Well, now that my novel, In the Mission, is out and available, I thought it might be a good moment to write about the writing process. You know, a little like a making of DVD bonus feature, only you have to read it instead of watching it.

How did I come up with it? Well, In the Mission has a long story. I started thinking about it in the mid-90es, when I was young and crazy. I lived in Cologne, Germany in a giant apartment with a bunch of friends. Germany was being unified, dance parties were all the rage, and most of my friends were much older than I.

The three things combined in an unexpected and very moving way. While Germany’s two legal systems of the West and East had to be merged, discussions about Paragraph 175, the anti-homosexuality section of the Penal Code, were under way. Should the West German paragraph be retained, or all reference to homosexuality as a crime be removed from the penal code? Should the result of German unification be that gay people in the East would formally lose civil rights?