This week I am delighted to welcome author Val Penny to my blog. Her Edinburgh based crime novel Hunter’s Chase is due out through Crooked Cat Books on 2nd February 2018.
I am a lover of crime fiction, from Jo Nesbo to Patricia Cornwall and Agatha Christie to Arthur Conan Doyle, my love of sleuthing has been firmly set from a young age (I blame my parents!) I grew up in a busy household full of brothers and sisters who also loved to read crime fiction and I would always grab what they had finished with. The Detective is always the greatest character (followed closely by their nemesis) and I always love the development of their personality and how they solve the crime in question.
So naturally when I heard about Hunter’s Chase and found I had the opportunity to ask a few questions I jumped at the chance!
Tell us the basic premise of your novel?
Hunter by name, Hunter by nature: in Hunter’s Chase, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson struggles to ensure the crime in Edinburgh does not go unpunished. Hunter’s Chase introduces a new detective, DI Hunter Wilson into Tartan Noire.
I think all crime novels explore the triumph of good over evil. The readers know the criminals will not succeed. Still, the thrill of the chase and the problems overcome to achieve justice for the victims must enthral and satisfy the readers.
Did you take any inspiration from any real life crimes?
I did not refer to any specific real life crimes but I did want to explore power and politics. Also, as I have a large family, the importance and problems caused by family ties is interesting to me.
Big cities all have issues with illegal drug use. One of the hidden problems is the risk to the health and security by people who are functioning drug abusers, who may continue to study or hold down challenging jobs. I find this both confusing and fascinating.
Is your lead character, DI Hunter Wilson inspired by anyone?
Hunter Wilson, like all my characters in Hunter’s Chase, is a combination of several people that I have found interesting. I needed my main protagonist to have certain characteristics including patience, perseverance and a desire to achieve justice for those who could not attain that for themselves. Hunter is a compassionate man who fights for the underdog and is a fine team player. These are important qualities in my main character.
But I also needed Hunter to have flaws. Everybody has faults and to make Hunter believable, he had to have them too. He is not a saint. He is divorced, he is untidy, he likes to win, he bears a grudge.
Why did you choose the setting of Edinburgh and do the locations hold any real life significance to you?
Although I am originally from California, USA, I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for many years, so it is a city I know well. I chose Edinburgh as the setting for Hunter’s Chase because it is a beautiful, multi-cultural city which is well-known and loved around the world. Edinburgh is a big enough city for any problem that Hunter needs to solve to plausibly have taken place. Nevertheless, because it is a city of only half a million people, in many ways it is like a big village: there is a feeling that everybody knows everybody else. That is an amusing conceit when I am writing.
Did it take a lot of research for your locations and story line, how did you research the police work?
I did need to do a lot of research for Hunter’s Chase. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that.
When I was choosing places for action to take place in my novel, I needed to check that what I was asking of my characters could actually happen. That was fun. Revisiting and exploring again the beautiful city of Edinburgh is always a joy.
Also, you will not be surprised to know that I do not have first-hand knowledge of drug trafficking! I found the research for that quite exciting: of course it was all theoretical research.
I had to research the roles of Crime Scene Investigators too and received a great deal of assistance with that from my friend Kate Bendelow. Her book, The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers, is indispensable. I was also lucky to have good support when I was researching police procedures. This came from former Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibbon. His book, The Crime Writers’ Casebook is invaluable to those writing historical or modern day crime stories.
What are you working on next?
I am presently working on the sequel to Hunter’s Chase – Hunter’s Revenge. My publishers, Crooked Cat Books, have just confirmed that it will be published in August/September 2018, so I better get a move on and finish it.
Hunters Chase will be released through Crooked Cat Books on 2nd February 2018, pre order your copy here
You can keep up with whats happening with Val on the following links;