Warning: moderate spoilers ahead
Having selected the main theme for Trophy Target (see Part I: Prince Harry deploys to Afghanistan), I next turned to developing key storylines, characters and scenes. That first meant determining the circumstances under which the fictional prince in my book, Danish Crown Prince Michael Rhode, would be kidnapped.
I initially stuck closely to the script already provided by Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan - Prince Michael would be deployed with the Danish military in Afghanistan and then kidnapped by terrorists. It seemed like a good idea. In the end, how Prince Michael was kidnapped wasn’t all that relevant anyway since Prince Michael was not a key character. He was effectively a human McGuffin.
I ran that idea by a dear and trusted friend who, diplomatically, told me that idea stunk. It was too simple and even predictable. “Of course that’s what would happen to the prince,” my friend remarked. He added that I was more creative than that and casually mentioned the novel turned film Beau Geste.
At the time, I was a bit ashamed to say I’d never heard of Beau Geste (the first remake in 1939 featured the great Gary Cooper). But since my friend had given such good advice and direction in the past, I researched the film and was attracted to the story. So I rented it from Netflix one weekend. With apologies to those who know of the film, here’s the gist: Michael “Beau” Geste was the oldest of three orphan brothers living with their aunt in Britain. Beau flees England after some controversy and enlists in the French Foreign Legion as a way to escape his past and make something of himself.
If you have at least started Trophy Target, you’ll see some similarities between the two stories, such as the key role played by the French Foreign Legion and that Prince Michael flees Denmark to enlist in the FFL. In Beau Geste, Michael (and his brothers who follow him) are deployed to North Africa. That setting needed some updating for my novel. Which is the perfect time to plug the next installment of this segment - Inspiration for Trophy Target Part III: Deep in the Amazonian Jungle with the French Foreign Legion.
Trophy Target is available now in ebook and print format. More information, including purchase information, is available here.