|Car makers do their best to inspire journalists by inviting them to far-flung places, but for WGMW member Simon Hacker, the backdrop for many Scottish launches became the setting for a dark comedy.
Set in and around the Sutherland fishing village of Tongue, Polar Nights, now on sale through Amazon and published by Bristol-based ThornBerry Publishing, is Simon's debut novel.
With a brisk bodycount and plenty of twists, the story centres on race against time and nature, the chief villain being a marauding polar bear who washes up on a rogue iceberg.
"I think my first encounter with a polar was actually on a Volvo event in Stockholm - and it was, I confess, stuffed - but the intimidating presence of the thing must have started me thinking. And the landscape around Tongue - a favoured haunt of Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Mazda trips in the past - made prime material for a dramatic story."
Simon says Audi helped him with some wheels for a recent return trip to refine the plot, and after a bungled attempt to climb Ben Hope, he gained some valuable experience for the story's tense finale, but he's tight-lipped about the bear's fate.
"I'm told the story markets in the emerging trend for eco-thrillers - but essentially it's a comedy with a dark storyline."