Author Interview with Australian Author RJ Amos

Author RJ Amos - Author Services Australia

Author Interview with Australian Author RJ Amos

Welcome to Author Services Australia RJ Amos, and welcome to our author interviews! If you could start by introducing yourself to everyone, let them know where you’re from and some of your interests and hobbies.

Hi Everyone, my fiction author name is RJ Amos, my first name is Ruth. I’m from Kingston, Tasmania, where I live with my husband. I have two grown up children, two kids-in-law and two amazing grandsons (one from each of my children). I don’t feel very old, but I am a grandmother whose hobbies include writing murder mysteries and knitting so that makes me sound very old indeed. I also love dancing, playing the bass, and walking along the beach. Any beach will do, but I love the beach that is walking distance from our house, though I’m more likely to drive my mini down. I would say that I love swimming, but I live in Tasmania and haven’t graduated to the winter swimming club yet.

What inspired you to start writing?

I have always been a whale reader, just devouring books. As a child I would read ten books a week. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when I was around thirteen years old and read Anna Karenina before I was twenty. In our family, authors were superheroes. But I had no understanding that I had a strong desire to write until after I had finished my PhD in chemistry. I had started a new job, had a new computer that I wanted to play with, and didn’t know exactly what the research was that I would be performing yet, so I opened up a Word document and started writing stream-of-consciousness style. And what came out was, “This is what I really want to do – I want to write for a living.”

That job got busy, and I forgot about the writing idea. I didn’t have time to do it in between writing papers, doing lab work, and travelling to conferences. But after four years that contract ended and another started, and I had the same situation where I didn’t have a lot to do. So, I opened the Word document again, scrolled to the bottom, and started writing.

Once again, I wrote “This is what I really want to do – I want to write for a living.” Then I thought I’d scroll up and see what I had written before. And that’s when I realised what I really wanted to do. (I needed it to hit me over the head, obviously.) After that epiphany, I took writing seriously, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and beginning my first murder mystery (set in a university, and based on my own experiences). I haven’t looked back since.

What is your preferred genre to write in?

I write mystery and crime. All of my stories are set in the present day, all of them are cosy, and all involve crime of one sort or another. Not all of them are murders, but there are some. And not all of them are set on Earth, or at least not for the whole of the book, anyway. My work has been described as a collection of love letters to small towns in Tasmania.

What is your writing process?

I begin by chatting about the story with my husband, and then I write out a page-long plot. I break the plot into scenes and put each one into a new text file in Scrivener. Then, as I do my writing each day, I write the next scene that’s in front of me. I usually read the last few paragraphs of what I wrote the day before so that I’m jumping in with the right voice. I try to write for half an hour first thing each weekday.

As I go through the story, the plot always changes. I might be writing and decide that the character is too two-dimensional, so I give them a backstory. Then the backstory influences what’s happening in the story in the present, so I add more scenes. Or I’m writing and I realise that the story has jumped from one scene to another too quickly and that more is needed, so I add another new scene. Or I just realise that this twist or that one will make the story so much better.

This can lead to great frustration if I can’t figure out where the story should go, or what is wrong with it right now. Sometimes I stop and write in pen on paper to get things flowing again. I still try to spend half an hour with the story each day even if I’m not typing anything. Writing doesn’t always look like mad typing. I’m so grateful for how Scrivener makes it easy to drop a new scene in that you didn’t know you needed originally, or to take a snapshot of what you’ve already written so that you can start writing the scene again.

What is one thing you wish you knew now that you didn’t know when you started writing?

I wish I knew that I am happier with a book if I’ve taken the time to make it the best that I possibly can. When I started, I thought I’d write three books a year but now I’ve slowed that down considerably. It feels very slow, but I’m so much happier and much more proud of the books I’m putting out. I am determined not to rush, and to make something that I can promote with confidence because I know it’s the best thing I can write right now.

What was the hardest part of self-publishing?

I’m sure everyone says this, but I find the marketing very hard. I haven’t figured out what works best for me yet – something that will sell books but that will also be sustainable long term. One thing I’m trying and enjoying is selling my books at markets in small towns. My latest novel is set in Cygnet Tasmania, and they have a market twice a month, so I went down there and paid $20 for a stall and sold a few books. It was a fun day, and I made some sales.The Universe Is A Small Place - Author RJ Amos

I enjoy the self-discipline and the process of writing, though there are days when it’s hard to get to the page. But mostly, sitting in a room and telling myself a story is great fun. But the process of marketing … it leaves a lot to be desired. But I just need to learn and keep trying until I find something that is sustainable.

If you use a pen name, why and how did you come up with it?

I write both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction is self-help with a spiritual bent so I decided to have that distinct from my fiction, which started with murder mysteries. I thought that I could use my initials for my fiction and my full name for my nonfiction. I have three given names, and I chose the two initials that are easiest to say. (RJ is easier to say than RI).

Which book is your favorite and why?

The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge. This is lovely gentle literary fiction that explores failure. When I was a stay-at-home mum with two children I felt like a total failure and this book helped me to see that what I thought of as failure might actually be exactly what was needed in the moment. It got to the point that if my husband saw me reading this book again he would know to go and buy me some chocolate and treat me with care!

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club). Ann Cleeves. Kathy Reichs. Dorothy Sayers. JRR Tolkien (Dad read The Lord of the Rings aloud to us when I was a child. So Special). Jane Duncan (Janet Sandison). Jane Austen. Douglas Adams. Georgette Heyer. I lean more towards English fiction than anything else. And mostly the beginning of the 20th century or anything with that Golden Age feel.

What are you working on right now?

A mystery set partly in Cygnet, Tasmania and partly in space. It’s a sequel to The Universe is a Small Place. It is a novel with an environmental message – I’m exploring how we can work with our planet rather than just destroy it in order to feed our greed. But in the case of the planet in my book, the characters can ask the planet exactly how it feels about things. It’s a sapient planet, able to think, feel and communicate. That makes life interesting!

What’s next for you as an author?

On my non-fiction side, I have just written a book, a workbook and a course that helps other people to find the thing they love doing that they can give to the world. It’s called Boots That Fit. I’m hoping to run courses in person and online and I’ll be pitching podcasts and doing more interviews like this one. And hopefully I’ll be seeing a lot of readers and course participants find what they love to do and making the time to do it. I want to see a whole community of people enjoy their own creativity and give their unique gifts to the world.

I’ll keep working on my novel and hopefully publish by Christmas next year. Then I will write the long-awaited sequel to Small Town Trouble. I definitely have enough to keep me going for a while!

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?

I went to a hen’s party once where we all were asked quiz questions about the bride. This was one of the questions – what superpower would she most like? I had absolutely no idea, and I wouldn’t have even thought of her answer as being a superpower, but after she told us, I realised that this is my favourite superpower too. The power is translocation, so that you can travel anywhere in an instant. At the time, her future husband was living in Sydney and she was in Tasmania. I love the idea of travel, but struggle with the actuality of planes and airports. And my daughter is planning to live and work on the other side of the world. So if I could translocate, I could easily go and visit my daughter and her family wherever she lives in the world, and I could explore the Yorkshire Downs, the Hebrides, Germany, Antarctica … all the places I would love to go. Tasmania is so far away from everywhere.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview RJ Amos!

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Author Name: RJ Amos

Genre/s: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Romantic suspense (all cosy)

Author Website:

Social Media Links: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon Author Central.

Best Link to Where People Can Buy Your Book: RJ Amos Shop, Amazon & Apple Books, and Kobo.


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Author RJ Amos - Author Services Australia

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