Actually, this book wasn't the idea for my first book.
Back in the 1980s, I was sitting with a friend and discussing the situation in the Middle East with Tom Sutherland and Terry Waite. One of the things we discussed was: What would s*omething like that be for a woman?
From that discussion Cameron Andrews was born. She'd be a CIA agent who got caught up in a political situation and would spend several years in captivity in a foreign country.
As I started to write, I kept looking back. Who was Cameron Andrews? Why was she working for the CIA? What was she doing that would put her into a place where she could be h*eld captive. Everything had to happen for a reason. Even twists in the plot had a beginning somewhere.
As I started to answer those questions, her character took shape… which created several other problems. First; Who was Cameron Andrews? Where did she grow up? What was her educational background? Her family? Her friends?
I had to put some of my personal experience into her, so I'd have some insight into her character, so she had to be from New England, had gone to college in Boston…and she had to be a lesbian.
She grew up in Lexington Massachusetts. (I'd lived there while I was in college) She went to Radcliffe College. (I went to Boston University, but I always wanted to go to a more expensive school.) She had a younger brother and sister, parents, two grandmothers and a granddad.
She started as an International Affairs major with prospects of working in the Diplomatic Corpse, but ended up working for the CIA. Why?
Her younger brother had died of an overdose while in college and her parents had been killed in a traffic accident with a young man who was DUI. It seemed a good reason for Cameron to join a drug enforcement team.
Everyone is a product of her environment, whether as a direct result or as a way to fight against it. Cameron's mother was a political journalist who had instilled in her a set of morals that she chose to live by.
Her two grandmothers, one a staid New Englander who was proud of being a Daughter of the American Revolution, the other, a political liberal who'd been a suffragette. Cameron had a lot to choose from.
How did the CIA know about her? After grad school, in order to have more adventure in her life and honor her brother and parents memory, she'd gone to the police academy. Had her reputation been enough?
Back in the early 90s, the U.S. Government didn’t hire homosexuals, and if you were gay, you hid it. Could Cameron remain closeted? I wasn't, how could she be?
And so, once I knew my main character, I had to write her life to explain her actions. I had to create her friends and decide what the other characters would be and how they impacted her. Did she have a romantic interest? You can't write something without one. Where did they meet? What attracted them to each other? How would Cameron's actions in the CIA impact that *relationship? Once I knew who everyone was, the story almost wrote itself.
Then another problem arose. The publisher put on the cover “A Cameron Andrews Mystery.” What?
I hadn't planned to write anything other than those two books. Now I had to invent other adventures.
The six volume series was born.
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