So, as you know, The Beautiful Ones, the first trilogy in the Cassandra Programme series, takes place in Uganda.
I'd written a fair number of scenes for the novel when a member of my critique group who'd actually been to Uganda told me, 'it's nicely written and all, but that's not Uganda.'
Cue feverish preparations to travel to Uganda for research and to make sure I could actually write about it! And here I am now, having just seen a lioness! It feels completely surreal to be here but also really important to do justice to this country, this culture and this people by writing accurately about them.
I picked Uganda as the setting for the novel for forecasting reasons. According to a UN report (https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/), it will be one of the nine most populated countries in the world by 2080. And among the nine, it's the one with the smallest territory, so I thought it would be interesting to set the book there.
The things is, while I chose Uganda for rational reasons, I didn't expect it to touch me emotionally. And that's precisely what happened, of course. What a gorgeous country! I was pushed to my limits, amazed, moved to tears, transported, uplifted and most of all mesmerized by the pristine beauty of its diverse landscapes and the kindness of its people.
I hope you will feel how much I loved this country in the Ugandan scenes!