New Aussie author Rachel Amphlett’s debut thriller White Gold is a fast-paced ecological thriller which spans the globe, from London to Brisbane and back via the Arctic Circle. The protagonists, Dan and Sarah, aren’t just chasing the truth – they’re chasing a bomb which, if detonated, will change the future of alternative energy research and the centre of England’s capital forever.
Hi Rachel, tell us a little about your background.
I previously worked in the legal and economic publishing industry in the UK, and undertook several publishing courses at Oxford John Brookes University. When I moved to Australia a few years ago, I joined Queensland Writer’s Centre and undertook some of their courses – I hadn’t written anything in years and so wanted to make sure I got back into it armed to the teeth with refreshed skills. About a month after completing a six week course entitled Intro to Creative Writing, I had some short stories published both in Australia and the United Kingdom. That gave me the confidence to get my head down and write my debut thriller, ‘White Gold’. Originally it was only available as an eBook but a lot of people asked about a paperback version, so I released that in mid-2012.
Why did you decide to write thrillers. Where did this story come from?
I’ve always enjoyed reading the crime and thriller genre so it was a natural progression to write within that genre. The idea came from an article in a UK newspaper I’d saved from four years previously about experiments with super-conducted precious metals and what the technology could be used for.
When Sarah Edgewater’s ex-husband is murdered by a radical organisation hell-bent on protecting their assets, she turns to Dan Taylor – geologist, ex-soldier, and lost cause. Together, they must unravel the research notes which Sarah’s ex-husband left behind to locate an explosive device which is circumnavigating the globe towards London – and time is running out.
White Gold is $1.99 at the Kindle Store here: http://www.amazon.com/White-Gold-ebook/dp/B005EHR2FU/ and is also available on paperback there.
Tell us about the protagonist and antagonist in the story – what will readers like/hate about them?
The protagonist, Dan Taylor, could be best described as damaged goods – and probably a bit selfish with it. The story takes him from being a broken man to facing his demons and dealing with them.
The antagonist, Morris Delaney, is a sociopath whose only focus is how to protect his organisation’s interests – no matter what it takes.
How do you work on a story to bring the components like character and plot together into the final product? (i.e. what is your writing process)
I’ve been discussing this with a couple of other authors recently because I’m currently editing the next Dan Taylor thriller, Under Fire. I do start out with a very rough outline but then write whatever comes into my head – and that doesn’t necessarily happen in the same order as the roughed-out chapter outline. I haven’t employed a very organised process for these last two books, which makes for some very brutal editing! When I got to the end of the first draft of White Gold, I sketched out the plot outline on to a white board and worked it all through with whiteboard pens and sticky notes. Next time around, I’m thinking of using something like Scrivener to keep me in check – as long as it doesn’t stifle the creative process.
What is one thing that has helped you develop as a writer?
Meeting other writers and readers. I’ve attended quite a few workshops and events these past 12 months – the learning doesn’t stop just because I’m now published. I always enjoy chatting about crime and thriller books and getting ideas about new authors to read, and there continue to be some great events here in Brisbane by such organisations as Sisters in Crime, Queensland Writers Centre, and the Brisbane Writers Festival.
What is the most successful thing you’ve done to market your book?
Twitter has really opened up my audience in North America and Asia. Locally, belonging to Sisters in Crime and Queensland Writers Centre has been an enormous boost – last year, I was invited by them to read an extract from White Gold to open Stella Rimington’s book launch for her new thriller, The Geneva Trap. I never thought my writing would give me that sort of opportunity!
At a ‘grass roots’ level, supporting other authors and hoping that they support my writing in turn is also of huge importance to me. I’m planning to get a bit of quiet time in between finishing Under Fire later this year and starting the next project to catch up on all the other indie authors’ books I’ve downloaded on to my Kindle!