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Seeing the Story

I have an active imagination. Always have. When my children were little, I put them to bed asking what type of story they would like. It may be simple, a trip to the beach with their cousins. It may be grand, reaching for the stars. Then I would make up a story on the spot.

When I travel, I imagine possibilities. For example, I had been kicking around for as long as I can remember the idea of people finding a sophisticated code buried for thousands of years. How would that shake up our concept of the development of humankind? That idea inspired my latest novel, The Code Hunters. When I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, I knew this would be where the code is found, 750 feet beneath the earth.

I worked with a friend who was an active caver to get the details right. I read other works on the Carlsbad area and its maze of caves. Although I made all of this stuff up, I wanted the details right.

When I vacationed in southern Italy, I visited Castel di Monte. Set upon a mountain not unlike the one used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind for the alien spaceship, Castel di Monte is ripe with mystery. No one has ever occupied it, and no one knows why Frederico Secondo built it. Perfect! I gave it a purpose.

In Rome, off the beaten path of tourists, there is a mountain of broken pottery shards forgotten for centuries until modern citizens found it was cool inside the shards and perfect for storing wine. When I visited it, I thought it perfect for a secret lab run by the World Health Organization. The plot of The Code Hunters advanced.

The coast around the boot heel of Italy is laced with grottos. I saw a perfect place for the climax of the novel.

The Code Hunters moves around the world with a team of people conjured up by my active imagination.

Shall I tell you a story?

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Jackson Coppley

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