People often ask me, “Where did you get the idea for your book?”
This may not be a typical answer, but the ideas for Noble Phoenix had been developing, forming and re-forming for most of my life. When I retired, I finally had the opportunity to focus and write, and to unleash everything that was bottled up.
Science: From an early age, I have been fascinated by science. When I enlisted in the Navy, I supported aviation electronics equipment. In civilian life, my career focused on computers, global telecommunication and network security, supporting both government and commercial clients. This led me to include hi-tech surveillance equipment, drones and stem cells in Noble Phoenix.
The brain: I was always interested in the human body, dissecting animals at an early age. When my younger son was diagnosed with autism, I became interested in the brain. Unlike other organs, the detailed functions and capabilities of the brain are not well-understood. Today, science knows how to detect and interfere with brain waves, something I explored in this book.
Stem Cells: As a teenager, DNA intrigued me. The concept of cloning became a reality when Dolly the sheep was “born”. Not long after that, human stem cells were discovered, stimulating me to think about their potential. This is where I got the idea of using stem cells to stimulate major improvements in brain functions in Noble Phoenix.
World View: I never paid much attention to “social studies” in school, preferring science and math. As an adult, I realized my knowledge in history and geography was sorely lacking, so I studied maps and read voraciously, in an attempt to fill in the gaps. I had the opportunity to travel in the Navy, my civilian career, and pleasure trips. I developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world around us. In addition, I spent much of my civilian career communicating and supporting products and services across the globe. Noble Phoenix is centered in the Czech Republic, but the action takes place throughout Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. I created maps and included them in critical parts of the book to bring the reader along on this global journey.
World Conflicts and Alliances: When I joined the Navy during the Vietnam War, I observed the effect of conflicts and alliances first-hand. Shortly after I was discharged from the Navy, the European Common Market expanded from six countries to nine. It made me wonder how large this alliance could become, and what that could mean to the world. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries represented another side of the coin. Around the same time, OPEC demonstrated their power with an oil embargo, and several radical Palestinian groups used hijackings, kidnappings, bombings and shootings to support their cause. Over the next forty years or so, I’ve followed the reporting on international conflicts, trying to understand the motivations of all sides. This led to the geopolitical plots and events included in Noble Phoenix.
Beer: From the time I could afford to be particular, I developed a fondness for quality beer, and a curiosity for the technology, history and stories of beer and brewing. Often, I combined travel with visits to breweries and beer events across America and overseas. Over the years, I’ve tasted thousands upon thousands of different beers, so it seemed natural to feature many of them in my novel.
Conspiracy Theories: For years, I read about every popular conspiracy theory – the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and JFK, secret societies linked to the Knights Templar, Area 51 and many others. My skeptical mind discovered holes in many of them, but one class of theories remains credible to me — the idea of a few powerful men making selfish decisions that affect millions of innocent people. This led me to create the Puppet Master for my novel.