Rachel Amphlett is proof that if you’re determined enough you can achieve your dream.

The author, who lives near Dorchester, has become a best-selling author after redundancy from her job led her to writing full-time.

The USA Today bestselling novelist is a prolific novelist who has written three popular series – the Detective Kay Hunter novels, the English Spy Mysteries and the Dan Taylor spy thrillers, as well as a number of standalone books.

Next month she will release None the Wiser, a new murder mystery book series featuring Detective Sergeant Mark Turpin.

Rachel, who lived in Queensland, Australia, for 13 years, says redundancy from her job in Brisbane gave her the push she needed to write.

She said: “I decided to self-publish White Gold in July 2011 after receiving a few rejections from agents and publishers who didn’t feel that a spy thriller written by a female author would be marketable. I only pitched to about three agents and two publishers - I’m not very patient.

“I became a full-time writer in July 2017 when I was made redundant – losing my job was the push I needed to have the confidence in trying to make a living from my writing!”

Before turning to writing, Rachel was a keen musician. She said she has always had a creative streak and used to play guitars in bands.

“It can be very hard to serve two creative masters,” she said. “Being in a band was a bit like herding cats. If you can get people to turn up you’re halfway there.”

Her writing career started up after she took a creative writing course and started by getting into a routine of fitting writing into her job, she said.

“When I lived in Australia I was 30 minutes out of Brisbane and when I would catch the train to work as a project administrator, every morning I would write 500 words.

“They say it takes six weeks to make something into a habit. It’s the same with going to the gym.”

Even though Rachel was eventually made redundant from her job, the habit continued.

She would write every morning and soon she had produced her first book, spy thriller White Gold.

“I was initially told there wasn’t a market for women writing spy novels,” she said.

“I started getting these emails from people all around the world saying they loved the book. And then I started writing the next book in the Dan Taylor series Under Fire. And I’m still doing this nine years later.”

Since Rachel became a full-time writer her output has been prolific. She now writes three books a year.

Her books first became popular in the Kobo format in Australia and Canada and she is now trying to get more visibility in the US.

Her new book None the Wiser is set in Oxfordshire and begins with a parish priest being brutally murdered in cold blood and a rural community left in shock – and fear.

New to the Vale of the White Horse, Detective Sergeant Mark Turpin discovers the murder bears the hallmark of a vicious killer who shows no remorse for his victim, and leaves no trace behind.

Rachel’s second book in the Detective Mark Turpin series will be published in November, while book three will be released next year. Rachel wrote the three books in a row and said she had a ‘lot of fun’ writing them.

She felt like she ‘knew’ her protagonist, a complex character who transfers to the local police force.

“I didn’t want to write the cliche of a damaged detective. When you meet detectives in real life they’re hard working and they’re not damaged and alcoholics. For me I wanted to convey the passion Mark has for the job and the sense of justice he has,” she said.

“I really enjoyed writing the interaction between him and his colleagues and it was a nice change as crime fiction can be very dark.”

Remembering what it was like herself as a writer struggling to get published, Rachel has set up a ‘reader’s group’ containing a newsletter full of tips for those aspiring to be published.

She said: “I’m a disciplined person and I know that writing takes a lot of perseverance. I say to people once you write a book you become a project manager.”

Rachel used to teach a creative writing group in Australia.

“I love watching people’s faces when they have that lightbulb moment,” she says. They think ‘now I get it’. There’s that real sense of achievement and learning from each other.

“There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing a book if you want to share it with your family. But a business plan is important if you want to share a book with a wider audience.”

Last year as a sea change from crime Rachel released a psychological thriller called The Friend Who Lied.

“When I wrote a psychological thriller it was because the idea popped into my head.

“I had this idea of the claustrophobic atmosphere of an escape room and there’s one person who doesn’t come out alive.

I find that when I go to see a film you can remember clips from it in your head - that’s how I think of the ideas for a novel. It’s a case of the idea and the character has taken residence in your head and you just have to write it.”

Making the decision to live in Dorset was a relatively easy one for Rachel.

There is nothing she enjoys more than walking her saluki dog Floyd - and those walks offer valuable thinking time for storylines, she says.

“I love that time mooching around the village walking my dog,” she says. “It’s quality time and it’s good thinking time. I can be walking past somewhere and thinking ‘that would be a really good place to bury a body!’

“We came to Dorset because it was time for a new challenge. The last few summers in Queensland were so hot and my parents had retired to Dorset from Berkshire. When we moved back to the UK we were glamping where they live and we thought ‘we might just stay in this area’.

“We’re pretty much settled in Dorchester. I really enjoy being back in the countryside. It’s really picturesque.

“I would never say never to setting a novel in Dorset.

“There are plenty of inspiring places around here, even if I use fictional names for the villages I write about.

“I take elements of what I know I and plonk it in there.”

One subject Rachel is hugely passionate about is libraries.

“I’ve been donating a lot of my books to Dorset libraries.

“When I was younger growing up in Berkshire I used to live quite close to the local library and it was the only way my parents could have kept up with my voracious reading habits!”

“I don’t want to put my books on Kindle Unlimited. I say to my readers go to your library if you want to read the books for free.”

  • None the Wiser will be published on Monday, March 9 by Saxon.

It’s available to pre-order to Waterstone’s Dorchester or it can be pre-ordered to a local independent bookshop at hive.co.uk