Why did I choose the Congo as the setting for Heart of Diamonds? That's one of the most frequent questions I get from readers. The answer is really pretty simple: there are few places on earth where such action and adventure are daily events.
War is a horrible thing—and the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the worst the world has ever seen—but it has always served writers well as a setting that draws out the essence of their characters. I write about fictional characters in real situations because that heightens the excitement for the reader and sweeps them into the plot.
Heart of Diamonds is a work of fiction, but it is based on actual events in the most deadly conflict since World War II. I drew heavily on news accounts of rape as a weapon of terror, child soldiers, widespread corruption at all levels of government, and the very sad plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the violence that continues to wrack the nation.
I also wanted to write something that captures the vibrancy and complexity of Africa, and a suspenseful adventure framed against the endless war in the DRC seemed like the perfect approach.