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Thursday, March 20, 2014

NEW ZEALAND WITH AUTHOR VONNIE HUGHES

Author Vonnie Hughes sat down for an interview with us back in December. Today she’s returning to tell us about the glories of New Zealand and a bit about their police system. Learn more about Vonnie and her books at her website

New Zealand is a small, green country tucked away at the bottom of the world. Just as in Ireland, it rains a lot, hence all that green. Make no mistake—we have travelled widely, and I can truthfully say that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. (And the hobbits like it.)

It is divided into two main islands with the imaginative names of North Island and South Island. The South Island takes the prize for grand, picture-book scenery. Still lakes, jagged mountains and deep fjords abound.

But it’s the people that make a country, and New Zealanders are friendly, phlegmatic, not given to hyperbole, well educated, and surprisingly well travelled. You’d think their isolation would hold them back, but no.
I set my suspense novels in New Zealand since that is the policing system I know best. Theirs is a British-based system i.e. the ordinary cops don’t generally carry weapons. At the top is a Commissioner, beneath him there are two deputy commissioners (for resource management and operations,) and below them are several assistant commissioners who either manage a district or a particular division such as counter-terrorism.

I write about the specialist divisions such as the armed offenders’ squads (SWAT teams) and the police negotiators (one is attached to each of the 17 AO squads.) The reason is that policing is rarely the shoot ‘em up stuff we see on TV. It is a painstaking, plodding, researching and negotiating process, and I see people who do this work as true heroes, the ones who work under extreme stress every day, trying to suit the solution to the target.

Lethal Refuge
An independent, mistrusting woman witnesses the aftermath of a murder and is thrown into the witness protection program. Once there, she is mentored by a police psychologist who demands complete trust from all the relocatees so he can help them adapt to their new lives. The stakes are raised when they are stalked by the killer who seems to be connected to the relocation team.


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20 comments:

Beaj said...

We enjoyed 2 weeks in New Zealand and loved it... Your book sounds great..:)

Vonnie said...

Thanks Beaj. Yes, NZ is a microcosm of the world, in a way. Glad you enjoyed it.

Sharon Ledwith said...

Wonderful post, my kiwi friend! Our neighbour's daughter lives in New Zealand and she's loving living there! Now...I want to go! Maybe I'll meet Frodo... Cheers!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Vonnie haven't been to New Zealand but would like to go. Lochs in Scotland are deep enough and sometimes forbidding enough to be majestic, too. Still, travelling is such fun. I think your book sounds quite scary, but I might brave it. i've always thought people who go into witness protection face such a bleak future. Anne stenhouse

KM Rockwood said...

My daughter spent some time in New Zealand and says it's the nicest place she's ever visited (and she's well traveled)

At one point when I was working in a state prison in the US, a team from New Zealand came in to observe our operations, and from discussion with them, it was pretty obvious the the entire criminal justice system was very different. Interesting since, with the exception of Louisiana, the systems both evolved from British common law.

susanlodgebooks said...

Love to visit New Zealand it looks a healthy sort of place with all that space and scenery.
Lord Of The Rings certainly boosted the tourism.
Thanks for the insight Vonnie.

Lizzie said...

New Zealand is on my dream list, Vonnie!

Marci Clark said...

Mine too, Lizzie! So beautiful!

Vonnie said...

I agree with you Anne, about facing a bleak future when you're placed in the witness protection program. I tried to put that in Lethal Refuge, where the heroine feels rootless and wonders when she'll ever be able to live a real life again.

Vonnie said...

Yes Kathleen, can't work out how our justice systems branched so far from each other. New Zealand cops are fairly hot on public connection and they face rather plodding procedures restricted by various laws. But because there's only 3.2 million people, it's much easier to catch perpetrators there;. (Many from overseas have found that out). I remember many years ago how the French terrorists who blew up the Rainbow Warrior were shocked when they were arrested.

Ashantay said...

I'd love to visit New Zealand - once worked with a wholistic doctor from NZ and thought she was great fun. Cheers!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie, I have visited beautiful NZ twice, once on a cruise ship, but being an Aussie it isn't so far for me to travel.

Cheers

Margaret

Beverley Eikli aka Beverley Oakley said...

What exquisite pictures, and also really interesting to get a taster on the differences in police procedure. Thanks Vonnie!

Sloane Taylor said...

Tanks, Vonnie, your beautiful photos and post bring back the great vacation we enjoyed in New Zealand. Time to go back!

Rhea Rhodan said...

And I thought Iwanted to go to New Zealand before! Thanks, Vonnie. I didn't know you wrote mysteries too. Is there a bit of romance in this one?

Helen and Lorri said...

Love the pictures. Must be a scary place to be in witness protection; difficult to hide with low population and relatively small land area (comparatively speaking). Bet that makes your book all the more suspenseful.

Kris Pearson said...

Yes, relatively small land area, but much of it is so isolated you could hide for ages. Even where I live in Wellington, there are areas of unfelled 'bush' (original forest) and I bet a human being has never set foot on some of it - and this is the capital city. My English friends who visited a while ago couldn't believe how far they had to drive to find their next cup of tea!

Vonnie said...

Thanks for calling in peeps, and thank you for having us, Lois. Yes, NZ is not perfect but it's close to it (says the woman presently living in Australia).

Yes Kris. Bush skills are required because the bush is so dense, it's difficult to peer through it to get your bearings. Not at all like walking through Australian gums or Californian redwoods.

Frances Evesham said...

I love this post. Everyone who visits NZ adores the country - one day I'll get there too. I work with the police in the UK and agree that the real heroes are those who do the hard, plodding graft. PS am buying the book because it sounds great. Congratulations

Joanna Lloyd said...

I agree, Vonnie...NZ is beautiful, like stunning scenery from all over the world squashed into two little islands. A feast for the tourist. Lethal Refuge is a great story too!