Drawn Into Danger follows a 24-year-old’s journey to teach English in Algeria, where he becomes immersed in local culture and unwittingly drawn into a secret police operation to thwart a coup. Were there any personal experiences or stories that influenced your writing of Drawn Into Danger?
I lived and worked in Algeria from 1979 to 1982, and I used my experiences of the settings to place the story, but most of the actions described are fictional. It was an exciting time, and using the idea of a secret plot to overthrow the government wasn’t so far-fetched as there were periods of instability. However, for many reasons, mainly because I was young and it was my first real job, I fell in love with the country and the people. But yes, some of the incidents are real, and a few characters are based on people I knew, but they are inserted into situations that tested them. By using touches of reality, I think the characters and events become realistic and acceptable. One example of an actual event is the car crash in the desert, but I added elements to make it fit into the story.
How did you balance the fast-paced action and suspense with the central themes of friendship and loyalty in the novel?
You are right. Friendship and loyalty are the binding themes that create a lasting relationship between the characters. I allied this with the idea that jealousy can destroy relationships. Dave had to cope with envy of his ex-lover, Steve. Susan had to choose between forgiving her husband, a serial adulterer, or leaving him and the beautiful villa she lived in looking out onto the Mediterranean Sea.
I needed a strong bond that would ensure the characters felt loyalty to support each other as they devised a revenge plot, even in dangerous situations.
The first part of the story sets the scene and creates the atmosphere for the rest of the book when events take control of Dave’s and his friends’ lives. There is a sequence of actions that are at first unconnected, but they begin to coalesce to trap the characters into a trajectory that they lose control of and with consequences that they would never have predicted.
What kind of message do you hope readers will take away from Dave’s journey in the novel?
Life is full of risks, yet at the same time, it’s exciting, and maybe those risks are worth taking no matter where they lead. Dave took a chance, going to Algeria, leaving a lasting impression on him. Dave loses someone he loved, but it leaves open an eternal question. Is it worth rolling the dice because who knows what will happen?
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