Not all the characters in this opener to the North Wales-based series, “Snowdon Shadows”, are native to the area. So meet the mysterious Brogan Keyes, an American photo-journalist that finds himself in Craig-o-Niwl, for some reason.
Why are you here in this small Welsh village? It isn’t a normal tourist destination.
Photographing the follies built on the moors by Geffron Locke in the early 19th century. That’s for pleasure. My job is writing articles on Welsh Cheese for the Green Bay Press Gazette. But I’ve covered things from fashion to world hunger to riots.
Why should we care about you?
There is no reason not to like me. I’m great company, with great stories, not to mention looks. As anyone in the village.
Some of them say that you are, “too charming to be trusted”.
Can’t think who. I haven’t been here long enough to attract any unwelcome attention. The patrons at the Hare and Cave have been welcoming, even though I find Welsh very difficult. No way can I give the pub its proper name – something like Yr Ysgyfarnog a’r Ogof.
Sounds good to me, but then I know almost no Welsh. Anyway, how would you describe your looks?
Tall with a black curly hair, short close-trimmed beard and a smile. Usually got this camera somewhere. And if I’m maintaining eye contact, that because I like to note everything about people. You never know when they might let on something in their gestures.
Is that why you move slowly and take your time?
Why hurry – unless I’ve got a deadline? When something is done well, then it takes time – like the best cheese. And before you say the best is Welsh, or English, I have to disagree. The best cheese come from Wisconsin, U S of A.
So you’re a ‘cheesehead’?
Not just because of my home state but I’m also as a Green Bay Packers fan that wears a ‘cheesehead’ hat with pride.
You don’t say much. How would you describe your personality?
Why should I? As long as you get your interview, and I get my story. I’m someone who gets what he wants as I never give up… until I have the scoop.
What’s your greatest ability?
Finding the best picture for a story that gets to the truth. The perfect photo tells a story and makes people think.
What’s the story around the Geffron Follies?
I’m still looking for one. The Locke family history is complex, but fascinating. I suspect that a lot of the facts have been buried.
Sounds like a murder mystery. Do you solve those as well? Do you see yourself as heroic?
I’ve rescued women in distress, if that’s what you mean. Of course, if I can help, then I will. I’ll even give someone an alibi, if they need one – and if they’re pretty.
A genuine alibi or concocted? Are you more likely to play a prank or commit a crime?
If the alibi has the right effect, and resolves the situation, I’d supply one. I’ve played plenty of pranks, but my only crimes are two speeding tickets. And the rumour that I’m a grifter, have no basis. Just don’t believe the FBI records. They originated with people harassing my family.
Do people understand you? If not, what do they get wrong?
Most people know why I behave the way I do. It’s a retarded minority that thinks I’m a nuisance. Crazy thing is that some of them still behave as if they want me on their side. Maybe that’s why they say ‘too charming’.
What sort of people like you?
Women of course. They seem to recognise all my best qualities. But that includes my mother and my sister – they know what I’m trying to do. So don’t make me the heartless seducer in this story. I want to be the hero, please.
That presumes that there is a hero. Maybe that role goes to a heroine.
Sounds cool. Just as long as I can help her. Is she the one needing the alibi? I get to see a lot of things through this camera lens – not just Follies. People can make interesting subjects as well. And sometimes that’s the perfect way to meet them too.
You mean the perfect pick-up technique?
That’s happened – like the awesome English girl that I photographed water skiing in Jamaica. She got distracted by the camera and fell – but I was there to rescue her. Definitely time to rekindle that relationship, while I’m over here. As long as it doesn’t distract from my real work.
Don’t want that. It might have the wrong consequences. What are your worst fears?
Forgetting about a deadline of course. As I said, work comes first. And getting slapped because I underestimated a woman. But in both cases, I ensure that never happens.
What were you doing before this story started?
Besides my Welsh cheese research and photographing Follies? Working out what I really need to be writing about to win the Pulitzer Prize. And that’s a serious ambition. In fact, that’s the main reason I was in Jamaica – researching an article about the effects of Hurricane Sandy across the Greater Antilles in October 2012. Somehow the article was dismissed in the wake of other stories. But my scoop will come.
Before the novel began, what were your hopes for the future?
Well, other than the Pulitzer Prize, I was planning on meeting the woman of my dreams. Or maybe I’ve already done that. Some days, I wonder about my ancestors. How did they get to Wisconsin? Why did they go there?
What do you think is going to happen next?
Well from what you’ve hinted at, I’m going to produce the alibi that stops someone getting convicted. From the talk in the pub that would have to be Twyla Locke – the girl that murdered her grandfather. Is she’s as cute as they say, then I will get to seduce her – but then I might have some explaining to do to my friend from Jamaica, when we meet up.
Are you going to die in this story?
I will if Yazzi Locke catches me seducing her cousin Twyla.
The lover as the killer. Great plot twist. Thank you.