The original research for the Long shadows series started four or five years ago, well before there was any inkling there would be a series. Vague ideas for a single novel floated around families and a love story, with the main character being a nurse involved in significant work.
Two serendipitous pieces of information came my way. First was a YouTube video of an elephant wrecking a campsite sent by one of my brothers. Second was news of a friend’s son-in-law flying in Africa with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Suddenly I had a major location, Africa, and a mobile love interest. Then came the country location – Sudan, when my attention was drawn by Deborah Scroggins book emma’s war, to the impacts of the violence of the civil war in that country during the 1980s and 1990s. A cameo scene in Scroggins book about the work of Médecins sans Frontières gave me medical humanitarian aid as the significant work focus. The later Scroggins book featured in the picture also shapes part of the story set in Amsterdam
And so started wide ranging reading and internet research around many related topics. Much of it has been heart-rending, but uplifting as well. I honour the many thousands of expatriate volunteers and national workers in aid situations.
It took a while for the main characters to develop and to find their way to Africa. That happens in the second novel of the series Present tense, as the sub-plots weave through the larger story. I intend to use this stream of the blog to highlight some of the wonderful and varied research resources I found along the way.