My wife is a Kiwi, and we spend a bit of time in New Zealand each year. When I set about creating Jackson Chase, I wanted to bring some of the beautiful charm from that side of the family into his character. But I also needed him to have an interesting and capable background. As a result, his backstory included serving in the New Zealand SAS.
After writing Exposure, I sent a copy to a family member in New Zealand to have a look. I was extremely surprised to hear back that an uncle of my wife's wasn't in the regular army as she thought, but actually a member of 1NZSAS.
It was, to be sure, one of those moments where a coincidence is positively eerie.
Uncle Merv was in the original NZSAS that was formed in the jungle of Malaya (now Malaysia) as a sergeant from 1955-1957. He went to jump school in Kota Tingii and jungle warfare school in Johar Bharu. But even to his wife, he never spoke of what went on there.
I've learned through my research and attempts at direct contact that the NZSAS is extremely secretive. But to hear that even Merv's wife knew very little truly drives home the breadth of their silence.
Merv died many years ago following problems with his back, so I sadly will never be able to share a beer and pepper him with questions that would undoubtedly go without answer.
But maybe bits and pieces will manifest themselves in other ways ... there is a scene in the book where Jackson Chase receives a collar insignia pair from the original NZSAS in Malaya. I now wonder whether they might have once belonged to Uncle Merv ... .