What was the inspiration behind Light From Other Windows?
A few things. The biggest was my own experience of being the youngest child with much older siblings. Where you sit in the 'family ranking' has a major effect on your experience of childhood. You see everyone else in the family, literally and otherwise, from a different, in some ways privileged angle. That struck me as worth exploring.
I started writing this novel a few years ago, at a time when there was major rioting following the general elections in Iran. Needless to say I was glued to the online bulletins when I should have been writing... That became another influence as the story took shape; bloggers and journalists were posting film and photos, virtually in real time. There was I consuming them with enthusiasm, when it struck me their own families were probably watching them too, with very different feelings. It was an example of the way news media has changed forever. I'd suggest 9/11 was the start of it; everyone remembers where they watched the horror unfold in Manhattan that day. I certainly do, and I used my own experience of it in the opening pages of Chapter One.
Additionally, while I never did the gap-year thing myself, one of my nephews went a round-the-world trip when he was not much older than Josh. Happily he had a great time - but it does make you think what could happen when someone relatively inexperienced is suddenly so far from home.