I never thought I'd post these, but now that the novel is out, I think they might be interesting to reveal a bit of my process. Though I have no idea who these guys are, these are the portraits of Salim and Khalil I referred to while writing Falcons on the Floor. They randomly popped up from a Google image search and I immediately though, "Yes, that is Salim... and that is Khalil."
While drafting and writing and editing, these print outs were always within arms reach. I use photos a lot in research, as the Iraq photo of the day illustrates. It's odd, though. I'll never meet these two guys. I have no way of knowing if they are still alive or, if they are, where they might live now. And that's one of the takeaways from Falcons, for me and the audience: there are so many people affected by war that we will never know.