NAKED IN HAVANA started with a letter from one of my readers:
‘… I would also truly love to learn what REALLY happened in the 50’s with Cuba. Something tells me that it wasn’t truly like what the teachers told us in school in Canada. I read a fictional book a long time ago about Marilyn, John, Bobby & Frank, that touched on the Che Guevara/ Fidel Castro story, but just not enough to satisfy me …’
‘Can you write a book about that?’ she wrote.
And because it intrigued me, I said I would.
The story of pre-revolution Havana appealed to the romantic in me; I had always been a fan of those big romantic movies like Casablanca and Gone with the Wind and my mind’s eye fixed on a sweeping love saga that would follow the winds of change of an entire decade, from Havana and Castro’s takeover of Cuba to Jack Kennedy’s Malibu hideaway, the Hollywood of Monroe and Sinatra, to the final days of war-torn Saigon, an epic with larger than life fictional characters, as well as real life legends.
That was the vision.
And as I researched more, the background did not disappoint; NAKED IN HAVANA is about Cuba before Castro took over, about the Mafia and the casinos, about Kennedy and Monroe and Che Guevara and that whole darkly glamorous story that ended with JFK’s assassination. It’s about glitzy mob-run nightclubs, gun runners, revolutionaries and torchy voiced bolero singers.
But I wanted a love story at its heart; two people who had only ever wanted love on their own terms, but now would have to give up everything to be with each other.
Passion changes us, and love is dangerous. It makes us reject our own sacred beliefs, turn our back on our own kind, do the unthinkable. It can ask more of us than we might ever think to give; it can also heal us more than we ever imagined. And you never quite know which it will be until it is too late to turn back.
That’s how NAKED IN HAVANA was born.
And that’s why when Reyes sees Magdalena in Havana in 1958 he knew that running guns in the middle of a revolution was the least of his troubles.
Colin Falconer was born in North London, and spent most of his formative years at school playing football or looking out of the window wishing he was somewhere else.
After failing to make the grade as a professional football player, he spent much of his early years traveling, hitch-hiking around Europe and North Africa and then heading to Asia.
His experiences in Bangkok and India later inspired his thriller VENOM, which became a debut bestseller in the UK and his adventures in the jungles of the Golden Triangle of Burma and Laos were also filed away for later, the basis of his OPIUM series about the underworld drug trade.
He later moved to Australia and worked in advertising, before moving to Sydney where he freelanced for most of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines, as well as working in radio and television.
He has over 40 books in print. HAREM was an enormous bestseller in Germany and THE NAKED HUSBAND was only kept out of the number one spot in Australia by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. AZTEC stayed on the bestseller lists in Mexico for four months. He is a bestseller in Europe and his work has sold into translation in 23 countries around the world.
He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz. He also completed a nine hundred kilometre walk of the camino in Spain.
He did not write for over five years following personal tragedy but returned to publishing in 2010 with the release of SILK ROAD and then STIGMATA. His historical novel ISABELLA was an Amazon bestseller last year.
His likens his fiction most closely to Wilbur Smith and Ken Follett – books with romance and high adventure, drawn from many periods of history.
His latest book is the romantic suspense, Naked in Havana.
Visit his website at www.colinfalconer.org.