I've been fortunate in more ways than I can count. I recognize that I was born in the right place at the right time, and that the circumstances of my birth have had much to do with the good luck I've enjoyed in life. One clear advantage I've had is the advantage of travel. My family traveled often when I was a child. My father was a pilot for United Air Lines and one of the perks of that position was near free air travel for our family. I grew up on the East Coast and by the time I was 18 I'd been as far west and south as Hawaii, as far north as Denmark, and as far east as Salzburg, Austria. As a young adult I lived in San Francisco, visited St. Croix, and lived and worked on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands after brief stays in Florida and Puerto Rico. Joining the Army meant time in South Carolina for basic training, 18 months in Monterey, California, a few months in West Texas, a couple of months outside of Washington, D.C., and three years in what was then known as West Berlin. I was pretty busy while I was living in Berlin, but I still managed to get to France, Switzerland, Austria, England, and Crete, and I also saw much of Germany.
All of that travel (and admittedly it is modest by some standards) has stood me in good stead as I write the Nick Temple Files. Berlin is the focus of Switchback; Crete is where most of the action in The Heraklion Gambit takes place; and St. Thomas in the USVI provides the setting for much of Silent Vector. It is certainly possible to write about places I've never been. The internet's vast resources have allowed me to write about Moscow, Cuba, Kenya, and Cairo, all places I've never actually seen. But it may go without saying that writing about a place I've visited or lived in comes much easier, and is actually more enjoyable.
The Nick Temple Files are international thrillers. Silent Vector, for instance, takes place in at least 7 different countries. No doubt we all make use of our life's experiences in a variety of ways. Without the experience and the advantage of travel, I don't think I'd ever have been able to imagine and create the story that is at the heart of each of these books. And I'm grateful for that, and for so much more.