As most of you may know, I have been working on my latest novel, DECLAN, for about three years now. I promised to have it released long ago, but I have a good excuse for taking so long to finally finish a story that was, more often than not, very emotional for me.
With all of the publicity over last week’s guilty verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell case, I thought it might be time for me to talk a little bit about my years long research into the horrific reality of human trafficking. Because as terrible and disturbing as her story is, there are even worse predators out there in the world.
That’s right, human slavery isn’t just for has-been socialites anymore.
You see, I had a little crisis of – something – about four years ago and decided I didn’t want to be a novelist anymore. Instead, I was going to set out to save the world by bringing attention to all its many injustices through my writing.
Homelessness, child poverty, refugees seeking asylum from the fear of torture and death, human smuggling. You know, a champion of all those who are subjugated by people more powerful than them.
Only problem was, actually getting access to those people to write their stories is far more challenging and dangerous than I anticipated. (I may write about brave, strong, fearless women, but that doesn’t mean I am one.) Bak-bak-baaaaak!
Anyway, in the process of that whole soul-searching adventure, I came across an organization called Operation Underground Railroad founded and operated by a man named Tim Ballard. After hearing the stories of children who were stolen from their homes and sold into slavery, seeing the great lengths he and his team were willing to go in order to bring those kids back home, I knew I had to write a fictional hero based on a man who is truly larger than life.
Everything I read and heard about initially led me to believe that this kind of slavery originated mainly in the Asian, African, and Middle Eastern segments of the world population.
So, I decided to set my story in Mexico, with a focus on the cartels, believing that Declan would be more fiction than fact.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Did you know that 70% of human trafficking victims come from Mexico, and that 50% of those victims are minors?
Did you also know that more than 138 journalists have been brutally and publicly murdered in Mexico since 2010?
And do you know why?
I had no idea when I came up with the premise for this book just how much of it would actually be true. And then I started looking for a few facts to support the story and give it greater substance. The more I looked, the more I found out about the absolute inhuman practices of the Mexican cartels. And the more I realized how difficult it would be to write Declan in the same tenor as the Pay Series from whence it came.
There’s so much more to say about that, and I will later on. In the meantime, have a wonderful week and be thankful for everything you have in 2022.
And speaking of being thankful, we’re getting close to the end of the promotion period for my friends over at Free Fantasy Reads
So be sure to check it out soon and let me know what fascinating alternative worlds you found to immerse yourselves in.