After returning to writing, Rachel enjoyed publication success both in Australia and the United Kingdom with her short stories.
In August 2011, Rachel published her first thriller, ‘White Gold’, as an eBook with a paperback version being released in 2012.
A further Dan Taylor thriller, ‘Under Fire’, was released in August 2013.
A standalone suspense novel is scheduled for release in early 2014, while two more projects are currently being researched, including the third instalment in the Dan Taylor series.
What inspires you to write?
News stories mostly – I have about 12 news sites saved in my Favourites which I browse through over my coffee first thing in the morning (usually from 4:30am onwards if I’m working that day). Due to the nature of my thrillers, I read reports on advances in technology, sustainability and health as well as environmental and political issues. There’s often 4-6 stories a week which will then get filed away in an “Ideas” folder or used as direct research material for my current WIP.
I love documentaries – especially engineering ones as my brain isn’t wired up that way so I need things explained to me simplistically! I also enjoy anything to do with history and geology/earth sciences.
It’s because I’m constantly soaking up all this information that the writing ideas keep bubbling to the surface. I’m never stuck for what to write next.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’ve developed a new habit in order to fit my writing in around a full-time job and that is to sit on the train into work in the mornings, laptop open and get my head down and write as much as I can in the 40 minutes it takes to get into the city from where I live.
I’m a better planner now, so I’ll have a separate file for each chapter with some bullet points listed at the top describing what I want to capture in that chapter and go from there. It’s proving to be a very productive exercise.
Once I’ve got the bulk of the work down, say about 50,000 words, then I’ll print it all out, do some minor edits and have my husband do a rough structural edit. Once that’s done, I sit down and repeat the original exercise to ‘plug the gaps’ and off I go again. After that’s done, I’ll use an A4 notebook to write out scenes and sequences to insert, type it all up then a second structural edit is carried out.
I also ALWAYS carry around an A5 moleskine notebook – I love these because they’ve got a pocket at the back where you can keep index cards with scenes on, character traits etc so I’m at an advantage if I come up with an idea when I’m in the middle of travelling somewhere. It’s proved invaluable – my current WIP, a romantic suspense novel, was conceptualised on a yacht off the coast of Malta last year. By the time we’d arrived back at the harbour at the end of the day trip, I had the entire plot sketched out as well as most of the character traits because I was so chilled out on the boat, the ideas just flowed!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
What advice would you give other writers?
Firstly, you’d better be doing this because you love writing. If you’re setting out on this journey in the hope of making a quick buck, chances are you’re going to be disappointed.
Once that manuscript is as polished as you can get it, pay for professional edit. Think of it as an investment..
Pay to have a professional book cover designed. Go to them with examples of other authors’ book covers in your genre, but work with them to get what’s best for your book. Remember, they’re not psychic so give them as much information as possible at the start of the process.
Finally – be nice. Support other authors. Say thank you publicly to people who help you. Promote their work. Act professionally at all times.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished my first thriller, White Gold, I approached 5-6 literary agents who represented thriller authors I admired. Although a couple of them came back with a template rejection letter, the rest took the time to explain that they liked my writing but their publishing clients weren’t looking for the sort of thing I was writing about.
I’d posted White Gold onto the HarperCollins’ Autonomy website and it’d been getting some really good feedback so it seemed a shame not to share it properly. I got in touch with an Australian author, Vicky Tyley, who had self-published her thrillers successfully and she gave me the confidence to give it a go.
The feedback for the eBook version of White Gold was so good, I then published as a paperback using print on demand back in 2012 and I haven’t looked back since.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the hybrid contract is going to become more prominent – you look at authors such as Hugh Howey and James Oswald who have retained their eBook rights and have sold paperback rights to major publishers. I think that’s a really good balancing act for the publishing world. I don’t think bookshops are going anywhere, but it’s up to authors and readers alike to support them as much as possible.
I like eBooks because the format enables me to discover new authors at a fraction of the cost but I buy my favourite authors’ books in paperback and all my non-fiction research material is in paperback.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
thriller, suspense, action, adventure, military, ecothriller, technothriller, espionage
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print