Rosie Claverton, author of the Amy Lane Mysteries, talks about using Wales as a setting for a series.
Working on Book #6 of the Amy Lane Mysteries, I sometimes wonder if I am running out of ideas – particularly for how to turn beautiful, exciting places into the ideal location for murder.
Binary Witness was my first novel and, between introducing my agoraphobic hacker and streetwise ex-con to the world, I was trying to turn my favourite city of Cardiff into something desperate and sinister. I used Jason’s love for his home town to communicate my own passions for the city, even if my fictional version has a much higher murder rate.
The second novel expanded to include Swansea – or, more accurately, HMP Swansea. I also took a detour through the countryside between Bridgend and Cardiff, though not a route ideal for a little light rambling. It was cold and wet and miserable, which is about as far away from a Visit Wales ad as you can imagine.
In Captcha Thief, I tried to redeem myself by focusing on the National Museum of Wales and its stunning art collection. I detailed a picturesque journey through the heart of Wales by motorcycle – with only one road traffic collision. With the help of the Holyhead Coastguard, I picked the perfect spot for a boat trip (and a spot of smuggling), before another drive through the countryside. With this novel, I managed to keep places beautiful while portraying the ugliness of the people that inhabited them.
With Terror 404 and Hard Return, I took a break from wrecking the tourist industry with murder and focused instead on claustrophobic places – a private mental health unit and a secret woodland bunker. The power of anonymous locations was something that intrigued me, and it gave me and the reader some respite from corrupting places that I love.
But I couldn’t run forever. Last Save is the sixth book in the series, and I felt it was time to return to Cardiff and its immediate surroundings. My next targets are Big Pit and Bute Park, giants of the tourist trade that can afford to be tainted by my scheming.
Through it all, though, I hope that my love of Cardiff and Wales shines through. I might write about death and destruction in my home country, but I never lose sight of its mystique and majesty.