The Story Behind A Walk Across the Sun

Feb-March 2009 010In 2008, I was practicing law and writing novels on the side–searching for a story with wings. My wife and I watched a film on human trafficking and were horrified to discover that millions of children are being exploited in forced prostitution and labor around the world and in our own backyard.

The idea for the book was my wife’s. She came to me and suggested I write a novel about the global trade in human beings. It was an overwhelming proposition, but I knew that if I didn’t try, I would always regret it. So I started making connections, and people graciously offered me assistance–from resources to interviews to places to stay during my research.

Corban on HoliAfter extensive preparation, I traveled to India and spent time with International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that combats forced prostitution and violence against the poor. I interviewed investigators who roam the red light areas looking for tips about minor girls. I went to court with IJM’s lawyers. I met children they rescued from exploitation.

At the end of my trip, I went undercover into the brothels of Mumbai. Behind closed doors and drawn shades, I met girls who were not free to leave. I will never forget shaking the brothel owner’s hand after I declined to make a purchase. In our world of shifting shadows, the face of evil is often hard to discern. But I saw it that night. Then I came home and wrote the story.