In 2007 I took a Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Writing Course from the University of California at Irvine’s Extension Program. One of the first assignments was to plot a novel. While driving home from class, the idea of three people colliding over cocaine came to me. At the next class my professor and the other students loved the storyline and encouraged me to write the novel, but I had no clue about drugs or the drug world.
Through networking, I met a retired DEA Special Agent, and she shared her experiences. When she was in her mid-twenties, her husband died unexpectedly, as did her baby daughter a few months later. Devastated, she had no reason to live and feeling like she had nothing more to lose, she volunteered to go undercover with the Sinaloa Cartel in Southern California. Attractive and well endowed, she infiltrated the organization and became a top boss’ girlfriend, which enabled her to feed information to the DEA. Posing as a drug kingpin’s girlfriend was an incredibly dangerous job—if she’d been discovered, she would have been tortured, then boiled in acid—a practice known as making pozole.
She described her “boyfriend”: the cockiness, the foul language he used, his “rules do not apply to me” attitude, the way he walked, dressed, and treated others as his servants. He had no qualms about killing, kidnapping, or extortion; he’d do whatever it took to save his business.
These descriptions became the genesis for my antagonist, Miguel. The twenty-nine-year-old’s intimidating personality was easy to portray, and because his character was strong, his maliciousness permeated the entire story, even if he wasn’t in a scene.
What about you, dear reader? Have you encountered an individual who creeped you out? Have you sensed a stranger’s sinister soul? What did you do? Did you put your judgment aside and reach out, or retreat as fast as possible? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Michele I. Khoury
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Hi guys, hope you enjoyed this guest post by Michelle! It has been very interesting to find a bit more about the inspiration behind the bad guy. I am now back from my holiday abroad which is why it’s been so quiet around here. I’ve had a great time and now I am feeling ready to take over the world, hahah!