Smashing Interviews Magazine

Compelling People — Interesting Lives



September 2012



Pat Brown Interview: How to Save Your Daughter's Life

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Pat Brown

Nationally known criminal profiler Pat Brown is also an author, commentator and founder and CEO of The Sexual Homicide Exchange and The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency. She has provided forensic analysis, commentaries and profiling in many radio and television appearances across the globe.

Brown can be seen regularly on CNN, MSNBC and FOX and is a frequent guest of The Today Show, The Early Show, Inside Edition, Nancy Grace, and America’s Most Wanted. For four seasons, Brown profiled crimes on the weekly Court TV crime show, I, Detective.

"Pregnancy and suicide makes its way into media and school systems, so kids are seeing a lot if it."

Brown is the author of The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths, Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers, How to Save Your Daughter’s Life: Straight Talk for Parents from America’s Top Criminal Profiler, Me, Abe, and Greyhound U (A Short Story), Only the Truth, The Murder of Cleopatra (to be released February 2013), and she edited Interview with a Cannibal: The Secret Life of the Monster of Rotenburg.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Pat, on July 26, 2012, you told a radio show producer you would not go on his show and talk about the Colorado movie theater shootings because of your stand about not giving media attention to individual mass murderers.

Pat Brown: Yes. It’s giving mass murderers exactly what they want which is a tremendous amount of publicity, and that is one of the reasons they commit the crimes. I made a decision to stop doing interviews if it was an individual mass murderer right after the fact. I just decided I was contributing to the problem, and it started to make me feel like I needed to go home and take a shower, so I stopped. This is a continuing problem that we have, and he’s getting the mass attention he doesn’t deserve.

Pat Brown

Pat Brown (Courtesy of Pat Brown)

Mass murderers do it because of mass media because they want their picture in the paper with as many bodies as they can get. That’s why they do it. Every time the media goes nuts and does a thousand stories, it just says to the next mass murderer, “Hey, this works.” I will talk about serial killers and psychopathy and why they do what they do and what causes psychopaths to develop. I talk about all that, but I do not want to talk about this particular individual because this is exactly what led to him committing the crime. I’m not going to do it anymore. Once I take a stand, I have to take a stand. I can’t back off now. I do believe it’s right, and I’m hoping that the media will follow suit. But, I’m not overly optimistic.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): No, I wouldn’t be overly optimistic.

Pat Brown: I don’t think everybody’s going to fall in line.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I just know the media and what sells. They make their money like everyone else does.

Pat Brown: Yeah. I know the media, too. I’ve been in it for ten years. But, sometimes if somebody does take a stand, you never know when it might have an effect on someone else. That’s what I’m hoping, that over time maybe we’ll see a lessening of how they do the media on these cases. If we could just get rid of his name and face and lessen it.

When this story broke, CNN called me at 6:30 in the morning and asked if I’d be on from nine to eleven. I was asleep because I’d been up writing all night. I thought they meant nine to eleven at night, and I couldn’t because I was going to a concert. They said, “No, this morning.”

I knew it was a mass murder the minute they called at 6:30 in the morning. I began to do television around the clock on CNN, FOX and MSNBC. But, as I was doing it, that was bothering me more and more. I kept saying, “One of the problems in mass murders is that we ignore the signs which fuels them. In my opinion, that is psychopathy, role-playing games, fantasy and violent video games. All of these things build this whole mindset for the serial killer.” But, the fourth part is mass media, and I am part of the problem.

I would be very hypocritical if I kept saying this crap to people and, at the same time, do mass media so that your kid will want to go out and shoot people. I’ll take the financial hit, and maybe over time, we’ll at least see a different handling of it all. That’s my hope. I’m also fifty-seven now, and I don’t give as much of a crap as I used to. The career is winding down. I can only be on television so long. In ten years, I’ve done 2,000 appearances. At some point, they will say, “Hey, we don’t need to see her again.” What the hell. We’ll see what happens. Probably nothing. But, who knows?

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’re right. Who knows? But, let me ask you if the recent mass murderer is a psychopath or is he insane?

Pat Brown: All mass murderers are psychopaths. People can’t understand how anybody can do such things. So, the tendency is to think they have to be psychotic or crazy, like he just “snapped” in cases of crimes that were unexpected like a murder of a spouse. A mass murderer lost his job, so he “snapped.” They think this person was normal until that point. But, nobody normal “snaps” and does that.

If you can imagine “snapping,” what would you do? Most of us can’t imagine doing any of the things that killers do. I’ve “snapped” and cussed people out (laughs). I’m mouthy, but that’s as far as I get. Imagine if you came home and your significant other is in bed with somebody in your bedroom. What would you do? Would you “snap?” Most people say that they’d scream and yell. Some people say they would throw things. A few people said that they’d punch them. But, if the guy goes to get his shotgun and blows them away, he has a problem because he’s already thinking in terms of homicide.

Most of us can think of terms of homicide in certain instances. If I came home and found a man raping my child, I can think of terms of homicide. But, I’m not “snapping.” That’s already in my head. There is no “snapping” going on. We have our specific character in the way that we behave, and it does not change overnight.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): This crime also sparked a heated debate on whether tougher gun laws were necessary in the country. Do you think this is relevant in this case?

Pat Brown: No. As a matter of fact, in certain countries, you’ll find that people go in and stab a bunch of little children to death in a kindergarten class. It has to do with creating a sensation. It has to do with giving rage back to society. The weaponry just depends on whatever is popular wherever you are. If it doesn’t make you cool, you don’t do it, or if it doesn’t give you the feedback you want, you don’t do it. Before the Internet, a lot of ideas weren’t available, so the people didn’t even think about them. It never occurred to them.

For example, take the cannibal in Germany named Armin Meiwes who was a computer company employee. I actually edited a book and wrote a profile on that particular case. He was on the Internet and went to cannibal sites. He would do role-playing. Role-playing can be very dangerous because it begins to increase the fantasy. You can experiment with something you normally can’t experiment with, and you get to do it with other people, so you start role playing and you practice what you think is kind of cool. Then, it usually increases because the fantasy usually goes from mild to more inclusive of the more bizarre things as you experiment and get bored with what you’re doing and move on to the next level. Armin did that until he found somebody who would do the role-playing with him. Then, he decided to make it real.

Pat Brown - How To Save Your Daughter's LifeThe man, Bernd Brandes, who wanted to be eaten, came to visit the man who wanted to eat him, and Armin killed him and ate him. He’s in prison. But, it was actually consensual. What happens is, the fantasy does increase. The serial killers and mass murderers use fantasy. Everybody essentially uses fantasy in his or her lives. We fantasize in the morning about where to go, whom to meet, how the job interview will go. We now have the ability to go on the Internet and share our fantasies with other people and get into role-playing and violent games. It may be pornography. It may be super hero stuff. Healthy people who are not psychopaths will never take those fantasies to any kind of a dangerous level, but psychopaths will.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Let’s talk about George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator in Florida who fatally shot seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Pat Brown: George Zimmerman did suffer from a super hero complex. He’s a cop wannabe as far as I can see. He didn’t get on the police force, which is interesting. I don’t know why, but he clearly would have liked to have been a police officer. George decided to be the hero of his neighborhood. He saw himself as the super hero. I believe, on that particular day, George made the decision to pursue someone he decided was a danger to the community, and he played his role.

I think it will play out in court as to whether George was attacked without causing any kind of a threat to Trayvon. Whether he pursued Trayvon and scared him … who knows? Trayvon may have had the right to defend himself. Did Trayvon stalk him and attack him? If so, George will have a case and a defense. I think it’s going to play out in court as to what the physical evidence is because right now I’m not sure what it is.

George does have some damage to his head, although not as much as I would expect for someone being pummeled by somebody who’s on top of him. I can’t say that he did not actually cause those injuries to himself. I can’t say that. What is going to have to come out in court is if it can be proven that Trayvon attacked him. Regardless of how Trayvon was dressed or what you think of people who dress like that, if he wasn’t in the midst of committing a criminal act, George Zimmerman was out of line if he pursued him and threatened him.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I read that George Zimmerman’s parents have created a website to ask for financial donors.

Pat Brown: Well, I question if George has a personality disorder along with his desire to be a super hero because, in my opinion, he was planning to leave the country. The fact that he lied to the judge about the money and the second passport … he was planning something. You have to question what kind of person goes through all those shenanigans plus lying to a judge. That person has a lack of ethics and thumbs his nose at the justice system. Who thinks he’s better than the justice system? That reeks of personality disorder. I would be looking very carefully at the evidence.

Even if you don’t like George Zimmerman, even if he has a personality disorder, even if he shouldn’t have had the gun out of the car, it could be that he did walk away, and Trayvon did attack him and assault him. On the other hand, a person with personality disorder, and a person who has been lying to the judge, perhaps he could have staged what happened so that he would have a chance to shoot someone. That’s what will play out in court.

Unfortunately, we have the American jury system which means they don’t know a damn thing about anything. I’m totally opposed to the jury system, but not because the people aren’t trying hard. They are. But, quite frankly, I don’t think NASA should call me to determine whether they should launch their next rocket into space. I’m a physics idiot. I cannot learn physics in three days because those guys got physics degrees and their PhDs and have been working in the field. So, at trial we have twelve people with absolutely no skills in profiling, forensics and psychology. We take them off a bus stop and put them in front of two snaky lawyers who play every trick in the book, probably one expert testifies who is a liar, and then the jurors have to make a good decision based on what they don’t understand. It’s insane.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Drew Peterson is about to go on trial.

Pat Brown: Yes, he is. That’s going to be an interesting trial. I think the jury may find him guilty because they don’t like him. I don’t think there’s a shred of physical evidence.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The murder case is about his third wife, Kathleen Savio, but his fourth wife, Stacy, has never been found.

Pat Brown: They don’t know what happened to Stacy. She’s gone. She’s in Thailand, according to him, with her lover. There’s no proof that she’s dead. There’s no proof that Drew Peterson did anything to her. We can all roll our eyes now. But, there’s no physical proof which is why the man has never been arrested and charged with the fourth wife’s disappearance.

The third wife definitely ended up dead in the bathtub. But, first of all, they have to prove that a homicide occurred and secondly that Drew Peterson committed that homicide and not maybe some other dude that she was hooked up with or some serial killer who rode through. It’s always a possibility that it’s not him. Do they have any evidence that it is him? The only evidence, I think they’ve got, is the hearsay of a missing fourth wife to the pastor where she said, “Oh, yeah, he said he did it.” That’s it. I don’t see where that’s worth a conviction.

Do I think Drew probably did it? Yeah. Do I think there’s proof? No. Do I think the jury may convict? Yes. But, that’s a concern for me because I’ve seen a jury convict on emotions and not on actual evidence. That’s what I think they did in the Michael Skakel trial. I think there was no evidence to convict Skakel, and he spent a decade in prison. There wasn’t a shred of evidence. They convicted because they didn’t like Michael Skakel, and I think that’s atrocious. I don’t think they should convict people because they don’t like them.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There are seven men and five women on the jury in the Peterson case. I was thinking that perhaps the women would not convict.

Pat Brown: That is true, but a lot of guys like him, too. He’s the guy they want to drink with, a fun dude to hang with. I’ll bet he is a riot to hang around. I think the guys do like Drew. At this point, women may be more likely to think he’s creepy. They’ve seen enough of him on television, (although they’ll have to claim they’ve never seen him on TV), to say that he’s just repulsive. So, I don’t think the women necessarily will be the ones to back him.

I honestly think they’ll convict on emotions. Nobody likes him, and they’ll put him away, and it will make everybody happy. But, a hell of a good lawyer can do some twisty-turny thing like in the Casey Anthony case. In that case, all they had to do was throw out that the girl was molested by her father, and that’s the end of that. I don’t think Drew can come up with that one (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Right. Let me talk a couple of minutes to talk about How to Save Your Daughter’s Life, a well-written, informative book. I’m interested in problems that face us today such as regulating social media with children and teens.

Pat Brown: Well, that’s what of the dangers of the Internet. You can’t really regulate it. I think one of the biggest problems is that we don’t recognize the Internet as a location. For example, we know that a bar is a location. We know that going downtown to the Red Light District is a location. But, we don’t see the Internet as a location, and yet it is. There are many places you can “go” on the Internet. It’s no different as if you walked into a porn store or a drugstore. You’re going places, you’re meeting with people, they’re teaching you things and they’re communicating with you. Sometimes, they’re setting up future dates in real life.

All of it has a tremendous effect on your mind because relationships are relationships whether they’re in person or on the Internet or by letter. Remember in the old days when we used to develop a relationship by sending letters back and forth across the sea, and then the participants would eventually get married? You are still communicating with the person even though they’re not touching you and sitting beside you. The Internet develops ideas in us. It’s a huge place of learning, communicating and experimenting.

When it comes to our children, it’s hard enough for us adults to deal with all of it because we end up getting sucked into the Internet. We can get into talking to people we shouldn’t even be talking to, or we could be getting lured into something. Of course, we’ve seen what pornography has done to marriages. But, the teenagers and the children are really defenseless. When a parent leaves a kid alone in their bedroom with the Internet, they might as well have dropped him off downtown. Most parents would never think of dropping him in a really scary area of town when they’re just ten or thirteen. But, we drop them into the Internet and wonder why their minds are getting messed up. That’s because they’ve gone someplace, and that place has affected them.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I found it scary when you were talking about teenage girls seeing suicide and pregnancy as being cool.

Pat Brown: Yeah. One of the things that has been going on in our culture is that we are trying to be very accepting of everything, of everybody’s emotions and feelings, and we want to talk about it and bring it to light. Pregnancy and suicide makes its way into media and school systems, so kids are seeing a lot if it. It’s becoming an option, where at a certain point in life, I don’t think for many of us (I’m fifty seven), it was an option. I never even knew about suicide. No one ever talked about it. I never even thought about it. I wouldn’t have had any idea how to do it.

Pregnancy was scary. That would just have ruined my whole life. These were ideas that were kept away. We have girls getting those ideas at a young age through the media, movies, televisions shows and stories about how cool it is to have a baby. That becomes something that is an option. In suicide, we’re seeing many just flirting with the dark side, with the other side. We see this in Twilight.

Twilight is a very frightening book to me because it tells us that it is better to die than to live. Bella has just moved to a new town. She’s going to a new school, and this is difficult. But, for some strange reason, everybody likes her. She gets friends immediately, and guys like her. Bella actually has a community of friends around her, but it’s not enough for her. Life is not enough. Having a boyfriend and looking forward to college is not enough. The only thing that is enough for her is to become one with Edward and die, to give up her family and dreams to live this horrific beyond the grave existence. That’s very frightening that girls would even consider this.

Boys commit suicide, but that’s a whole different method. Girls actually do it because it’s almost dramatic and wonderful in some strange form. It’s really sad because they can’t come back. It’s not like Bella. She gets to be a vampire, albeit a miserable one, for the rest of eternity. But, they don’t put that out there (laughs). It is so sad girls aren’t being helped to understand how great life can be. They’re not getting positive things into their minds so that they want to live on. They read all these books on the dead and think, “Why not? I should just kill myself.” It’s a shame because we all know if these girls lived a few more years, it would be fine. They’d be fine. But, they don’t make it there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Very sad. Do you think the recent sanctions placed on Penn State University are justified?

Pat Brown: I think it’s getting a little out of hand, to tell you the truth. I really do. I think a lot of what actually happened has been a bit twisted and exaggerated. I think Paterno and the other men at Penn State didn’t get it. If you’ve ever been around a community of men, you can see they’re good at denial. They’re good at not thinking things happened or thinking the guy was just playing around. They think, “He’s just a big boy or he’s such an idiot. He did something stupid because he’s an idiot. It has been taken out of context, and he’s just slapping the kid with a towel and just laughing. Guys take showers together all the time.”

I think that they did not internalize it to the point where they said, “This man is a child predator. He is a pedophile. He molests children.” I don’t think they got that far in their heads. I’ve seen this happen not only at colleges but also in families and boys and girls clubs. I had an incident when my boys were playing baseball. I looked at that coach and said, “That guy is a pedophile. I don’t like him.” The other parents said, “Oh, Pat, you’re being so ridiculous.” They refused to listen to me. I said, “There’s something about the guy. I don’t trust him alone with my kids.” It was the way he dealt with the boys because he acted so “boyish,” and pedophiles often act that way.

The coach liked to slap the boys on the butt and tended to like the smaller ones, not the bigger boys. I just didn’t trust the guy. I didn’t let my boys be alone with him. It turned out later on that he was indeed what I thought he was. But, the other coaches couldn’t believe it and he wasn’t even their friend. They hardly knew this guy, but still couldn’t believe it. It’s hard to look a person in the face and see them smile and act nice and think they’re “that way.”

I just think Paterno and the other people knew this man for so long. It’s like Drew Peterson, you know? He’s the guy they work with, laugh with and drink with. They just can’t believe he would step over that line. They think these were misunderstandings somehow. They’re uncomfortable about it, but they just can’t believe it. It was never a clear cut incident at the time that was proven. There was no proof of a sexual assault in the first incident. It was dropped.

In the second one, we have McCreery’s story a little shaky, but he didn’t stop it and didn’t report it immediately to the police. He didn’t go beat up Sandusky. He went home. So, it was already so weak. I know that he was accused before this, but they found nothing. So, did Sandusky really do any of these things? I think what happened is that because it wasn’t clear-cut, they decided they’d just take some preventive measures. I just don’t think they really believed it. I think that’s the problem.

We believe it more now because as the years go by, we get more aware of how child predators work. But, it’s very hard for people to believe, especially if they are buddies. Just like a family member says, “I can’t believe my son would do that.” People have to understand that psychopaths are very good manipulators, especially educated psychopaths. They know how to make you like them. They know how to confuse you. They know how to twist things. They’re really good at what they do which is why they get away with it for so long. That is why a woman can be married to a serial killer for twenty years and not realize it until forty women are killed.

For me, as a profiler, I believe Sandusky is guilty, not because of the earlier incidents, but because of his own words. When he got up and gave that statement publicly, it just had me laughing my butt off. He’s like, “I guess I love children.” I’m like, “Okay, you’re saying the whole pedophile thing.” His so-called explanation, to me, was absolute proof he committed this crime.

I believe he is guilty of a long run of molesting children. The severity probably varies from minor to something more major. But, I can understand why the Penn State people didn’t quite get it. I think the sanctions are a little over the top. But, on the other hand, who knows? Maybe it will have effects for the future. There are so many children who are being sexually abused. It’s kind of sad that every organization has to be so paranoid, but I think maybe they are just going to have to be. There is a tendency for organizations, even if they’re doing it specifically on purpose, to look the other way.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is there really such a thing as a hate crime?

Pat Brown: People who commit hate crimes are really not very different from mass murderers or serial killers. It’s all the same thing. A hate crime is just the hate. The person who’s doing it hates. The mass murderer hates. The serial killers hate. They all hate because they are losers. They all believe that they’re no good and that nobody respects them. Nobody is giving them their dues in society. They feel entitled to more and they’re not getting it.

Sometimes, you have to step back and go, “Is it really a hate crime or is it just a crime?” Was it just a violent, nasty crime because they felt like beating someone up or is it really anything to do with this particular guy being this particular race? We had an incident in my neighborhood where a young white man got off the metro and was attacked by three black males. The black men beat him up, robbed him and proceeded to throw him off the overpass onto the highway. Somehow the guy survived. Is this a hate crime? Could be. But, it was probably just because he was available. It could have been three black guys attacking a black guy.

The guy was alone in the parking lot. They saw an opportunity, and they took it. Now, what happens when they’re throwing him off the overpass and they say, “White boy?” Does that make it a hate crime? If he were gay, would it have been a hate crime? Or, do they just hate everyone? Hate crimes are very tricky when they’re labeled. I think they’re labeled more simply because the prosecution can get a longer sentence (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was the recent vicious attack on the woman in Nebraska a hate crime because she was a lesbian?

Pat Brown: Well, it depends. Why was she chosen? If this was simply a home invasion, they go in, she mouths off at them, and they decide if they’re going to kill her because she mouths off at them. Remember that psychopaths always blame the victim. Guys in groups sometimes do disgusting things. That’s even without committing crimes (laughs).

They call each other’s names, they do stupid shit, and sometimes they do really repulsive stuff because they egg each other on. So, they could’ve looked over on the wall and seen a photo of the woman with her girlfriend. But, is it a hate crime, or are they just messing with her? If she was targeted because they don’t like gay people in the neighborhood, then maybe you could say, “Okay, that’s a hate crime.” But, it gets really tricky because psychopaths just act nasty. It’s hard to tell.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a serial killer blame the victim. I’m always asked, “Did the guy do this because the woman did something?” I answer, “He’s lying. He’s making that crap up so that he has a reason to kill her.” It’s really tricky when you’re labeling things. Sometimes, I think it’s good for the prosecution because you can get a longer sentence. It’s not necessarily good for society, though, because it can escalate feelings between races, when in reality, it really isn’t a hate crime. I’m always a little cautious of that.

I have two mixed race kids and one black son, and I’m white, so I have an interracial family. But, we just never went that route, whether they were targeted because they were white or black or because they wore the wrong clothes or had a bad attitude that day. My sons are big boys. Let’s say they’re walking along the street with their hands in the pockets and are in a really crappy mood. The babe coming toward them thinks, “Oh my God, they’re going to kill me.” She sees this anger radiating off them.

As humans, sometimes we jump to conclusions based on our beliefs. Sometimes, we do generalize when we shouldn’t or label somebody when maybe we shouldn’t. But, many times, we’re actually right, too, so that’s another problem. One of the normal, human instincts is to very quickly assess. If we didn’t do that, we’d all be dead because you have to assess danger. Sometimes, people do not assess very well.

A woman doesn’t find out fast enough about a man she goes out with and ends up dead. Or, why did you marry this guy when you knew he was bad news? But, we profile every minute of the day, and people profile us. I think we’re way too worried about people profiling. It should really come down to if people are committing the crimes or not. I really don’t care what your reason was or what your stupid motive was. If you commit a crime, or if you’re going to kill somebody, I don’t really care what labels you stick on it, don’t really care.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Pat, what was the inspiration for your novel, Only the Truth, that was released in March?

Pat Brown: It’s kind of hard to even say. Only the Truth just came out of nowhere actually. Billy Ray Hutchins is a combination character of my ex-husband and another fellow I’ve known over twenty years who had a very sweet character. I kind of mixed the innocence and the sweetness. I did not write an outline. I actually wrote the book from beginning to end straight through. It just unfolded. That’s why I like writing fiction and why I’m going to continue to write fiction. It’s exciting to me because I actually don’t know what’s going to happen (laughs).

I actually have no idea what’s going to happen, and then people show up, and you go, “Wow, who is this?” They show up in your story, and it kind of unravels. I’m reading the story as I’m writing it. It’s fascinating to be able to do that. It takes place in Arkansas and Tennessee. Many people from those places have said that it really reminded them of home and that I nailed the area and the people. Quite frankly, I’ve never been in the South much. I don’t know how I captured it. But, I feel if I went to Arkansas today, I would find Billy Ray down there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I could’ve been your “southern” consultant (laughs). Have you ever been to Birmingham, Alabama?

Pat Brown: Yes, I have actually. I came down there to do a course in homicide. When I flew out of there, my luggage disappeared and went to India on the way home (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Hopefully, your next experience will be happier (laughs). Is the latest book, The Murder of Cleopatra?

Pat Brown: Yes. The Murder of Cleopatra is actually at the publisher, and the book will be out in February. That was a long-term project for me. When I did the Discovery Channel documentary in 2004, I just knew there was more to the story. I went back to Egypt to do more research and just found it to be very fascinating because this is a crime that’s over two thousand years old, and there’s not much left of the crime scene (laughs).

I left one week before the revolution started and was staying right on Talaat Harb at a hotel about a block from Tahrir Square. The night before I left, I crossed Tahrir Square, and I never saw a thing coming. It was the strangest thing. The revolution wasn’t in the air that day. But, when I got back home a week later, the revolution had started. I was on CNN, looked down, and asked, “Isn’t that my hotel?” So, I made it out by one week. Otherwise, I would’ve been there for a long time.

I went around and did my studies of the architecture and the different geographical elements and spent time in Rome. It took me years to find a publisher that would publish this particular book. But, Prometheus Books really liked my theories of what happened to Cleopatra. I’m very excited about the book.

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