by Chris Goff
Why I was destined to write DARK WATERS.
Like many of us, I am a child of the Cold War. My grade school had a bomb shelter and conducted regular “nuclear fallout drills,” where we filed into the halls, crouched down on our knees, and covered our heads. Not that it would have done much good. And, in the event of a real emergency, who was the bomb shelter for? The teachers?
It was a conspiracy.
During my grade school years, notable things happened in the world: the Bay of Pigs; space flight; the Vietnam War; President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and MLK, Jr. were assassinated; man walked on the moon; and the Beatles came to America.
It was a definitely a conspiracy. Just ask my grandma.
Junior high and high school saw their share of notables, too: Charles Manson, Kent State, the Pentagon Papers, Love Canal, Watergate, and Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.
Concurrently, I was reading. I devoured novels by Helen MacInnes, Ian Fleming, John Le Carré, Graham Greene, Jack Higgins, Donald Hamilton. Need I go on? But it was a trip abroad at fifteen studying French in Bordeaux and a later trip at nineteen backpacking Europe for six months that really opened my eyes.
Over the years I’ve traveled, a lot. I’ve written columns and articles, done graphic production work, and written six mystery novels. Then something happened that took me to Israel.
In 1999, one of my young daughters got sick and needed medical treatment only available in Tel Aviv. We lived there for two months, and in our free time explored. The suicide bombings were gearing up again, and everywhere we went there was the sense of a country at war. The mixture of religions and the interactions of the people both fascinated and perplexed me. Then, on a weekend trip to Tiberias, a small city on the shores of the Lake Kinneret, I discovered my thriller.
As fate would have it, I was under contract and had to tuck my idea away to write five more books in my mystery series. Then finally, ten years later and no longer under contract, I knew the time was right to work on the thriller.
DARK WATERS is set in Tel Aviv and features Diplomatic Security Service agent Raisa Jordan. Sent out to investigate the assassination of her predecessor in Dizengoff Square, Jordan ends up protecting a U.S. federal judge and his daughter. It doesn’t take her long to uncover a sinister plot that could leave millions of lives hanging in the balance.
The sequel, RED SKY (which I’m just finishing up) opens with Jordan in Ukraine. A year ago, I needed to do some research for the novel, so my youngest daughter and I hopped a plane to Kiev. One of the first things we discovered was—for a very modest sum—we could take a guided tour of the front lines: flak jacket, helmet, Humvee and armed guard included. Wiser heads prevailed (my daughter’s)!
All things conspired to make me a writer, but Israel will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I discovered the idea that refused to be sidelined. It a place that burrowed it’s way into my soul and changed me!
I’m curious, in 50 words or less, where is your place and why?