Brynaman author launches second Amman Valley-inspired novel
Cheryl Rees-Price has just released the second book of her detective series
3 Nov 2016 / Daniel Laurie
A BRYNAMAN author has released her second book in a detective series which the setting is heavily influenced by the Amman Valley.
Writer Cheryl-Rees Price was raised in Brynaman where she still lives with her husband and daughters.
Originally from Cardiff, but having moved to the Amman Valley with her family when she was eight-years-old, Cheryl has used her local location as inspiration to create a cast of bright characters and explore chilling plots.
The Silent Quarry was released in December last year and was the first book in the Di Winter Meadows series published by Accent press.
Now the author is back with the second book of the series, Frozen Minds, which was launched last Sunday in Cardiff.
The former legal clerk said: “The second book of the series Frozen Minds is about a murder in a residential home. Local people start to accuse the residents of the home of being behind the killing but it is not all as it seems.
“A member of staff at the home is the victim of a murder and seems to be a respectable man, but Di Winter Meadows knows there’s more to the case than meets the eye.”
“The villages in the series are much like the Amman Valley, but of course with factious names.
“If you know the valley well enough, you can probably picture which part I am describing as you read the book.”
It doesn’t take long for DI Meadows to discover a culture of fear at the home and some unscrupulous dealings going on between the staff in the book.
Since the first novel, Cheryl has been busy with promotional work and book signings at Carmarthenshire libraries.
The writer is back at Ammanford library on December 3 from 11am until 1pm and Llanelli library on November 26 where she will be signing copies of Frozen Minds as well as answering any questions.
Fans of the Di Meadows series need not to worry as Cheryl has confirmed that the third book will be out sometime next year.
The author has also revealed she will be realising a standalone book some time in 2017.
Despite torrential rain and my fear of public speaking, last evenings book talk in Brynamam Library turned out to be a most enjoyable evening.
The evening started with tea and biscuits and we all settled around the table as the rain pounded the windows.
I opened the talk with an insight into my writing process, from the initial idea through to the finished book. I brought some examples of my research material with included choices of weapons or poisons. This piqued everyone’s interest!
Following the talk I invited my guests to ask some questions. These questions ranged from “how di you come up with the name of your main character” to “how do you get a publishing contract.”
After more tea was poured the conversation turned to crime in Wales and the impact it has on small communities. In rural areas the crime rate is relatively low and the residents enjoy a sense of security. However a murder, such as one that occurred locally some 40 years was so shocking it is still talked about today, with the older residents able to recall the details and fear that surrounded the incident. Fortunately this sort of crime is rare in the area and the only murder you are likely to find is in a good book in the library.
The inspiration for The Silent Quarry came from walking the dog up a footpath that runs alongside a disused quarry. It can be quiet, shadowy and eerie along this route and more often than not you don’t pass a living soul. Like most writers I have a vivid imagination and as I walked I would start at every snap of a twig, glancing around to see if anyone was lurking behind a tree. I should have been comforted by the fact that Blue, an enormous Siberian husky was close at heel but he was as much use as a mouse and more likely to run away faster than me from any threat. As I walked further along the path my mind turned to the murder that occurred in this spot in the 70’s and I wondered what would happen if the dog was to arrive home without me. Would my family know where I was? Would they send out a search party? From this spark of an idea I developed the plot to The Silent Quarry.
Blue the husky who
has his own role in the book.
Idea’s for the book came faster than I could write but as I outlined the chapters and built my cast I struggled to find my protagonist. I wanted a detective that the reader could connect with, full of personality and complete with fears and faults.
I set about naming and creating the main character and built in a background story adding a career history, family and birthday until the profile was complete. Slowly DI Lester came to life, I didn’t have an instant connection to him but thought I would give him a trail run, a bit like a probation period in a new job. As the story grew I realised that no detective is complete without a side kick. The book was put on hold while I set about creating Lester’s partner.
I wanted a character to contrast with DI Lester and bring a different perspective to the story. To achieve this I started with the character’s background story. I chose an unconventional upbringing, home educated and raised in a commune with a hippy mother and absent father. Next I needed to find the perfect name to sum up the character. After many hours of pondering, Winter Meadows was born, mild mannered, fair and compassionate with a hint of intrigue he was the complete opposite to DI Lester and I felt an instant connection. But rather than complimenting Lester he posed a new problem. Winter Meadows fascinated me and was so much more interesting than DI Lester.
I instantly promoted Winter to lead character. Very quickly he took over the role and came to life, often dictating the direction of the story. It really is true when writers say that a character can take on a life of their own and they don’t always do what you want.
As for DI Lester he still makes an appearance in the book along with Blue the dog.