Writing The Blue Pearl by L.J. Martin

If any of you are interested in the process of writing a thriller such as THE BLUE PEARL, let me take a moment to explain mine…

First, my wife and I took the exact cruise as is the background for the novel. In addition to visiting the ship’s bridge and getting a rundown on the navigation and steering systems, I spent fairly extensive time interviewing the crew, including the security officers. This was the third-largest ship I’ve spent time on, in addition to dozens of smaller vessels and owning and sailing my own ketch, so nautical terms are not foreign to me.

I took a tour of the inner workings of the three ships, with the exception of the engine rooms which are off-limits to passengers. Of course, a plethora of plans and descriptions of ships of all kinds are available online.

The European locations visited in the novel were visited and enjoyed, including the restaurants, by my wife and I. We returned from each of the three trips with over two thousand photos. We did not travel to Algeria or Libya, as I did not travel to North Korea for the writing of THE K FACTOR, however extensive travel and yes, sub rosa, works have been written by those who have done so in more peaceful times. I have, however, visited the majority of locales I write about.

Google Earth now takes the curious traveler on a virtual journey to those places of interest, in my case deep into the Sahara. The incredible coverage of exotic locales by National Geographic and other documentary sources does wonders. The CIA offers a handbook on each and every country in the world. I do not speak Arabic, however a beta reader who is Arabic and Muslim was kind enough to correct my attempts at utilizing web assets. Of course, it helps to have a knowledge of firearms and I’m an avid shooter who’s had some training and possesses a number of weapons and a concealed carry permit good in 36 states.

In addition, we’ve attended many seminars at the FBI and ATF&E facilities. Many ocean-going ships, including cruise ships, are dual-fueled as is the fictional Blue Pearl. The ship we enjoyed, which will remain unnamed, was not, but having many thousands of cubic feet of LPG onboard added to the suspense in a way I couldn’t exclude.

I hope you enjoy No. 10 in THE REPAIRMAN series, THE BLUE PEARL, as much as I enjoyed preparing for and writing the novel.

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