A short creative writing course soon followed, and then I began to write my debut novel, White Gold.
And that’s how my writing career began.
The thing is, if I’m exercising or driving I LOVE to have music to listen to – I have very eclectic tastes, although I do tend to hark back to rock, metal and blues given half a chance, but I just can’t write with that sort of music playing. I find it too distracting. Having that background in music, I’d spend all my time trying to work out riffs and chords instead of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) or playing air guitar J
However, sometimes music CAN work well.
Sometimes a particular piece of music will inspire a scene – I’ll have to stop, switch off the music and start writing the scene before I lose the ‘feeling’ that the music inspires.
I also find that certain playlists on Spotify can help me get into a “writing zone” these days – tracks that are relaxing, with no words or definitive beat are the best ones for me, because again I’m not distracted by what the musician is doing.
Of course, once the word count is achieved for the day and my mind turns to the business and marketing side of things, the volume gets cranked up and I can rock along to all my favourite tracks once more!
And the guitar playing? Yes, I still miss it and would love to be part of a rock covers band again one day.
Watch this space 😉
Oh we will, Rachel, we will! And I think we ALL wanted to be like Chrissie Hynde!
About Rachel Amphlett
Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller 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.