Spectre Black: taking the cloak off cloaking technology

J. Carson Black @ jcarsonblack.com

When I started writing Spectre Black (which wasn’t called Spectre Black at the time) I started with the idea that Cyril Landry had to go in search of his friend and sometimes-lover, homicide detective Jolie Burke. She’s in trouble, but when he goes to meet her, Jolie’s not at their agreed rendezvous spot.

I am lucky enough to know a guy who knows everything there is to know about black ops and anything military. I was figuring out where to go after I started the book, and somehow, we got on the subject of cloaking technology. John knows a lot about it, and as I listened to him, I started getting excited by the idea. I knew there would be bad guys, and they would be hiding something, but cloaking technology?

This meant I’d have to describe it, and more than that, make sense of it. First, to myself, and then to others. I had to find a way to explain what it is, without writing a textbook about it. I needed to go for the neat stuff. Example: a small plane lands on a dirt airstrip, and all you can see are the puffs of dust coming up where the wheels touching down.images In one instance, Cyril Landry encounters someone using cloaking technology (literally, the guy’s wearing a cloak). I had to describe it in such a way that Landry was looking at nothing, but that the “nothing” was, er . . . moving. That “nothing” had mass, but it looked just like the landscape—only moving at a walking pace.

It took some fancy footwork on my part, but I think (hope) I got the point across for Spectre Black. BTW, “Spectre Black” itself is not only the title of my latest Cyril Landry thriller, but is also drawn from the color of the Stealth Camaro made near-invisible by its Spectre Black coating. That took another concentrated exercise in creative explanation.