The first novel I wrote was Hunter’s Chase and this month my first collection of short stories is published by SpellBound Books Ltd. The title story of the collection is Hunter’s Christmas and features my police detective inspector, Hunter Wilson as the main character. Let me tell you about how I developed this character.
I knew I needed a character I could trust and rely on, and I wanted a name that reflected his job, fighting crime. One day when my husband and I were going to visit my mother, on the way to her house, we passed a lawyer’s office. The name on the facia was Wilson Hunter. Perfect! However, my husband thought that I better not use that name, in case the lawyer objected, and so Hunter Wilson was born.
I always write biographies for my main characters. This allows me to get to know them well. When I wrote Hunter’s biography I realised that he was ‘a son of the manse’ as they say in Scotland. That means that his father was a protestant Church of Scotland minister (at that time all ministers were male). His mother had had a traditional role as the minister’s wife, making scones for church coffee mornings, tending to the church flowers and running the women’s group (known as the Women’s Guild) in the church.
This gave Hunter his strong Scottish work ethic, his innate sense of fairness, the importance he places on loyalty and his strong sense of right and wrong. It also explains his love of good coffee and freshly baked cakes and scones!
When I thought about it a bit more, I realised Hunter must also be a family man. He rarely sees his daughter, Alison, who lives with her husband and two children in the very North of Scotland on the Shetland Islands. Hunter also has a son, Cameron. Cameron, like many children has given his father cause for concern over the years and these struggles have provided colour and narratives in several of my books.
I realised also that life had not always been easy for Hunter. So he is divorced from the mother of his children. The visible cost of that divorce is that he lives in a two-bedroomed flat in Leith, which is a modest area in Edinburgh. He is not house proud, so his home is often messy and in need of being cleaned and tidied before he has visitors. His most frequent visitor is Dr Meera Sharma, the principal pathologist of his region. He loves Meera deeply but they both have heavy work schedules. That is their challenge.
Physically, I see Hunter as just under six feet tall with steely, intelligent grey eyes and brown hair cut in an unfashionably short style. He is slim and wiry and dresses sensibly for the Scottish weather.
Hunter is loyal and sociable. He likes to be part of a team, both at work and at home. He used to play football in his younger days, but now he referees boys’ matches and plays darts for the team in his local pub, The Persevere Bar in Easter Road where the other members of the team have nicknamed him ‘Clouseau’ after the hapless detective ably portrayed on film by Peter Sellers.
I like Hunter and I enjoy feeling him grow and develop in my novels and stories. I hope he like me, because we’re going to spend a lot of time together going forward.
Not all the stories in my new collection are Hunter stories. Some feature DS Jane Renwick and others tell tales of completely new characters set in far-flung places. I hope you will enjoy this new book, Please let me know.
DI Hunter Wilson is looking forward to spending a holiday in India with his girlfriend Dr Meera Sharma, away from the cold, wet winter of Edinburgh. He looks to share his happiness with others when he is attacked by Santa Claus, he says.
His team swing into action to catch his attackers but then receive information about an elf found dead in a car park and a car stolen by Mrs Claus.
Are the crimes by these Christmas characters connected?
Can Hunter’s team restore peace and good will to Christmas?
Hunter’s Christmas and Other Stories includes tales about DI Hunter Wilson and DS Jane Renwick along with those about new and different characters in this gripping collection of short stories especially for crime fiction readers.
You can buy Hunter's Christmas here: https://rb.gy/9d79us
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.