I recently took part in an interview for an author/reader site. I thought perhaps you might be interested – I have placed a link to the entire piece here.
What are the real-life stories behind your books?
The struggle of humanity for freedom, for meaning, and to create that cushion between oneself and destitution; that is what I write about. Because that is what I have seen in a wide world in the places I work. My two-part series on Venezuela, the San Porfirio series, came from my living there seven years, in the rise and fall of their political experiment – and to watch a country kill itself, that is unusual. Like a lot of Latin American “dictator” novels written by the greats (Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende, etc.) these novels have magical realism, they try and capture the special spirit that inspires Latin America and makes it unique and different. Lords of Misrule is about a young Tuareg boy from the Sahara who gets dragged into a world of extremism and Jihad, and why, and how he escapes. I, Charles, From the Camps is about a Ugandan refugee who tries to figure out how to carve out a place for himself in the world and how that is hard and how he turns to darkness when all other options are denied him. They are real stories; not about people I’ve actually met, but more archetypes, characters who represent in their struggles the struggles of so many. My first play Dreams of the Defeated is about a political prisoner who attempts to rise up, and how he fails. I have known many political prisoners in my life – and this play I write for them. I’m working on my 5th novel right now – The Unraveling, which is about the end, not how it happened nor what comes after but that in-between period when everything is creaking to a stop.