When you study international politics in a small town like Monterey, CA, you run the risk of getting involved in WMD while hanging out at the local bar with your friends. At least that’s what happened to Natasha Bajema. And ultimately, that’s where the story behind the Lara Kingsley Series begins — with a deep fascination in cutting edge science and technology and a desire to understand how new technologies shape society and politics, and a determination to leave the world in a better place.
Truth be told, Natasha had set out to study something much more “normal” than to think about the world’s most devastating weapons and how to prevent them from going boom. But in the end, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons checked all of her mandatory boxes — face danger (i.e., things that go boom), understand science and technology, navigate geopolitical complexities, and deal with matters of war and peace.
These sorts of things come in handy when you get into high speed car chases to avoid physical altercations, attempt to train your first puppy and it happens to be a Doberman Pinscher, or try to imagine what would happen if private corporations took over the governance of America. And other scary real-life things. The uncanny links between her day job and writing fiction can be quite addictive. Her stories benefit from real-time injects from the daily drama of politics and intrigue in Washington D.C. At the same time, the act of stretching her imagination while writing fiction helps Natasha to see angles others miss, giving her an edge over her colleagues. And sometimes, she fancies herself as saving the world from destruction, one story at a time.
For the past twenty years, when Natasha tells people what she does for a living, she feels compelled to follow it up with a few scary musical notes — dun, dun, dun. Minus a few short stints at the United Nations and a number of think tanks, she has spent the majority of her career working for the Department of Defense at the National Defense University where she teaches the next generation of senior military officers and civilian leaders about WMD, terrorism, and emerging technologies. Natasha also spent three years in the Pentagon where she advised senior government leaders on issues of national security. That’s where the real danger comes in. Thankfully, Natasha has a bunch of degrees to back up her recommendations and help her save the day — an M.A. in international policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.