Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Post: Henry Mosquera

Curling Up By The Fire would like to welcome Henry Mosquera, author of the psychological thriller / suspense novel Sleeper's Run, which released in July 27th, 2011.  Henry is here today to discuss his love of research and the process he used to research his latest novel.  A huge fan of research myself, I find myself fascinated by the processes others use to find information and how it gets incorporated into their work.  Before we get to the discussion, take a look at a brief synopsis of Sleeper's Run (and don't forget to come back for an interview with Henry Mosquera and giveaway on October 16th):

War on Terror veteran Eric Caine awakes in a hospital with no recollection of his arrival or the events leading up to it. “Mr. Caine, your employer has filed a missing person report on you. That was eight days ago. Since then, no one has had any idea of your whereabouts,” says Doctor Goldman after Eric gains consciousness. 

Found wandering the streets of Miami speaking Arabic with no memory of the car accident that left him there, Eric is alone on a one-way road to self-destruction. Suffering from PTSD and trying to piece the past few days together, Eric makes his way to a bar where a chance encounter begins a series of events, restoring the equilibrium in his life. When his new job relocates him to Venezuela – the land of his childhood – things take an ominous turn as a catastrophic event threatens his own stability and 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.

Researching a Novel
by Henry Mosquera

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.

When we think about a writer, one pictures some disheveled hermit wearing an old robe with socks and sandals, ie. 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!


  1. Nice to meet you, Henry! I know how much the research process can take in writing!

    It sounds like a really intriguing synopsis, by the way.

  2. Ditto that I love researching for my novels. And with the internet, finding sources is so much easier now than even five years ago (granted, though, fact checking is likewise more important--wikipedia only gets you so far). A friend-of-a-friend's research even let to a company revamping their entire security system because she found a huge weakspot when doing research for a book.