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Welsh Murder Book. B E Jones

Today I’d delighted to welcome B E Jones onto my blog but before we get cracking on hearing about her story she’d like to tell you about something very exciting. The first CRIME CYMRU FESTIVAL.

Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival

I hope my stories, which deal with the dark side of human nature, are ones that anyone could relate to, but I think ‘Welsh crime’, as a genre, has a long way to go to reach the levels of awareness and glamour that, say, the booming Scandi Noir, or Scotland’s Tartan Noir scene, has experienced.  We still need to convince readers (and publishers) that there are a huge number of Welsh crime writers now, producing everything from unsettling psychological mysteries to brilliantly atmospheric historical thrillers. To address this, the Welsh crime writing collective Crime Cymru, which I’m a member of, is launching Wales’s first crime festival, the Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival in Aberystwyth, in spring 2022. We have some international names on the books, not just Welsh writers, at the weekend-long event that is already in the works.

This year, because of COVID 19, we are launching a ‘taster’ festival online, Virtual CRIME CYMRU Digidol, completely free, from April 26 – May 2, 2021. If you’d like to book a ticket then pop along to the website, www.GwylCrimeCymruFestival.co.uk to see the emerging line-up of guests. Or join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @GwylCrimeCymruFestival and @Crime.Cymru.

Don’t forget to book your place! Now back to hearing a little more about Beverley…

My Wales

A Country of Contrasts

I grew up in the Rhondda Valleys during the post-coal slump of the 1980s, so my Wales is a landscape of contrasts and complexity. It’s definitely played a huge part in the texture and emotional flavour of my novels.

As a bookish kid, living in a small terraced house where every penny counted, it was hard to feel that being Welsh was anything but something to be glossed over, not celebrated. As I, like many of the inhabitants of the old coalfields, don’t speak Welsh, it was easy to feel excluded from the cultural life of a country whose poetry and literature I couldn’t understand. In many ways I had to go away in order to appreciate just what a beautiful and inspirational country I was born into.

My gritty psychological crime stories are inspired by the places and circumstances I often felt trapped by as a child, as well as my career as a journalist and police press officer. But the remarkable landscapes of Wales, from the rugged beauty of the Brecon Beacons to the stunning heritage coastline of the south, is present in every one too. 

Murderous Mileage.

For years, my husband and I have been hiking the stupendously beautiful hills and seashores of our homeland, most recently with our high-energy wire fox terrier Erin (aka the mini monster), an avid explorer in her own right.

There are so many places that hum with energy and possibility here, little spots among the weather- worn panoramas of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons especially, that spark ideas, suggest stories, secrets and subterfuge. With my novel Halfway, it was a wintry drive through the old droving heartland, to the stately market town of Llandovery, that made a scenario jump into my fiction-obsessed brain. At the bottom of a narrow, tree-strung valley was a sign that said ‘Halfway’, close to a faded lady of a boarded-up chapel and a frost-furred war memorial – nothing else. I was fascinated by the idea of a place that exists to let you know you’re between two other more important destinations, and it’s just as far to go back as to go on. It made me think of a turning point, perhaps a choice and also, what a grimly picturesque spot for a murder!

In the same way, the endless skies of the Gower, where we explore the bones of shipwrecks and follow tumbly paths to hidden coves where Erin digs sand pits for Britain, became the inspiration for Where She Went, my only novel with a contemporary supernatural twist. There’s always something sinister lurking yards away from the stunning sunsets, especially when jealousy and ambition are involved.

Dangerous Terrain

My latest novel Wilderness starts in one of the grimier housing estates that sprawl outside Cardiff, but is set mainly in New York city and the National Parks of North America, where an unhappy couple’s dream holiday might turn deadly. The title is a nod to the emotions the mercurial landscapes of home (urban as well as rural) always bring to the surface in me, the sense of feeling awed but also insignificant, and an awareness of the danger lurking behind the beautiful or familiar if you don’t watch your step.

Most weekends, when we’re not in pandemic lockdown, you’ll find me in my walking boots, pockets full of chicken chews for the fur face, tramping new trails.  While my husband navigates, carrying the coffee and sensible spare jackets in his rucksack, just in case, I draw on the inspiration of the landscapes to formulate dastardly plots.

In this way, my Wales is a collision of the wild places outside and the wild places inside us all, that we try so hard to hide.

My Writing Life

Write What You Read

I started scribbling stories when I was about seven years old, though my first efforts tended to feature precocious children from the Home Counties solving mysteries, or plucky Victorian orphans escaping conniving relatives.

This might seem odd, considering it was the 1980s in the South Wales valleys, but I was reading a lot of Enid Blyton and plucky girls’ annuals then. Your writing life is often influenced by your reading life, and, by my teens, as well as bingeing on Stephen King, I was delving into the queens of crime, Patricia Highsmith and PD James, masters (mistresses?)  of the style of writing that creates a sense of self- serving unease beneath a civilised exterior. Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, was the genius of the ‘psychological thriller’ decades before it became a popular buzzword. A Fatal Inversion, which I read when I was 16, had a huge influence on my own work.

Write What You Know

At 17, I was blown away by Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Mesmerised by her truly horrible group of students at an isolated New England college. Perhaps it’s no surprise that my first novel, Lies You Tell, published in 2014, after eight years of writing around the insane hours of my journalism day jobs, featured a young journalist who suspects one of her former college friends might be involved in a missing persons investigation. During my work with the police, I was right in the heart of this daily world of crime and human frailty.  What fascinated me most was how people rarely think they’re the villain of the piece, we just find rationalisations for the terrible, selfish things we do until we step over a line. Everyone can justify almost anything, and believe me they’ll try, in that interview room or courtroom. That’s why there are no serial killers with complex rituals and fetishes in my novels. My characters operate in that grey area – they’re people like you and me, and they’re closer to us than we like to think.

Write However You Can

I’m not a planner – usually I know exactly where I want to end up and often write the last scene first, because I’ve seen a snapshot of a situation I know will make a great finale. Sometimes I hear a few lines of dialogue that trigger a prologue loaded with a taste of the crimes to come. I like to drop a reader right into the middle of the action if I can, then take them backwards and show them how the characters got there. Though I don’t always know the exact route I’m going to take between the stops, things seem to come out alright in the end.

My books

Wilderness – Book Blurb

Two weeks, 1500 miles and three opportunities for her husband to save his own life. It wasn’t about his survival – it was about hers. 

Shattered by the discovery of her husband’s affair, Liv knows they need to leave the chaos of New York to try to save their marriage. Maybe the road trip that they’d always planned, exploring America’s national parks, just the two of them, would help heal the wounds. But what Liv hasn’t told her husband is that she has set him three challenges, three opportunities to prove he’s really sorry and worthy of her forgiveness.

And if he fails? Well, it’s dangerous out there. There are so many ways to die in the wilderness. And if it’s easy to die, then it’s easy to kill too. If their marriage can’t survive, maybe he can’t either. 

Halfway – Book Blurb

There’s a killer behind and trouble ahead

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers in the inhospitable, wild countryside. One winter’s night, Lee, a student hitching home for Christmas, and Becca a local nurse, end up knocking on the door as a blizzard takes hold. But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father, upstairs in bed, trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd holds the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to escape the boredom and heads out into the snow.

Meanwhile, as the strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, they soon realise they might have been safer on the road, especially when Lee finds something interesting in the cellar – which is nowhere near as interesting as what’s under the old man’s bed. If everyone is lying, who do you trust? Available here

Previous Titles

Where She Went, 2017, Little Brown

Fear the Dark – 2018 Little Brown (previously Dreamcatcher, 2014, Yolk Publishing, Oxford.)

Make Him Pay – 2018 Little Brown (previously Holiday Money, 2013, Cutting Edge Press, London.)

Beverley, thank you for popping by and telling us a little more about your Wales, your writing and all about the Crime Cymru Festival.

About B E Jones

Beverley Jones (B E Jones) is a former journalist and police press officer. She was born in a small village in the valleys of South Wales and worked as a print journalist with Trinity Mirror newspapers, before becoming a broadcast journalist with BBC Wales Today.

She also worked as a press officer and media manager for South Wales Police, participating in criminal investigations, security operations, counter terrorism and emergency planning. She channels these experiences of true crime, and her insight into the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers.

Her most recent novels, Where She Went, Halfway and Wilderness are published by Little Brown. Wilderness has recently been optioned by Firebird Pictures for development into a six-part TV series.

You can follow Bev on Twitter and Instagram @bevjoneswriting

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Welsh Murder Book. GB Williams

Today on my blog I have the very great pleasure of inviting the fabulous GB Williams to tell us about her Wales, her writing and finally, her books. Over to you, GB.

My Wales

I came to Wales as a short stop off before supposedly taking a year out to go around the world. Then I met this guy. Kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye. So for me Wales has always been about the people, well one of them anyway. Yes, I married a Welshman and we have two Welsh(ish) kids – well they were never going to be completely free of an English influence with me in the house. I started off in Caerphilly, then we lived a long while just outside Ebbw Vale, and for the last 21 years, we’ve been in Swansea. 

I love Swansea, it’s got everything I need shopping wise – or did when we were able to go shopping – and what I really love is that 20 mins in one direction and I’m on the beach, 20 mins in the other direction I’m on the mountain.  What more could I ask for?

One of the things I’ve always like about Wales, is the stories.  So my Wales kind of looks like this:

What a great map!!!

This is a photograph of the Strumpshaw, Tincleton& Giggleswick’s Great British Literature Map (marvellousmaps.com).  It marks places that appear in books, locations of festivals and other locations that may be of interest to the literature lover.

Wales definitely has a voice of its own, and not just the choirs or the sound of its history.  Wales has a now, it has a future, there are so many creatives in Wales, and there’s so much support and friendship on offer.  Just because we tend to be the forgotten country in the UK, doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to say, we do. And it’s time for the world to hear us.

My Writing Life

I’ve always written.  Literally always.  Even as a little kid. It was all I ever wanted to do. However, I also had this urge to keep a roof over my head, and being good at maths and logic meant that I could do that better with a day job. Once I married, had kids, a full-time job and was studying part time for a degree – writing had to take a back seat, but it never went away.

Three days.

That’s is, that’s my max for not writing. After three days, my brain starts to itch and I have to write something, it’s really annoying. I can write anywhere and I have. I’d jot down a few lines in the notebook while running programs in work (I used to design and build databases). I’ve written waiting for appointments, waiting to pick the kids up, waiting for anything. I write in the car – assuming someone else is driving, otherwise it would be dangerous. I write on the sofa, in bed, in the garden, at the dinner table – especially when away with work and eating alone.

And I’ll write on anything.  These days it’s usually on a laptop straight into Scrivener. I like Scrivener as it’s easy to move scenes around, but I tend to do the final run throughs on Word though. For years, I used to write long hand and then type stuff up. I usually have a notebook with me – not to mention the usual store of them in the house, I prefer hard back and spiral bound lined books to work with. With modern smartphones, I will use the phone if there’s nothing else, but I did once end up using an eyeliner pencil on a paper napkin because I had to get an idea down and had nothing else to hand. After years on a computer, I now have RSI, so sometimes I use speech to text programs, which I use will depend on where I am, but I’m finding Speechnotes and even the Word direct option both work well enough. This is a particularly good option for transferring work I’ve written on paper.

Like a lot of people I spent years keeping my work in notebooks on computer files that I did nothing with. Then the kids grew up and I had a bit more time on my hands and I did start putting my writing out there, and eventually, I got published. Yey!

Having been made redundant in 2020, I decided not to return to the day jobbery, and have set up as a freelance editor. I’ve been freelancing for seven years, but now I can take on more individual work. This means I can focus on the things I love – family and literature. And not getting stressed beyond endurance.

At the moment, I am polishing off a standalone thriller, haven’t got a publisher yet, but then haven’t started putting it out yet either. I’ve working on a police procedural that’s proving elusive and may go back on the shelf for a while. I’m in the middle of an editing commission too. I also write steampunk as Abi Barden, so I’ve got the last of a series of five to do the final edit on there, and a brand-new trilogy in development. I’ve also got a number of other projects that are bubbling away in the back of my head.  So there’s never a lack of things to be done.

It doesn’t stop there of course. I’m part of the Crime Writers Association, and am the convener for the Welsh Chapter.  I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders. I’m also secretary for Crime Cymru, and we’re in the process of putting together Wales’ first festival focusing on crime writing. More details will be released as we progress, so keep an eye out for Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival.

My book

On a snowbound Cader Idris, death comes stalking.

Cobb retreated to Cader Idris for a solitary life of peace and quiet, and to escape his dangerous past. Though that illusion starts to crumble after he and Branwen Jones, the local vet, find a mysterious RTA victim and shelter him in Cobb’s home.

When elements of London’s criminal underbelly reach Wales, and their presence throws the close-knit community into stark relief, the chance to settle old scores could prove too tempting.

With no choice but to try and hide the RTA victim from people who want to kill him, Cobb’s not sure he’s ready to rejoin the world he’s running from, when that means putting another woman in the firing line. Meanwhile, Branwen’s not sure she can face the revelation of her darkest secret.

But as they face the final showdown, a race over the snowed-in mountain, will anyone survive unscathed?

Buy From: 

Local Bookshops

The Publisher: https://www.thunderpoint.scot/The-Chair-p259197989

Or you know who: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chair-GB-Williams/dp/1913853020/

Thank you, GB. I loved reading your story and seeing the map. In a way your writing life feels a little like mine, stuck between the day job and kid commitments. I too use voice recognition software in an effort to drive up the word count, sometimes with hilarious results! Look forward to reading your books.

About GB Williams

Specialising in complex, fast-paced crime novels.  GB’s debut novel, “Locked Up”, was released in 2017 and was the first of the Locked Trilogy.  “The Chair” released November 2020 and is hugely influenced by the authors time living in the South East of England and in Wales.

GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story “Last Shakes”, now available in “Last Cut Casebook”. She is also a freelance editor. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with steampunk novels and short stories in various genres including steampunk, horror, erotica and general fiction. 

Originally from Kent, GB moved to South Wales as a supposed first step on a year around the world.  Then she met a guy.  Kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye. Knowing that the best way to travel is by book anyway, she has always read, always written. GB now has two grown-up children, the world’s most imperious cat, a house full of books and a hard drive full of manuscripts (though some will never be allowed out of a locked basement).

A person leaning against a tree

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Welsh Murder Book. Thorne Moore

Hi everyone and thanks for popping by to check this the latest post about Welsh Crime Writers, including writers that choose to set their works in this beautiful land. Today it’s the turn of Thorne Moore to tell us about her Wales, her writing and, finally, her books. Over to you, Thorne.

MY WALES I know Wales has plenty of gritty settings for crime in cities, docks and former mining communities, but my Wales is the relentlessly rural one of North Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. No major towns, let alone cities, no holiday resorts, and the villages are more like hamlets or sometimes just a scattering of farms with a tiny church popping up in the middle of a field. There are no motorways, although there is a one mile stretch of dual carriageway around Cardigan. No major industries anymore, except for tourism and farming. Two trains a day (one in the middle of the night), connecting with the Irish ferry at Fishguard, but otherwise it’s a area sealed off from the rest of the world by sea and hills. The coast is a mixture of towering cliffs and wide empty beaches, the lowland is a patchwork of forests and tiny fields, the highlands are open moors, with wild ponies and standing stones.

A fantastic place if you love walking. Maybe not so good if you like noisy nightlife, unless you’re thinking of owls and foxes. What the area does have is history. Not the history of great and glorious events (give or take the odd French invasion), but just layer upon layer of the everyday stuff, poking through the surface, reminding you, always, that you are walking with ghosts of bronze-age settlers, iron-age warriors, Romans, Medieval princes, Tudor squires, civil war partisans, quarrymen and seamen, eighteenth century Methodists and nineteenth century toll-gate protesters. They’ve all left their mark and there hasn’t been anything major in the 20th or 21st century to bury them out of sight. Turn any corner and you’ll find a ruined castle, or a towering Celtic cross or a prehistoric burial chamber. I have set historical crime mysteries here, but the real inspiration is the feeling that there is nothing new. Human emotions are elemental and for good or ill they’ve been played out here in isolated pockets for hundreds, or thousands, of years. It was, it is and it will be, and you won’t escape.

My Writing Life

My problem is that I have never wanted to do anything except write. I finally got published when I was 58, but I spent the previous 40 years trying and I brazenly ignored any suggestion to look for another career. I try not to think how much money I might have made if I’d followed my headmaster’s advice and become a lawyer. I did eventually take a law degree through the Open University and it was invaluable, not in getting me a highly paid profession, but in teaching me to edit and cut all my flowery language down to the barest essentials. I had to write essays with word limits, and every word over the limit was ignored. Since the summary of my arguments always came at the end, I had make sure I made every point in the minimum number of words. Once I had my law degree, I went back to writing fiction – but with less words. I’m not sure how many books I’ve written and discarded. It’s all part of the learning process. I started off writing fantasy, then science fiction, then short stories and finally turned to psychological crime, although, to be honest, they have been the same genre in my head: stories about people ripped out of their comfort zone by traumatic events that force them to confront issues they’d much rather ignore. And there’s nothing so traumatic as murder. I don’t treat it as a crime puzzle to be solved but as a wrecking ball smashing into people’s lives. I am a morning person. I can’t write late at night at all, so I usually do the actual writing first thing in the morning. But I usually work out what I’m going to write when taking a walk after dinner. It has to be pretty foul weather that stops me walking. Its my time for getting things straight, by evening light in the summer, by moonlight in the winter. It is amazing how many problems can sort themselves into perfect order as I walk.

My Books

My first published novel, A Time For Silence, was inspired by a derelict cottage down in a wooded valley at the end of my garden. There are plenty of such cottages around and you can’t come across one without wondering what might have happened in them. Houses have always fascinated me because they enshrine something of everyone who has ever lived in them. They have seen births, marriages and deaths, triumphs and tragedies all hidden behind curtains.Perfect material for domestic dramas. I was told about a murder that allegedly happened in another cottage in the vicinity. Everyone, including the police, knew who did it, but no one was ever charged. I thought such a thing could only happen in isolate communities like the ones around me. I tried to find evidence that the story was true and I never did, but I did comeacross a newspaper report of a young girl being sentenced to approved school for the crime ofattempting suicide. Her story and the rumour of the murder combined to give me the plot for A Time For Silence, in which a contemporary woman comes across the cottage, Cwmderwen, where her grandparents, John and Gwen Owen, had lived – and where her grandfather John was murdered. She sets out to discover why the murder was never solved, perpetually misunderstanding the evidence she finds, but her investigations are interwoven with the tale of her grandmother and the true story of what really happened.

Blurb:

Gwenllian Lewis married John Owen in 1933. Seventy-five years later, their granddaughter Sarah comes upon the ruined cottage where they had once farmed, and the discovery inspires her to investigate her family history. But when she unearths a shocking secret, her interest becomes an obsession. Escaping from her own tragedy, she immerses herself in an older one; a tragedy that overturns her fantasies of an idyllic past, for the story of Gwen and her husband John Owen was anything but idyllic. When the full unpalatable truth dawns on Sarah, she finds herself rethinking her own life. Available here

To compliment A Time For Silence, my latest novel, The Covenant, takes the story of the Owen family back a couple of generations, still in the cottage of Cwmderwen, where John Owen’s aunt Leah grows up believing that her duty requires absolute loyalty to God, family and, most of all, their few acres. It’s a burden that will either lead to murder or escape.

Blurb

In 1883, Leah is nine and full of hope, brightest of the Owens who farm the land of Cwmderwen. But tragedy leaves her loving family fatally wounded, turning her father’s mindand killing dreams.Leah is ruled by duty, to God, to her family, and to the farm that is sucking the life out of her—the farm to which she is bound by a covenant of blood. Her withered dreams fix on her niece and nephew, Annie and John. At all costs, John Owen must inherit the tenancy of their precious 24 acres, 1 rood and 8 perches. But what sort of man has she helped to create? Is there hope for any of them, or is Cwmderwen’s poison too strong? The future is carved in stone… Or is it?

Available here

Biography

Thorne Moore grew up in Luton, but studied history at Aberystwyth and, nine years later, after a spell working in a library, she returned to Wales, to run a restaurant with her sister, Liz, and a miniature furniture craft business. She now writes full time.She has had four novels published by Honno, A Time For Silence and The Covenant set in Pembrokeshire, and Motherlove and The Unravelling set in Lyford, a fictional version of Luton. Another novel, Shadows, set in a derelict Pembrokeshire mansion, is published by Lume, along with its companion Long Shadows, which has three historical mysteries set in the same property over seven centuries.

Links

Amazon author page:

http://amzn.to/1Ruu9m1FB

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/thornemoorenovelist

Twitter:

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David Jackson. The Rule

The Rule. Blurb

MY DAD SAYS BAD THINGS
HAPPEN WHEN I BREAK IT…

Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants fish and chips, a big chocolate cake, and a comic book starring his favourite superhero. And as long as he follows The Rule, nothing bad will happen.

Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just doesn’t know his own strength. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

My review

The Rule was part of my Christmas reading, hence the Christmas styled photo. Reading it wasn’t a big ask as I’ve read a few of Dave’s books before, most notably. Don’t Make a Sound (OMG that double whammy ending). A Tapping at my Door (That beginning #sigh) and The Resident.

The Rule is different and to my mind a a stupendous piece of literary engineering. Jackson’s keen eye for detail married with a depressing set of circumstances where there are rarely any winners. When high-rise tenants meet the local vicious lowlife who knows what the outcome will be. When disgraced and grieving, but ambitious, DI Hannah gets involved the outcome becomes less certain.

What is certain is that I’d love to be able to plot like David Jackson!

Available to pre-order here. Thank you to Miranda Jewess, Viper, for the early ARC.

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Welsh Murder Book: Cathy Ace

Hi everyone

Today I’m delighted to welcome Cath Ace onto my blog. Cathy was born in Wales but now lives in Canada. Her best selling book, The Wrong Boy, will shortly be appearing on our screens. Over to you, Cathy.

My Wales

Thousands of miles separate my original home in Swansea, Wales, from my new home in British Columbia, Canada, but there’s no way any Welsh person ever becomes “not Welsh” having been born and raised there (I migrated aged 40). Maybe that’s why, when I set about writing my first novel, I chose a Welshwoman who’s migrated to Canada to be my protagonist. Mind you, when I’d written my first published short story (back in the 1980s) I’d chosen a Welsh Detective Inspector to write about; I’d only migrated as far as working in London by then, so I think it’s true – for me, at least – that I choose to “write about that which you know”.

Nowadays, with my mum and sister, as well as my extended family (which, fortunately for me, includes people who work in both law enforcement and the legal profession) still living in Wales, I find that my writing allows me to “visit” them, even when I cannot do that in person…so I always welcome the chance – as this one, so kindly offered by Jenny – to speak about being a Welsh crime writer.

My Writing. My Books.

Cait Morgan – like me – was born and raised in Swansea, left home to study and work, then migrated to Canada; in her case this was due to the fact she couldn’t continue her work as an assistant professor of criminal psychology in Cambridge because the tabloids wouldn’t leave her alone after she’d been arrested on suspicion of having killed her abusive ex-boyfriend. (In my case, I’m pleased to say, the reason for migration wasn’t as traumatic!) I’d spent decades traveling the world as I ran my marketing training business, so I sent Cait Morgan off on travels to places where I’d lived and/or worked – allowing each book in the series of nine, so far, to be set in a different country. The traditional, puzzle-plot mysteries Cait has to solve allow her to use her knowledge of psychology to profile the victims, and bring the culprits to justice (yes, I grew up reading Christie and am always thrilled when reviews like that in Canada’s Globe and Mail see “…touches of Christie or Marsh, with a bouquet of Kinsey Millhone…” in my Cait Morgan Mysteries).

I enjoy taking a Welshwoman to different parts of the world; as Cait notes, she (like me) will always be Welsh, and will always be becoming Canadian, and I find that dual lens to be useful as I continue (when I can!) to travel to new places. My writing of the Cait Morgan Mysteries has very much sprung from my own peripatetic Welshness, and I wanted to bring a working-class Welsh woman, who’s intelligent, sharp, driven by a need for justice and – yes – just a little damaged, to the page. With the wave of interest in Welsh characters on the screen I’m thrilled that Cait will join their number “some time soon – due to pandemic restrictions”; the series has been optioned for television by Free@LastTV, the company that makes the splendid Agatha Raisin TV series.

Also coming to TV – as a three-part mini-series to be broadcast in both Welsh and English – will be my much darker novel The Wrong Boy; set in a clifftop village in Gower, the book has been reviewed by the prestigious Ottawa Review of Books as being “…in the dark, twisted, tradition of British crime… (with)shades of Broadchurch, Hinterland, and Shetland…a page-turner with as many bumps as a dragon’s tail” which is thrilling for me!

I wanted to write a suspenseful novel, but didn’t want to write a police procedural, so I set the story within the retirement of the Welsh DI, Evan Glover, I wrote about in that short story I had published back in the 1980s. Because my Cait Morgan books are truly Golden Age in style where only the key characters recur in each book, it was fun for me to be able to examine in great depth how secrets and gossip – and today’s social media frenzies – can impact those who live in such close proximity to each other that they believe they know everything about each person in their village. Of course everyone in the village has secrets, and of course deaths occur because those secrets are revealed, but I’m so pleased that it’s the Welsh setting that’s been commented upon time and time again as bringing a “freshness” to the story, where age-old mythologies intertwine with modern technology to devastate an entire community.

The Wrong Boy

Blurb

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has  its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under  a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away  to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement.  However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . . 

Available here.

The Corpse with The Silver Tongue

Because of the impact on filming these days, I’m still able to focus on writing novels at the moment, and am currently up to my armpits in clues and red herrings as Cait Morgan tackles a tragedy almost literally on her own doorstep (like me she lives in rural British Columbia…so, no surprises there!). A lot of authors are currently wondering how to deal with pandemic issues in their fiction writing; for my part I’ve decided that I’ll give Cait (and her ex-cop husband Bud Anderson) a murder in their own neighbourhood to solve, without making it a specific “lockdown” mystery. My first Cait Morgan Mystery (The Corpse with the Silver Tongue) was published in 2012, and sales figures tell me many people around the world are discovering it in 2021, so I have no idea where or when people will be reading The Corpse with the Iron Will (the tenth Cait Morgan Mystery, to be published in May 2021) and I equally cannot begin to imagine how life will be at that time and in that place, so I’ve decided to not refer to either the pandemic nor the various experiences of it my readers might have had between now and…whenever they’re reading the book. I just hope they enjoy accompanying a Welshwoman on her journey to solve the crime/s she faces, wherever in the world they are.

The Corpse with The Silver Tongue

Blurb

In the south of France where hatred simmers in the heat, a man seemingly admired, and certainly feared, drops dead at a dinner party. All of the guests fall under suspicion, including Welsh-Canadian professor Cait Morgan. A criminologist who specializes in profiling victims, Cait sets out to solve the murder–clear her name. Add to this the disappearance of an ancient Celtic gold collar said to be cursed and there you have the ingredients for a Nicoise salad of death, secrets, and lies. Will Cait find the killer before she too falls victim to a murderer driven by a surprising and disturbing motive? The Corpse with the Silver Tongue is the first in the Cait Morgan Mystery series, a classic whodunit series featuring the eccentric Professor Cait Morgan.

You can buy the Cait Morgan series here

Bio

Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, Wales, then migrated to Canada aged 40. Having travelled the world (for business and pleasure) for decades, Cathy put her knowledge of the cultures, history, art, and food she encountered to good use in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – a series of traditional whodunits featuring a globetrotting Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology. These books have been optioned by Free@LastTV (Agatha Raisin). Ace also writes the #1 amazon bestselling WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, featuring four female PIs (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English). They tackle quirky, quintessentially British cases from a Welsh stately home in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley. Her standalone tale of psychological suspense, The Wrong Boy, also became an amazon #1 bestseller, and is due to become a bilingual TV mini series. Cathy lives on five rural acres in British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband ensures she’s able to work full-time as an author, and enjoy her other great passion – gardening. She’s been shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award three times in four years, winning in 2015, has won an IPPY Award, and was shortlisted for an IBA Award and an Arthur Ellis Award.

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Welsh Murder Book: Dylan Young

Hi Everyone,

Today I’m delighted to welcome Dylan Young onto my blog to chat about all things Welsh. Welcome Dylan.

MY WALES

I grew up in the Swansea valley, in a village that was once famous for it’s tin and iron works. Tin was mined from very early times in Cornwall and it was natural to bring this useful metal to one of the nearest ports, Swansea, where it was transferred to canal barges, which took it up to Ystalyfera. Mr. Budd, in 1851, erected a forge, tinplate mills and tin-houses, and by 1853 they were in full working order. Roger Thomas (Adolphus), in his prize essay, showed the progress of the works. In 1866, the Ystalyfera Iron Works were reputed to be the largest in the world, employing 4,000 persons as well as 1,000 in the ore and coal mines belonging to the works. In 1872, the works produced 182,000 boxes.
But when I grew up, we played in the old tin works and the two small mines were shut. Like many of my era, I left to go to university and my return to Wales took me further west, to the Towy, as opposed to the Tawe valley. Different rivers. Different landscape. I can see the black mountains from the top of my garden. I live ten minutes from wilderness. Some great places to hide bodies!!

You might spot a dog in some of these pictures. Ella is the one that demands a walk in all weathers. The one with the Hide is Gellu Aur. Is all this an inspiration to me? Yes. I know i’m luckier than most with all this on my doorstep. Who would want to live anywhere else?

MY WRITING LIFE:

 One question I am frequently asked is are you a plotter or pantser? In other words, do you work everything out beforehand — scenes, structure, ending — before writing one word (plotter), or forget all of that and simply sit down, let the words flow, and see where the writing takes you (as in by the seat of your pants)?

There are better words for these. Plotters are architects, putting together building blocks, scaffolding, one layer after the other. Pantsers are gardeners, planting the odd seed and feeding the idea, letting it grow organically. Some architects can never see the sense of gardening, hate the very concept and vice versa.  Most of us are hybrids, cobbling together a loose blueprint which is at the very least a road map for the journey and then watering the odd plant as characters wander off to do their own thing.

But almost as common a question asked of authors, and one that is equally as divisive is, when do you do it? Are you a morning person or a creature of the night?  In other words, when is your creative mojo at its zenith? To an extent, you have little choice. Your own circadian rhythm is what makes your body clock tick. Science tells us that there are three different chronotypes:

Owls – go to bed late and would like to wake up late.

Larks – bed early and up early by choice

Ambivalents –those who can adapt.

 I am an unashamed lark, a slave to my own body clock. I am up, by choice, between 5 and 6. I know it’s my best time. I won’t get bothered by the phone and, if I can manage to avoid opening any emails, I have an hour, maybe two before coffee craving gets the better of me and I join the world for breakfast.

This pattern emerged when I was a young doctor. I learned to fit study around work. A self-induced discipline that has stood the test of time now that I have semi-retired.

I much prefer to see the sun rise every morning than bask in the moonlight. And there is no doubting the magic of being up early with the special sort of quiet that brings. I’ve met the dawn in all its amazing manifestations. Dark and dismal January, bright and sunny June, grey and windblown March and October. I love them all.

Being a lark is not without its problems, though. Frosty winter brings hazards. Like tripping up the steps to my writing shed, which is outside in the garden, and startling next door’s vole hunting cat into a terrified yowl. Guaranteed cure for constipation for both cat and me in the pre-traffic, silent darkness of a winter morning.

So I am a self-confessed lark plotter. I like to know where my story is going before I start on page 1.  I think, and I plot and then (hopefully) write. But by 8 pm I am done. My creative juices as dry as a desiccated prune. When I speak to other authors who stay up with a gallon of midnight oil and punch out a thousand words in the small hours, I look at them and know they’re from a different planet. One where everyone sits on branches while they swivel their heads around 270 degrees and go twit-twoo.

Best of luck to them, I say.

 I’ll wave as we cross on the stairs. Them staggering hollow eyed to bed and me going the other way towards the predawn with a skip in my step and great fresh idea of how to hide a body.

My Books

The Operation.

Buy link —  https://amzn.to/39UiXgX

Blurb — If your life was on the line, how far would you go?

Surgeon Jacob Thorn isn’t worried when the police interview him over nurse Katy Leith’s disappearance. She is a co-worker, nothing more.
But when a leaked video of him and the missing woman arguing goes viral, the social media reaction is vicious. 

When harrowing images of the kidnapped woman start to appear on his phone, along with a demand from her abductor that Jake confesses to a crime he has no recollection of committing, he is forced to act or face terrifying consequences. 

He needs to delve into the past for answers. But time is running out for Katy. 

Will he admit to his failings and lose everything, or plead ignorance and let an innocent girl die? 

TRAUMA 

Buy Link — http://mybook.to/Traumadylanyoung

BLURB.      He’s desperate to remember. He’ll wish he could forget.

Cameron Todd is recovering from a serious brain injury. A trauma suffered the same night his girlfriend Emma plunged to her death from a clifftop. The damage erases all memory of the incident and his previous life. 

Both the police and Emma’s relatives are hunting for someone to blame and question whether his amnesia is a convenient fabrication. 

Desperate to understand what happened that fateful day, self-doubt creeps in when Cameron learns his relationship with Emma might not have been picture-perfect. Is he a victim, or the perpetrator?

Can he trust his injured brain’s version of events? Or will unearthing the truth reveal something far more sinister?

About Dylan Young

I grew up in a mining village in South Wales. Left for university in London at 18 and a career in the NHS. I started writing seriously when I was about 33 and produced three dark psychological thrillers for Random House in the late nineties.  Over the last decade and a half I’ve dabbled in children’s books and an adult contemporary fantasy series, only to turn back to crime. 3 DI Anne Gwynne novels followed with Bookouture. The Appointment, The Operation, and Trauma are standalone psychological thrillers published by Bloodhound Books. Trauma came out in December 2020. I’m still practising medicine.

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Introducing the Welsh Murder Book.

Happy New Year everyone,

With the weather persistent rain and more forecast I thought I’d liven things up by opening my Welsh Murder Book.

Wales, as we all know, is a glorious land full of magic and lore but it can also be a dark disturbing place – a place where writers go to create their own worlds. In opening the Welsh Murder Book I’m going to share the life and works of a series of writers who are either Welsh or, like me, choose to set their crime fiction books in Wales.

If you haven’t already heard, The Pembroke Murders starts next week on TV. Featuring the very talented Luke Evans it explores a dark time in Welsh history. A true crime. Wales doesn’t have an explosion of serial killers, only two to my knowledge. John Cooper and Peter Moore. This mini series examines the cold case of the former and is well worth a look.

More later…