Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. She has also wrote a children’s picture book Bertie the Buffalo telling the true story of a young Water Buffalo that went missing from a Farm in Fife and the adventure he had.
Cass Claymore, a red headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina inherits a Detective Agency, and accidently employs an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. Hired by a client who should know better, Cass has no leads, no clue and a complete inability to solve a case. Still a girl needs to eat and her highbred client’s offering good money. Join her as, with bungling incompetence, she follows a trail littered with missing antique teddies, hapless crooks, a misplaced Lord of the Realm and dead bodies. Will Cass, and Scotland, survive?
As I am Scottish and From Dundee, the ideal location presented itself to me straight away. I would take the advice of write what you know and set my books firmly in my home town. However, as Dundee is a rather small city, I had to expand things a bit. Therefore, I use Angus, Perthshire and Fife as well.
I believe crime books need both a large palette and a tight canvas on which to paint the mystery. Let me explain. The tightness of a local area helps to heighten the tension of the situation. If there is a serial killer on the loose in a small space, the terror is all the greater. It allows the writer to develop the characters and the visceral fear that grips the city. However, this fear can also be greater if no one knows where they will strike next. If the killer is at work in Dundee, the residents of Angus, Perthshire and Fife become complacent. When the next murder is on one of these areas, the terror moves to the whole country. Panic then ensues.
I am fortunate in that the area in which I set my books is stunning. It has history, nature, industry, old buildings, new buildings, parks and enough variation to allow for dram and excitement. Dundee is an old whaling town and is known as the city of Jute, Jam and Journalism. The people are proud yet generous and, on the whole, look out for each other. It is going through a whole period of regeneration and the new V&A Museum has just opened. There is a real vibrancy and buzz about it, so plenty to write about and to use as a location.
Cass Claymore is a motor bike riding ex-ballerina who inherits a Private Detective Agency. She loves the bike and needs a wider area in which to ply her wares. Therefore, Scotland is her palette but still with Dundee firmly at the centre.
As an author, I am also allowed to take my characters wherever I choose. In the next DI Shona McKenzie Mystery, Shona and Peter will be taking a trip to New Orleans as it ties in with a case she is working on. This is great fun to write as New Orleans is such an exciting and exotic city. The contrast between Dundee and New Orleans will play a large aprt of the story.