Omnimystery News is pleased to welcome crime novelist Henry Mosquera, whose debut thriller is Sleeper's Run (Oddity Media Trade Paperback, July 2011, print and ebook editions).
Henry titled today's post, "Write about what you know, but if you don't know …"
— ◊ —
I loved researching Sleeper's Run. Well, I love research, period. Granted, many of the themes portrayed in the story are of general interest to me, so not only did I have a good running start, but it also made the process more enjoyable. Piles of non-fiction texts, documentaries and articles informed me about history, politics, military units, tactics, technology, espionage and other topics. My life-long affair with martial arts definitely came in handy. I've been exposed to a wide variety of martial arts throughout my life, even becoming an instructor for a few years. The fighting systems involved in the plot were not randomly chosen. Needless to say, a lot of care and technical savvy went into to the fight scenes/self-defense situations in the story. I also drew from my knowledge of rock climbing, scuba diving, interest in Special Operation Forces and passion for history and traveling. Yet, that wasn't enough for me.
Photo provided courtesy of
When we think about a writer, one pictures some disheveled hermit wearing an old robe with socks and sandals, i.e. Johnny Depp in the Secret Window. There's some truth to that, but how many authors do you know spend a day escaping a team of trackers after having been kidnapped?
That was the final exam of an urban survival class I took in the name of research. The course taught me how to pick locks, do social engineering, disappear into a crowd and other cool skills that came in handy when writing Sleeper's. That and it was also a popular topic of conversation at social gatherings. "Come here and entertain us with your stories of urban survival," someone asked me at a recent friend's wedding. Tactical shooting, knife self-defense and a few flying lessons also became part of the repertoire of things I chose to experience first hand.
Make no mistake I'm a weekend warrior. In no way do my forays into these exciting worlds put me anywhere near in the same league as my protagonist, the true professionals he represents, or the people who spend their lives dedicated to their respective disciplines. Curiosity and personal edification aside, this type of research informed me of the mechanics and psychology required to represent Eric Caine's abilities as realistic as I could. In some instances it even changed the way I looked at certain things, and it made me gain a whole new appreciation for the work of those who have to use this knowledge in the real world.
These experiences also put me in front of people who have to learn those skills as part of their job: federal agents, the military, law enforcement, etc. and of course, their instructors. I spent those priceless encounters trying to pick their brain as much as I could respectfully do.
I always say Sleeper's Run is a fiction novel built on a solid non-fiction foundation. Research was a lot of fun, in fact, it still is. I can't wait for the next adventure, whether it's a class, book, person or a trip that will inevitably find its way into my work. Keep on running!
— ◊ —
Henry was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He attended the University of Miami, Florida, where he obtained a double major in Graphic Design and Film. As a writer, he enjoys researching his novels extensively, including gaining first-hand knowledge of some of his characters' skills. He currently reside in Los Angeles with my wife, dog and cat. For more information about the author and his book, visit his website at Sleepers-Run.com.
— ◊ —
About Sleeper's Run:
War on Terror veteran Eric Caine is found wandering the streets of Miami with no memory of the car accident that left him there. Alone and suffering from PTSD, Eric is on a one-way road to self-destruction.
Then a chance meeting at a bar begins a series of events that helps Eric start anew.
When his new job relocates him to Venezuela — the land of his childhood — things, however, take an ominous turn as a catastrophic event threatens the stability of the country.
Now Eric must escape an elite team of CIA assassins as he tries to uncover an international conspiracy in which nothing is what it seems.