A time and a place for everything. As I begin to plan a new story, one of the most exciting moments is deciding on the setting. Whether the majority of action takes place in a wonderful country house or in the tunnels running under the streets of Manchester, I need to feel that I know the location intimately.
Cities offer a plethora of variety, and although I lived in Manchester for many years I have been amazed to discover so many hidden places to introduce into my stories.
Finding after all these years that right in the centre of Manchester there is a wilderness – a long narrow piece of land known as Pomona Island that is undeveloped (as yet) and is a haven for wildlife – was a complete joy. It was as if I had just unwrapped an unexpected gift that had to be put to immediate use, and it became one of my key locations in Kill Me Again.
The place in which a thriller takes place is crucial to its atmosphere and says much about the characters too. Whether the protagonist feels the need to escape from danger to a wonderfully safe island or they are under threat as they venture beneath dark canal bridges at night, the sights, smells and sounds of a place can add so much to the tension or the fake sense of security.
Once the locations are selected, the time of year and even the time of day come into focus. When does the sun set? What flowers would be out then? What kind of temperature will it be?
Each season of the year changes the internal as well as the external landscape, from dark shadows to bright sunshine, as time and place together set the scene and paint a clear image in the minds of the reader.
Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott is published in paperback original, priced £7.99, and ebook, priced £3.48, on 17th February 2016.