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.
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.