Wendy, we’ve been friends for ages and I’m a huge fan of yours. I am sure my readers would love to hear about you. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and the exciting life you’ve led?
I come from Dundee where the books are set. At the age of eighteen I joined the Royal Navy as a nurse and then the Army as a Nursing Officer. I reached the rank of Major and still hold that rank to this day. During my time in the services I managed to travel all over the world and have lived in many different countries. On leaving the services I worked in Academia for many years, in Teacher Training. Words have always fascinated me and I am a voracious reader. I joined the library aged three, which was an amazing feat in those days. I had progressed to adult library books by the age of ten and so began a lifelong passion for crime. In a literary sense of course.
In what ways is Dundee important to your story?
Dundee is central to the whole plot. Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, the main character in my books, was born in Dundee. She moved away aged two and has not long returned there in the first book. I try to give a sense of Dundee as a place, and also a sense of the people. Dundonians, are hard working, proud, generous and helpful. I do have to say one thing. In Killer’s Countdown, the first book in the series, it is always raining. It doesn’t always rain in Dundee, it is actually the sunniest City in Scotland.
With the world an ever-shrinking place these days, apart from the glorious weather, what is it about books set in Scotland that you think might excite the reader?
Scotland is a land of contrasts. There are the city areas, vibrant and bustling, there are rural areas, with farms, fishing, hill walking, and beaches. There are also wild areas where you can get away from it all and not see another soul. In many ways it is a romantic place and there is something for everyone. Despite this romantic streak Scotland’s biggest export after Whisky is Tartan Noir, or Scottish Crime. We’re obviously a nasty bunch. Be thankful we keep it to the pages of a book.
Where do you get the inspiration for your fiction?
In many different ways. It can be news stories or something I overhear. Ne’er trust a writer, especially a crime writer. I have a T-Shirt that says – ‘Anything you say may be taken down and used in a book.‘ Mostly the ideas come from my very vivid imagination. Given the murder count in my books I’m surprised anyone wants to come anywhere near me.
What is it about your lead character that people seem to identify with so strongly?
Shona McKenzie is like any normal person. She is feisty, caring, tough, soft, loyal and most of all funny. She has a dry sense of humour and I think that may be a part of her that endears her to people. She is also like a mongoose with a snake. She never lets go until she catches her criminal.
When you are not writing what types of books do you read? What would you say was the best book you have ever read?
I read mainly crime books but sometimes the odd chic lit or romance. As far as I am concerned any time is a good time to be reading a book. The best book I have ever read is a tough one. Every book I read is my favourite at that time. Then I pick up another one and off I go again. The last one which engrossed me so much that I was up all night reading was The Colour of Law by Mark Gimenez.
Wendy, I know you are working on something at the moment! Without giving too much away can you tell us something about it?
I am just finishing up the editing of Killer’s Craft, the second book in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. In this book Shona is in the middle of another big case and on the hunt for a killer. Many of the characters from the first book are developed in this. It is a stand alone book, but those who read it after Killer’s Countdown will see the character development more clearly.
Now we are getting personal. What is your favourite food?
As I’m Scottish I should really say something like haggis, or fish and chips. However, my big love is Indian food. I also enjoy cooking a variety of dishes.
If you were re-incarnated as an animal, which one would it be?
It would have to be a cat. A cat is his or her own master and takes orders from no one. They also do a lot of lying around in the sun sleeping. Bliss.
You are already well travelled but if you could travel to any one country in the world where would it be and why? And which country that you have been to would you like to see again?
As you say I have already visited many countries. However, I have never been to Scandinavia so I would love to go to one, or all of those countries. I would also love to go to Myanmar and Vietnam. If I were to go back to any country it would have to be New Zealand. It is a country which pretty much has it all. I am going to sneak in another one here if you don’t mind. I would love to go back and visit Cambodia.
Who is your favourite author and why?
Another really tough one! At the moment I would have to say it is Ian Rankin. Not only is he a highly talented author, but also a genuinely nice person.
If you ever have a day off from creating exciting Dundonian murder plots what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel and do so at every opportunity. I like seeing different cultures and spending time in historic buildings and ruins. Eating at nice restaurants would have to be up there. Reading is my real passion as is technology. I don’t think I’ve met a technological innovation that I do not like.
Thanks very much Wendy, for talking with me today!
Wendy’s excellent crime novel Killer’s Countdown is out now and her sequel Killer’s Craft will be published on the 21st of July.
That’s all for today and it’s back to writing this weekend again for me after a wee break after the sad death of my father earlier this month.
Have a great weekend everyone and let me know how much you enjoyed Wendy’s novel. Her contact details are all listed below.
Website http://www.wendyhjones.comTwitter https://twitter.com/WendyHJonesPinterest https://www.pinterest.com/wjones64/
Yours in writing!