Thursday 1 February 2018

Interview: Rachel Lynch

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Today, I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dark Game by Rachel Lynch, published by Canelo. Read on for my exclusive Q&A with the author herself!

How did you first become interested in writing?
I’ve always written; it could be poems, plays, diaries or stories. It’s how I like to express myself, and it makes me calm, so whenever I get the chance, I’ll work on a story.
Tell me about Dark Game.
Dark Game is a gritty thriller set in the Lake District, which is the perfect setting for the genre. My protagonist is DI Kelly Porter, and she comes face to face with some pretty nasty criminals while investigating a series of brutal crimes that appear to be linked.
What’s the best thing about writing crime fiction?
It’s difficult to choose. The ability to explore the darker side of humanity has always fascinated me; I was a history teacher for many years and nothing much surprises me about the way we humans treat one another. Dark Game has been called ‘gruesome’ and it ‘pulls no punches’ but that’s human nature and I didn’t want to shy away from that.
What drew you to writing in this genre?
Again, I think it’s my historical background and the need to find reasons for actions and events. I’m naturally curious and I’ve loved reading and watching the genre from an early age: from Scooby Doo to Peter James. Creating suspense is the most exciting challenge for me.
Did you undertake much research for the book?
I always research, and I’ve spoken to several police officers, both serving and retired. However, the meat of the book (the characters, the crimes, the setting and the pace) is usually all in my head. I do want my writing to be authentic and so it’s vital to research the forensic detail and police procedures.
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How did you get inspiration?
The Lake District and its dramatic landscape give me 99% of my inspiration. I don’t live there anymore but I visit as often as I can, and a story always pops into my head whether I’m in the middle of a dense forest or swimming across a lake.
What’s your writing process like?
I think I’m quite disciplined. I write when the kids are at school and so I’ve got to be as productive as I can for those six hours. I generally leave everything else until after, because it will always get done, whereas writing needs my utmost concentration. Weekends are a non-starter, what with sports and family stuff, so during the week, 9-3, is my work time. 
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is rejection. Whatever I put on paper is revelatory of me and that is then examined by strangers who have opinions. I write best when I use my instinct and not my intellect (to coin a phrase from my agent) and I immerse myself in the story, rather than worry about how it might be received.
What do you love most about writing?
It brings me enormous peace. I can escape into countless worlds that make me laugh and cry. The best feeling is being so carried away with a chapter that by the end of it, you never realised that your heart was beating so fast.
Which authors inspire you?
Different authors have inspired different parts of my life. When I was at college, Maya Angelou took my breath away. Primo Levi’s courage to write about himself, the pure craft of Arthur Miller or Tennessee William’s plays, the depth and staggering multi-dimensions of the work of Robert Fisk, the satire of Ben Elton, the heart thumping storytelling of Dean Koontz, and the historical mastery of Piers Brendon, all inspire me in different ways. I’ve also been a sucker for a good Danielle Steele.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
Gosh, that’s hard! There are too many to choose from but one of them would be Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy because I was an emerging woman when I read it, and Tess, for me, was one of Hardy’s greatest creations. It’s also one of my favourite periods in English history. Like him, I’m a bit of a cynic, and it exposes much of the trappings of ‘progress’ in society’s incessant quest for change, and its victims.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Like any writer, I want readers to want more. I’ve had incredibly positive reviews so far, and I hope DI Kelly Porter catches the imagination of the genre. I’ve got other stories to explore too, and I’ve only just begun this journey.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I have to exercise else I get lethargic and grumpy, so I run about twenty miles a week and I go to the gym. I love cooking, especially curries, and I create my own recipes. We have a lovable cross-breed terrier, called Poppy, who likes a lot of attention. I spend a lot of time gathering information for new projects and my house is littered with maps, guidebooks and books. I’m pretty technophobic!
Dark Game is available to buy now. To keep up with Rachel and her writing, you can follow her on Twitter.

Will you be reading the book? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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