From Hollywood to Snowdonia, how Wrexham-based writer Simon McCleave traded an apartment on Venice Beach for a hut on the snowy slopes of a Welsh mountain to write his first thrilling crime novel.

Simon McCleave certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to writing. Having worked for the BBC as a script editor and then as a producer for Channel 4, the native Londoner moved across the Atlantic to LA where he worked as a story analyst for Hollywood studios such as Fox and Miramax.

Returning home, Simon then spent his time writing television and film scripts. He worked on a huge range of television series including Silent Witness, The Bill, Eastenders and even wrote a script for David Walliams' first television role in the BBC2 drama Attachments. His film Out of the Game for Channel 4 was a critical success.

Having made the move to the more idyllic landscape of North Wales a decade ago with his wife and children, Simon locked himself away last year and wrote his first novel, a gripping crime thriller The Snowdonia Killings. Now he has just signed a deal for the series to be made into a TV series.

The Snowdonia Killings follows the story of veteran London copper, Det Insp Ruth Hunter, who has had enough of the murder and mayhem of the South London streets.

Now on the cusp of 50, Ruth is looking for a new, more peaceful life in the North Wales Police. A move to Snowdonia was always the dream.

When she's put in charge of two brutal murders, Ruth wonders if Snowdonia is going to end up being her worst nightmare.

Simon said: "I wanted to write about a Londoner being an outsider in a small Welsh community. It's what I went through 10 years ago, so I knew exactly how Ruth would feel."

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Talking about his draw to crime writing, the author said: "I've written since I was a teenager and have always been fascinated with crime books and crime stories.

"When I was a script writer, I was drawn to crime when writing for Silent Witness, Midsomer, Murder In Surburbia and The Bill.

"Writing a novel was fantastic because you have such control over the material. When you work in television there are script editors, producers, exec producers and then directors, all of whom have their ideas about the story and the script.

"It constantly changes and often your favourite ideas get cut. When you write a novel, no one can change a word unless you agree with notes from say an editor."

His inspiration came as a youngster, and Simon added: "When I was young, I started off with Enid Blyton's Secret Seven mysteries and all the Sherlock Holmes novels.

"Then I progressed onto classics such as Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. I also love more modern American crime writers like Richard Price, George Pelecanos and James Elroy.

"I've also found huge inspiration for my writing in film and television. I grew up on the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppolla and television shows such as The Sweeney. In more recent years, I've loved shows like The Wire and The Sopranos."

Asked what drew him to write about Snowdonia, Simon said: "Snowdonia is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's got everything; from stunning mountains, vast lakes, sweeping countryside, disused mines and caves, to deserted beaches.

"As a native South Londoner, I find it incredible that I have this landscape on my doorstep.

"As a writer, I am also drawn to the dark mythology and folk tales of Snowdonia. It's a land of giants, dragons, magicians, great heroes and evil oppressors.

"As a crime writer, I'm obviously drawn to the darker side of Snowdonia's mythology as it seems to reflect our ongoing fascination with the unsettling aspects of human nature."

On deciding to go down the independent publishing route for his books, Simon explains "it's all about control again".

He added: "I tried talking to publishers but it took them six months to get back to me with some vague notes.

"I have friends who have traditional publishing deals and the process can be very frustrating and takes an eternity to get anyone to make a decision.

"The creative control you have in independent publishing is so liberating. I've set up my own publishing company, so I can choose my own cover designer, editor, advertising and launch dates."

• Simon's seventh Snowdonia Murder Mystery novel, The Solace Farm Killings, is available now, and his first book in the series, The Snowdonia Killings, for available to download free via Amazon.