Whanga­mata ba­sis for fic­tional town

Coastal News - - Front Page -

Based on a fic­tional town near Whanga­mata, Noth­ing Bad Hap­pens Here is Cam­bridge writer Nikki Crutch­ley’s first novel.

En­cour­aged by suc­cesses over the past cou­ple of years where she has had flash fic­tion (short, short sto­ries) pub­lished in May­hem, the Univer­sity of Waikato’s lit­er­ary mag­a­zine, and in the an­thol­ogy Fresh Ink (pub­lished by Cloud Ink Press) and an­other two flash pieces short­listed out of more than 400 en­tries in this year’s Na­tional Flash Fic­tion Day com­pe­ti­tion, Crutch­ley de­cided to go with a full length novel.

“The lo­ca­tion for the book ac­tu­ally came first — even be­fore the char­ac­ters. I knew it was go­ing to be a crime/thriller and a mur­der (or two!) would take place,” Crutch­ley (pic­tured) said.

“I wanted to set the book (or at least some of it) at a well­ness re­treat and when I thought about a per­fect set­ting Wentworth Val­ley came to mind, and from there I kind of had Whanga­mata stuck in my head!”

She said Whanga­mata’s pop­u­la­tion was a lit­tle too big for the pur­pose.

“I wanted a very small, tightknit com­mu­nity where se­crets are be­ing kept and the ru­mour mill goes into over­drive when a body is found. So Cas­tle Bay was formed — a sea­side town of fewer than a thou­sand peo­ple — al­though I think peo­ple will find lit­tle bits and pieces of Whanga­mata as they read, es­pe­cially Wentworth Val­ley.”

Orig­i­nally from Otoro­hanga, Crutch­ley and her fam­ily used to spend sum­mer hol­i­days as a child in Whanga­mata.

“It’s a very fa­mil­iar place to me which made it easy to de­velop the com­mu­nity of Cas­tle Bay,” she said. ■ Noth­ing Bad Hap­pens Here, by Nikki Crutch­ley, is avail­able from Whanga Books (Whanga­mata), Pa­per Plus Waihi and Car­son’s Books Thames.

It tells the story of the mur­der of a tourist and how the pace of life changes dra­mat­i­cally when hordes of me­dia de­scend on the vil­lage. As they dig into the mur­der, ru­mours abound. One jour­nal­ist, in par­tic­u­lar, is af­fected deeply by the mys­tery.

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