Today we welcome Rachel Amphlett, author of Look Closer to Booklover Book Reviews.
How far would you go to protect a secret?
How far would you go to expose a lie?
Will Fletcher seems to have it all – perfect job, perfect life. Then in one act of extreme violence, his world is turned upside down.
A bungled assassination attempt on a London street uncovers a disturbing conspiracy fuelled by organised crime and political ambition. Now, Will finds himself on the run, pursued by a dangerous enemy who will stop at nothing to protect his employer’s past.
The only way to stop the chain of events is to follow a trail of clues that lead to the heart of British politics.
With the date for the UK General Election only days away and the killers closing in, Will is running out of time to deliver his own version of vigilante justice and expose the corruption. As the web of lies and deceit unravels, Will knows the answer’s out there.
All he has to do is look closer.
Everyone has secrets. Everyone lies.
What inspired you to write Look Closer?
The kernel of an idea for Look Closer called for an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. I knew a photograph was involved, but the finished novel is a lot different from the idea I started out with. Originally I was going to have Will’s occupation as a journalist, but then even that seemed too ‘easy’ – I wanted someone who would feel completely out of their depth, struggling to stay on top of circumstances beyond their control and wondering who they could trust.
I have to admit, the twist in the tale was a surprise even to me, but that’s how it sometimes happens – you’ll be happily writing away one day, and then BANG. You end up sitting there in shock for a few seconds before the adrenalin kicks in and you write everything down as fast as you can!
Would you say Look Closer is plot or character driven?
I’d have to say both – I can’t imagine one without the other.
Tell us a little bit about your main character.
One reviewer pointed out that Will is “no Jason Bourne”, and that’s great, because he’s not meant to be. He’s an archivist working for a large museum in London who is suddenly thrust into a political conspiracy and completely out of his depth.
The only things he knows about how to survive are what he’s seen in films, so he’s only marginally ahead of the bad guys most of the time.
He’s desperate to find a way out of the mess he’s been caught up in, and the pace is relentless – he has to think on his feet, while all the time he’s being pursued by people who want to kill him.
What type of reader do you think would most enjoy Look Closer?
I’ve already had one reviewer compare this to House of Cards, which was extremely humbling, but I think if readers enjoy political conspiracy thrillers with all the slow bits taken out, I think they’ll get a real kick out of Look Closer.
How does this title compare to others you have written?
For a start, it’s a departure from my usual military thriller style – and that was deliberate. I love military thrillers, but there was something about this story that was screaming out to be written, and I knew I couldn’t start to write the third in the Dan Taylor series of military thrillers until I’d ‘cleared the air’ so to speak.
It’s a very stripped-down thriller, and it was incredibly exciting to write because of that. I felt that I was putting everything I’ve learned over the past four years about writing into Look Closer. Hopefully that excitement shows, and readers will feel the same adrenalin rush as they follow Will’s story.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I’ve always got a pot of ideas – a folder in my ‘Favourites’ on my computer where I store newspaper articles pertinent to the story I’m currently writing, or ideas for future plots.
These days I’ll sketch out a rough plotline before I start – this can expand into what screenwriters call a ‘treatment’ before I split out the sections into smaller parts and get the scenes in roughly the right order. Then I’ll start the actual writing.
The good thing about doing it this way is that if a scene isn’t quite flowing well one day, I can open up another one – as long as I keep writing, that’s the main thing. I can go back and fix things later.
My actual writing takes place on my commute into work – I travel by train, so that gives me at least 30 minutes of solid writing time and I can usually bash out between 750-1200 words a session. It’s easier going into work than coming back – the carriages are often quieter – but if I have a particular scene going round in my head that I’m excited about, I’ll stick my headphones in and write on the journey home too. All I have to do then is back up my work.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I work full-time, so I have to be extremely disciplined with my spare time in order to juggle so many things but in between writing, I love going to the cinema, travelling, catching up with friends over a good meal. Total relaxation for me means reading a book on a lazy Sunday!
Do you have any other titles in the pipeline?
All the time! I’ve got another standalone novel with my editor at the moment and am currently working with my cover designer on that; I’m writing the third in my Dan Taylor military thriller series, and I’ve started pulling together the research for another two standalone novels which I plan to write next year – it’s never ending!
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring writers?
I always tell people “don’t give up”. You shouldn’t be writing to try to make a quick buck, you should be writing because you can’t imagine not writing. Keep doing that, and you’ll get there.
Also, don’t be afraid to contact other authors in your genre for advice. Most are more than willing to steer you in the right direction – we all make mistakes and are happy to pass on what we’ve learned from the experience.
Look Closer, and Rachel’s earlier titles are available from:
Amazon | Booktopia (Aus) | Book Depository | Kobobooks
UPDATE: Read our review of Three Lives Down, the third title in Rachel Amphlett’s Dan Taylor thriller series
Rachel Amphlett previously worked in the UK publishing industry, played lead guitar in rock bands, and worked with BBC radio before relocating from England to Australia in 2005.
After returning to writing, Rachel enjoyed publication success both in Australia and the United Kingdom with her short stories, before her first thriller White Gold was released in 2011. Look Closer is Rachel’s fourth independently published thriller, with the Italian foreign rights for White Gold being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TimeCrime imprint in 2014.
You can keep in touch with Rachel via her mailing list: http://www.rachelamphlett.com/mailing-list.html or via Facebook and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett
To celebrate the release of Look Closer on 24 March 2015, Rachel Amphlett has generously provided 3 ebook copies for giveaway:
- open internationally
- extra entries for spreading the word via Twitter [+2] and Facebook/Google+/Webpage [+4]
- entries close midnight 31 March 2015
SORRY, ENTRIES NOW CLOSED – Winners announced HERE