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Meet a Welsh Author: Beverley Jones fantasises about college life

Portrait of Welsh author Beverly Jones, whose psychological thrillers capitalise on her experience with a police force.

Long, long ago, I was meant to meet Beverley Jones in a cafe in South Wales. We knew we wouldn’t run out of things to talk about.

Beyond our mutual love of reading, and interest in Transcendental Meditation, we had followed very similar careers.

Both of us worked as journalists in Wales before switching to careers in public relations. Beverley went to South Wales Police as the force’s press officer and media manager while I moved into local government public relations. Had our paths ever crossed in our working lives, we wondered?

Well that cup of coffee has long gone cold because fate intervened in the form of Covid-19 lock-downs and restrictions. So I’ve had to “meet” Beverley through social media and her books; dark psychological thrillers which draw on her knowledge of crime and the murkier side of human nature.

Her novel, The Beach House, will be released in paperback by Hachette UK this month (scroll down to find a synopsis). Next month, filming gets underway for an Amazon Prime series based on an earlier novel Wilderness. (see my review here), written under the name of B.E Jones.

Given that busy schedule, I was delighted when Beverley agreed to be featured in Meet a Welsh Author. Here are her answers to my questions.

My Earliest Reading Memory

Reading the 1970s kids’ classic picture books Topsy and Tim, in bed with my mum, especially Topsy and Tim Cross the Channel, as going on a ferry to France seemed impossibly exotic.

The Author Who Changed My Mind

Donna Tartt. I remember reading her crime novel The Secret History, the summer before I left to study English Lit at Uni. It was set on the sort of dream college campus in Maine 18-year-old me fantasised about. Everyone was so self-serving and horrible yet I couldn’t stop reading. It has no traditional ‘hero’ or protagonist to root for, and you know who-dunnit right up front. It was more a case of who is more unpleasant and who’ll get away with it; I was hooked and decided I wanted to write that kind of crime fiction.   

The Book I Keep Returning To

Margaret Atwood. I read every one of hers as soon as they comes out but I love The         

Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin.  

The Last Book I Bought

They by Kay Dick, a reissue of a dystopian classic from the 1960s. 

Most Recommended Book

This is really hard! For crime fans it’s The Talented Mr Ripley, for genre-bending delight, David Mitchell’s The Cloud Atlas. 

You Won’t Find Me Reading …

…. romance or fantasy. Sorry — lovers, wizards and fairies need not apply.

An Unexpected Pleasure

David Nicholl’s Starter for Ten about a hapless working-class kid trying for a place on his college’s University Challenge quiz team.

I Would Love To Have A Drink/Dinner With …

Stephen King or Agatha Christie. 

My Favourite Writing Place

My study. I can’t work anywhere else.

I Wish I’d Written …

Sarah Waters’ superbly twisty Victorian crime romp, Fingersmith. 

Beverley Jones: The Lowdown

Beverley Jones is a former journalist and police press officer. She was born in a small village in the valleys of South Wales and worked as a print journalist with Trinity Mirror newspapers, before becoming a broadcast journalist with BBC Wales Today.

She also worked as a press officer and media manager for South Wales Police, participating in criminal investigations, security operations, counter terrorism and emergency planning. She channels these experiences into her writing.

Her most recent novels, Where She Went, Halfway and Wilderness are published by Little Brown.

You can follow Bev on Twitter @bevjoneswriting and on Instagram.

Synopsis of The Beach House

The beach house was perfect place to hide. Or so she thought . .

When Grace Jensen returns to her home one day, she finds a body in a pool of blood and a menacing gift left for her.

The community of Lookout Beach is shocked by such a brutal intrusion in their close-knit neighbourhood – particularly to a family as successful and well-liked as the Jensens – and a police investigation to find the trespasser begins. But Grace knows who’s after her. She might have changed her name and moved across the world, deciding to hide on the Oregon coast, but she’s been waiting seventeen years for what happened in the small Welsh town where she grew up to catch-up with her.

Grace might seem like the model neighbour and mother, but nobody in Lookout Beach — not even her devoted husband Elias — knows the real her. Or how much blood is on her hands.

Publication date: 21 April 2022

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