Team Ian and Dima is busy taking shape, but so far one key player has remained on the periphery. It’s time to meet Juliette, perhaps this novel’s strongest character. She’s at the O Club having a simple drink when a sleezy senior officer makes a modest proposal. How she reacts and what she tells Ian helps us understand her remarkable life.
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Some beta readers have told me that Juliette is their favorite character. I based her on an extraordinary friend of mine who really was the only Black Air Force intel officer most of my colleagues had ever met. Much of the interior life of the character in my novel derives from intimate conversations with my friend as she shared how she felt about being the eternal outsider. The real Juliette, by the way, graduated from the Air Force Academy and not from Sarah Lawrence. I needed that bit for dramatic purposes that will become obvious later on.
Note the culture differences between the 80s and today. The base personnel officer would be the equivalent of the head of a corporate HR department. While Captain Daniels isn’t super high ranking, he is very powerful. Yet he felt free to pressure Juliette into going out with him. That sort of thing was very common in the Air Force of yesterday. I hear it’s gotten a little better since.
Also, note Juliette’s sly dig. By asking if Daniels ran the orderly room, she was putting him in his place, as it were. He would have noticed.
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