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So, why did I write this particular book . . .?

So, why did I write this particular book . . .?

There’s no deep hidden reason why I chose to write this book first.  I started with a topic and genre I knew and liked – fiction, thrillers, and military themes.  I’m sorry it isn’t a chick-book, as one good friend laments.  But I don’t think I could do a good chick-book. 

I began by looking at things in my past that might provide fodder-for-the-mind in developing interesting plots and dramatic situations.  One of the most interesting places I have ever been is the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.  It’s a place of stark beauty, harsh conditions, high stress, some degree of risk.  And it’s a place most soldiers can relate to. 

I noodled on the NTC as a setting for a long, long time.  One theme kept popping up in my brain: What if we unearthed a dead body during the process of a routine training exercise?  It was this theme that propelled me into considering all kinds of scenarios.  Would the body be male or female?  Naked or not?  What kind of conspiracy would surround the body?  It took me months of thinking while driving before I reached a satisfactory set of circumstances for the plot. 

But I was never comfortable with the pace of the story.  Until, I heard a song on the radio which turned my thinking into another direction – it was the key I needed.  Until that moment, I was thinking of writing the work as a single time-line, with all present tense action and set solely at Fort Irwin.  The song was Live to Tell, by Madonna, which starts with a retelling of some horrendous past event and how it is impacting the singer’s present day life.  That was the key.  I could tell the NTC tale as a flashback, not as a current day time-line.   At that point the story started taking shape.  The NTC events would be explained as a past event – as it turned out by use of the literary device where the protagonist writes them into a journal.

I needed a solid protagonist.  My inspiration for him came from channel-surfing one day.  The movie, The Verdict, with Paul Newman was on.  Newman plays a drunken lawyer who stumbles along and in his ineptitude wins a major case.  That was my hero – a flawed, jaded man who thinks his honor has fled the scene, but is put in circumstances where he needs it again.  The pivotal question is: can he find it when he needs it? 

So, with a plot, a protagonist, and a setting – I started writing.

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