The problem with having to write a four-volume story - like The Demi-Monde - is that although, to a greater or lesser extent (and in my case it's so 'lesser' as to be nigh on invisible) the author has an idea as to how his or her story will unfold they inevitably find that something they've written in an earlier volume gives them difficulties in a later volume.
It might be something as innocuous as a character trait or, as in my case, a really thumping big 'oh shit'!
Not to bore you...I've introduced a homeland for my cyber-Jewish diaspora - the nuJus - and dropped it slap-bang in the middle of NoirVille, the Afro-Arab Sector of the Demi-Monde. The JAD - the nuJu Autonomous District - hence became my metaphor for Israel. Now you can guess why I did it: as I've used the book to examine (albeit with tongue firmly in cheek) some of the more divisive sociopolitical issues of the day I thought it would be a great wheeze try a similar stunt with the problems of Palestine. BIG mistake.
Now I've started to research the background to the Palestinian situation - delving into the British Mandate, the Arab uprisings, the growth of the Jewish resistance/terror (depending on which side of the political divide you're standing on pick your own adjective) groups and the religious sensibilities overlaying/infecting/corrupting the whole process - have I begun to understand how complex the whole sorry situation is.
It got so bad that I almost abandoned the whole thing: I was going to write around the JAD. It would, I felt be so easy to offend one side or the other and as I've decided in my dotage to adopt a wholly apolitical stance (having come to the conclusion that ALL politicians are either venal, incompetent - or indeed both - with f*** all strategic vision) this would be unfair. I have strenuously tried to be neutral in the book: the opinions evinced by my characters are theirs not mine.
But it was when I was reading about several of the more prominent leaders - both Jewish and Arab - in recent history that the penny dropped. The rhetoric (even the poetry) of both sides is almost identical! They were almost interchangeable. And that was the clue to how to approach the JAD...piss off everybody, that way nobody can accuse me of political bias.
But it will take some bloody careful writing...