Hello, my name is Aiden L Bailey. I’m the author of the new adventure espionage novel, The Benevolent Deception. Welcome to my first video journal where I talk about some of the influences of the book and how I came to write it.
Today I’m talking about my experiences in Kenya where most of The Benevolent Deception is set. This is the first country I travelled to as a young adult when I backpacked through Africa. The experiences were a real eye-opener for me. I got to see what it was like to live in a developing country where the infrastructure we take for granted – the politics, the democracy, support networks — just aren’t there.
The route taken by Casey and Simon through Kenya is very similar to the route I went on when I went on safari travelling with my friend back in the mid-1990s. The descriptions of the safari camp and the tours around Samburu National Reserve are straight out of my personal experiences.
I also remember there were Kenyan Army military training exercises at the time, and I particularly remember a fighter flying within a hundred metres of us just over ahead. Quite a surprise but that certainly had some influences on some of the scenes that come later in the novel.
Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat was fantastic. It was also really confrontational at times. At one point I was chased by an elephant and only now realise how lucky I was to survive that unscathed. And I also remember baboons trying to break into our tents where we were sleeping looking for food. You don’t get up close to wildlife like that back home, certainly not wildlife that can cause you a lot of harm if you upset them.
Mount Kenya which is near the equator was another location we drove around but unfortunately I never got to see it because it was always shrouded in clouds. What I did find interesting was how quickly the landscaped changed from desert in the north, to tropical forests, to savanna, and it’s all to do with the rapid elevation of the mountain. I was fascinated by the equator. You can stand on it and watch water go clockwise on one side of it and clockwise on the other.
Simon and Casey’s adventure in Kenya ends in Mombasa, which is on the coast. It is a very different part of the country with more of an Islamic influence. Every morning I’d be woken to the call to prayer from the local mosque, and I just remember how hot and humid it was. And how great the beaches were when we travelled north to Lamu.
Kenya also taught me what it was like to live – not exactly in a conflict zone but next to one. And when we were up in the northern part of coast near Somalia we were always hearing stories about people who were being robbed and attacked by Somalis who had crossed the border looking for cash, essentially.
Thank you for listening to my first video diary on The Benevolent Deception, and I hope you enjoy the novel and I hope you find my video insightful into the background on how it came to be.