Q: How did you come up with the intricate geopolitical storyline?
Actually, I was teaching writing in Kazakhstan and we visited a region of the country with the depressed economy because of the low price of oil. There was a crackdown by the police on foreigners, specifically those from the Middle East, who were coming to recruit potential terrorists to fight for extremist groups. Since their economy depended on oil selling for about a hundred dollars a barrel and it was down below fifty, unemployment was high, people were desperate for jobs, and the idea of going to fight in order to raise money to send back home to family members was attractive to some young Kazakhstan men. All of this ended up finding its way in some form into the novel. I never thought that a story of mine would have so many real-world story threads, but it adds a level of credibility to the story.