I love the research phase of writing my books. It is always a shock to me how easy it is to find out how to kill somebody on the internet – or even how to find somebody to do it for you! Not all of my research is online, of course. There are certain things that need to be understood from experts – in particular any elements of police procedure. I don’t base my writing on the approaches witnessed in television programmes. I go straight to somebody who knows what really happens – a real, experienced, ex-detective chief inspector. And that too surprises me, though I always expect a significant difference between what we see on the television and reality.
Earlier this year, I published a novel – Stranger Child – which did very well for me. It’s a novel I’m proud of. In the UK it has just under 1300 Five Star reviews and was the 11th highest selling book on the UK Kindle in the first six months of the year – and that’s across all authors – just being pipped into the top ten by Lee Child (but that’s fair enough!). However, as Stranger Child only came out at the end of February, thereby losing two months’ sales, it would have been interesting to see what the picture might have been with a full six months to go on!
Following is an interview with Rachel, originally published on NovelKicks, 21 April 2015. What is your new novel, Stranger Child about, and what inspired it? If I had to find one word which sums up what Stranger Child is about, it would have to be revenge – but that nowhere near covers it. Emma Jacobs met David – now her husband – several years ago, but they lost touch when she went to Australia. When she came back, she was horrified to learn that David’s first wife had been killed in a car accident, and his six-year-old daughter had disappeared from the scene. Now, six years later, Emma and David have put the past behind them and are happily married with a new baby, Ollie. And then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world falls apart. Emma discovers things about her own past that shock her, and when …
June is National Crime Reading Month in the UK, and so it’s time for you all to choose your favourite crime writers, and get reading. I’d love to know what you are reading – just add a comment. To celebrate this exciting month, my latest novel – Stranger Child – is going into an Amazon Kindle promotion not just in the UK, but in the US and Australia too. Since launch, Stranger Child has been incredibly successful, remaining in the top twenty for three months after launch, and still in the top 100. With over 800 reviews, it has a star rating of an amazing 4.7. The promotional prices are 99p, $1.99 and $(AUS) 1.49 If you don’t read on the Kindle, you will be pleased to hear that a paperback version of Stranger Child is also available (although sadly not in the promotion). Please do share this with your …
I love and hate the question “where do you get your inspiration from?” in equal measure. I love it because it makes me reflect on how I came up with each idea, and I hate it because it makes me feel vulnerable. The worst thing that could happen to a writer is running out of inspiration, and each time I finish a book I think, “I’m never going to have such a good idea again”. So it’s a very worrying question!
One of the great joys of writing novels is the fact that – as the author – you get to build the characters you want to. You can make them as evil or as wonderful as you like, and they can embody the worst of human behaviour, or the best. I am a great people watcher, and I am totally fascinated by the way individuals treat each other and react to situations. When I see a behaviour that is interesting, I store it up, ready to paste it into one of my character profiles, usually exaggerated to make a fairly simple human failing into something considerably more sinister.
I am often asked why I chose to self-publish, and the answer is that it wasn’t really a conscious decision. I had written my first book – Only the Innocent – because the idea for the story had been buzzing around in my head for about ten years, and so one very cold winter I decided I was going to spend my days writing a novel. It’s the best decision I think I have ever made!
People often ask me why I decided to write thrillers, and I’m never sure what the right answer is. I have always loved reading thrillers – not so much traditional crime fiction, but more the psychological, slightly twisted, tales that chill a person to the bone. But that’s not the only type of fiction that I enjoy. I’ll happily read just about any book, so why did I choose to write crime? I would argue that my books aren’t really about crime. The underlying story is about people – how they behave towards each other, treat each other, and abuse their power. But as there is always a crime committed as a result of this behaviour, it becomes necessary to have a police presence. Without a doubt, though, I would say my books are more about the ‘why’ than the ‘who, what, where’ of a traditional crime novel.
I am very happy to welcome author Rob Sinclair to the blog today. Rob is the author of the Enemy series of thrillers featuring intelligence agent Carl Logan. He self-published his first novel, Dance with the Enemy, in 2014 to widespread acclaim and recently released the follow-up novel, Rise of the Enemy. Today Rob discusses why it’s important for self-published authors to understand that they are also entrepreneurs. Writing a best seller is easy, isn’t it? It’s just a process of stringing together 100,000 words in the correct order. If it’s good enough, getting the book to sell is then a no-brainer, of course. From your very first reader, word of mouth will simply take control and spiral outwards across the globe. Within weeks your book will be topping the charts, have been translated into several languages and you’ll have received several offers for film rights from big Hollywood studios.
This is a hastily written blog post in response to requests for information on marketing self-published books – so I apologise in advance for any errors. I am sitting in my hotel room with my laptop balanced precariously on my knee with half an hour before I have to leave to catch a train! The reason for the haste is that yesterday I attended an excellent event hosted by ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors), and it was reported by the equally excellent of Joanna Penn (of www.thecreativepenn.com) that my blog has advice on successful marketing for independent authors.