Facts that make fiction believable!






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RESEARCH: Sacrament of Fear


Places and People

I prefer to have been to the locations I write about in my stories but that has not always been possible. In those cases I find the Internet to be invaluable in learning about those areas both for geography and history. In Sacrament of Fear, for instance, I have never been to Damascus, so for those chapters I relied on Google Earth for terrain and street names, and the Internet for cultural information, as well as hotels, taxis, and the Souk. I also used a travel book on Syria for names, language, and customs. And I called on my personal experience of many months in Peshawar, Pakistan to establish the sensory inputs I would expect were I to travel to Damascus.

For other locations in that storyThe Netherlands, France, and Scotland—I drew from my direct experiences traveling around those places, and used the names of friends or historical figures for my characters. In those instances, I should say that, while characters might be named for and modeled after friends, it is never my intention to make those characterizations isomorphic to the actual people! And I don't use the names of friends for the bad guys in my stories. Or, as I tell others, "I will never make my friends look bad...I might kill them off; but I'll never make them look bad!" Basically, I figure I need to name characters something, so why not use names I already know, which also serves as a way of saying to my friends, "Hi...I was thinking of you!"

For my characters in The Hague, I used the names of friends from my years with Philips Semiconductors.


Things I learned enroute to looking up other stuff!!


Sacrament of Fear

          I have to locate my backup disks for most of this material, but till then...

          The Quran factors into the story but when I first started writing it, I had as yet to read the Quran (or Koran). It is really a very nice work; not at all what some would have us believe. Here is a little background on the concept of Jihad, which I use at the end of the story when Ahmad clarifies that term for Wes and company. Click on JIHAD to see pdf discussion of this concept.


We first




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