Since that day, sitting at Heathrow and seeing the two individuals who inspired my thoughts, I have learnt a great deal. I would like to think that much of it has been about human emotion, for understanding and describing that, is the only way an author can bring a character to life. To some extent a thriller writer has it easier with regard to creating situations where people’s emotions are accentuated; and trauma effects people in strange ways. The character of Ian Vaughan’s wife, Sarah, is dramatically altered by her imprisonment and the loss of her unborn child. So frightening and tragic were the events that her reactions, though extreme, I thought would be understandable.
I found it difficult to clearly portray Ian Vaughan however. Not that I did not understand his character but, especially in ‘A Cast of Hawks’, he was so rarely in a position to show his true personality. I learnt in Africa that when you are looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel, to stay alive one must block all emotion, show no fear and concentrate on humouring the person with their finger on the trigger. Prolonged exposure to such threats and torture would make a person retreat inwards emotionally as a means of defence. The journey back to his real self was not possible to achieve in the events of ‘BATSU’ so Ian Vaughan starts to learn to live with the man he has become. Time will tell whether in his new career in counter terrorism he will allow himself to have feelings again.