THE NOTION OF WRITING THIS UNCONVENTIONAL novel (which rapidly evolved into a series) may have journeyed no further than my personal laptop if not for the support, encouragement, and patient indulgence of my family and friends. Creating a work worthy of transiting beyond the home IP required the unfiltered feedback from my beta readers, the financial backing of Quondam Publishing, and the broad expertise and dedication of my publishing partners at Paper Raven Books.

To engineer a compelling intersection between a footpath of fictional characters’ storylines and a highway of documented history required the consumption of a significant volume of Open Source Intelligence. Hundreds of hours of digital reconnaissance—pulling news articles, academic journals, government reports, congressional and parliamentary hearing transcripts, and Freedom of Information releases, as well as redacted and unredacted documents leaked by the sources you’d expect—were poured into the foundation and infrastructure. But I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to a few of the living, breathing sources of inspiration for the backdrop of “truth” creating the world through which our fictional spies trudge.

My sincere admiration and humble appreciation go out to the real-life quondam soldiers, spies, and unsung public servants who now embrace life as authors, podcasters, and leadership whisperers. People like Chris Ryan, Michael Coates, Andrew Bustamante, Chris Carr, David Ure, and Gavin Watson use the talent, access, and influence of their own notoriety to shine a spotlight on voices that might otherwise go unheard. A few of those voices (with permission) may find homage paid on the pages of an Intersection storyline, but all have notably contributed to the context of historical events, providing inside perspectives that continue to inform and inspire my own journey as a writer of journalistic fiction.

Before training my research efforts on soldiers and spies, however, came key sparks of inspiration from my career as a corporate executive that shaped how the characters would develop. Cutting across all of the personalities in the Intersection series, I credit the influence of my own intersection with Hile Rutledge, president of the OKA training, consulting and publishing firm. The countless hours I spent in Hile’s training sessions to become credentialed in corporate performance coaching assessment tools like the MBTI, EQ-i, and SDI ultimately turned my characters into hidden case studies for the Myers-Briggs personality types, emotional intelligence attributes, and effective communication styles. Apparently, turning off the business-leadership part of the brain just isn’t possible.

And finally, continuing on the leadership train, was the unexpected influence of Major General Paul Nanson (retired), commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 2015 to 2020. Six months into my nights-and-weekends writing process for book one, six days after I tendered my formal resignation from the corporate grind for a career as a full-time author, Paul’s book Stand Up Straight: 10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was released. The brilliance and simplicity of the book’s message struck a chord—a more concise distilling of the leadership lessons I had striven to model and coach throughout my career. My ensuing deep dive into all things Sandhurst became the connective tissue to entwine the backstories of seemingly separate storylines.

The words of character Richard ring true… nothing is unrelated.

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