WRITING A POLITICAL thriller in the Trump era was…a trip.

As long-time readers know, the first three years I lived in the Washington, D.C., suburbs (Alexandria, Virginia) was spent in the audience of national security think tank lectures and attending small foreign policy forums, listening and learning from national and global experts.

Foreign policy is one of my passions. Weaving it through CITIZEN KATE became an adventure, as did the immersion of cultural rifts in a post-Trump age. The presidency of DJT hovers over tomorrow’s history.

An excerpt from my new disturbing political thriller, CITIZEN KATE, out at the end of October.

… American politics hadn’t been the same since Trump. People no longer argued points of view. Facts were countered with “alternative facts.”

Truth had taken a mortal blow.

After the forced civics lesson of the Trump era, a boomerang effect was produced in response. The result was as if history meant nothing and no one had learned a thing.

In the second presidential cycle of the post-Trump era, the election before Richards was the nominee, international players hacked the voting machines in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida. Cyberattacks shut down Michigan’s voting machines on election day. The attacks tracked to North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China. The Saudis had stayed out of the hacking cyberwar, consumed with internal battles over economic diversification, and the Kingdom’s modernization. 

During the next cycle, a conservative candidate had threatened to wrestle the nomination away from Richards. But he wasn’t prepared for the tactics of the populist Richards campaign or the loyalty of his alt-right supporters. Richards needed to close the nomination fight down. …

The events in CITIZEN KATE are fiction.

As a student of national security and foreign policy over many years, the Trump era offers exploitable fertile ground.

The vast sources for this novel include journalists, news programs, books, articles, blog posts, talk radio… It is an endless list.

The articles cited below acted as catalysts and a foundation for a creative journey through the political minefields of current times, as seen in the view of history.

I’m grateful to the journalists and news organizations that continue to fight for our country.

Truth matters, as does the president’s character.

A criminal president must be held accountable.

CITIZEN KATE is like no political thriller you’ve ever read.


Notable References

“How a chilling Saudi cyberwar ensnared Jamal Khashoggi,” by David Ignatius, Wasghington Post

“Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage, and Making Her Comeback,” by Rob Haskell, Vogue, January 2018

“Harvard Public Health Magazine (Winter, 2019): America is Failing Its Black Mothers,” by Amy Roeder

“Arab Women are Tired of Talking About Just ‘Women’s Issues’,” by Kim Ghattis

“Council on Foreign Relations: U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations,” Backgrounder by CFR.org Editors

Fourteen Words, Wikipedia.org

 “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974, by Gregory W. Pedlow, Donald E. Welzenbach

The Real Story Behind the Myth of Area 51,” by Matt Blitz, PopularMechanics.com

“What You Need to Know About Trump’s $8 Billion Saudi Arms Deal,” by Marcia Robiou, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowship

“A Reformed White Nationalist Says the Worst is Yet to Come,” by Yara Bayoumy, Kathy Gilsinan, The Atlantic

“The Secret Weapons of the Far Right,” by Seyward Darby, Topic Magazine

“The Housewives of White Supremacy,” by Annie Kelly, New York Times 

Narcissism and Its Discontents, TEDTalk by Dr. Ramani Durvasula (YouTube)

“Nationalism on the Rise as Saudi Arabia seeks sense of Identity,” by Andrew England and Ahmed Al Omran, FT.com

“Why the CIA Doesn’t Spy on the U.A.E.,” by Aram Roston, Reuters

“Are the Kind Al(t)right?” by Michael Anton

“Michael Anton is Back to Remind Us That There’s Such a Thing as a ‘Trump Intellectual’, by Gabriel Schoenfeld

“Inside the U.A.E.’s Secret Hacking Team of American Mercenaries,” by Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman, Reuters

“Qatari-Saudi Arabia Border, Why So Serious?” by Bill Bostock, Business Insider

“Barr and ‘Five Eyes’ Pledge Unity on ‘Emerging Threats’ – But questions on Huawei and ISIS Remain,” by Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

“Proposed Bills Would Help Combat Domestic Terrorism,” by Barbara McQuade, Lawfareblog.com

“Not Normal,” Wanda Sykes, Netflix

“The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” FRONTLINE, PBS 

“The Great Hack,” Netflix

Other sources: WomensHistory.org, CIA.gov, CIA.gov/readingroom, CIA.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence… Google, YouTube.com, Twitter, Facebook, right-wing talk radio, TheBulwark.com, Breitbart, ADL.org, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC.org), Dictionary.com, dreamlandresort.com, masshist.org/digitaladams …


Top graphic by Annie Spratt on Unsplash