Whangamata basis for fictional town
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.