The 2016 United States presidential election was a doozy. Yeah, I know, that’s an understatement but it dominated the news cycles, even here in Bosnia. Even though I tried to ignore it, the constant barrage of news about the scandal ridden candidates was inescapable. At first I was amused, but quickly I grew anxious about the likely outcome. Like most, I was dumbfounded when I woke up on November 9th to the news. Unfortunately, real life is stranger than fiction and having the presidency in the hands of—I can’t even type the name—is surreal to say the least but it made Backdoor Politics seem more plausible.
The idea for Backdoor Politics came to me one night when I was thinking about the things politicians do to get into, and then stay in, power. I knew I didn’t want to write about a politician, so I turned my attention to those around someone who is in the political sphere. I wondered about what one would do if he was forced to deal with someone, maybe a child, who would make him look bad in the public eye. Then Kamal stepped up, because that’s how the characters in my head work. They sort of start talking to me one day and there you have it, I’m stuck with a hitman whispering dark things into my ear.
When I started writing, I had no idea where exactly the story was going to end up. Kamal’s backstory came to me first. This story is the only one where I’ve written scenes out of sequence because I needed to get the flashbacks down on paper, and then figure out where they fit into the overall picture.
Kamal’s past was the driving factor in the decisions he made, and his relationship with Orhan was the one thing I knew I had to get right, but I had to do it without giving away everything at once. Doling it out in small pieces through the flashbacks was my only option, but finding how to integrate them into the present-day story line was more challenging. When I finally figured out where they were best placed, things fell into line much easier.
Some of the characters in Backdoor Politics ended up surprising me. Orhan was much worse than I’d thought he was going to be originally. Demetri was another surprise, and he actually changed the major direction of the book late in the game. And finally, Zijad surprised me; I never expected him to be such a strong character. I guess out of all my characters, Kamal was the most predictable. He only did one thing that caught me off guard, and I’m sorry Julien stood in his way at the time when I could least anticipate Kamal’s next move.
Backdoor Politics is a deceiving title because this book as very little to do with actual politics. It’s not a love story, but in its own way it’s not not a love story because love – albeit one from the past – was the driving factor behind Kamal’s motivations.