Monday 9 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: KEITH THOMSON interviews KEITH THOMSON

Last year I was absolutely thrilled to be named the winner of the Watery Grave Invitational competition over at The Drowning Machine.

I'm almost as thrilled to be invited back. 

Part of me felt I should bow out with my head held high, but mostly I'm delighted to be there again and can't wait to see what the theme for the final round will be.

I'd recommend it hugely.  

In 2009 the winner was Hilary Davidson and we know how great she is, don't we?  And last year, two of the stories were on the nominations list for the Spinetingler Best Story Online award.

The prizes are well worth a look, too.  Opportunities for writers to be paid for their work are few and far between, so contests like this offer a serious chance of making a little money.  The winner this year will receive $50, 2nd $30 and 3rd $20. 

Thanks Naomi for your generosity and your effort - I know there's a wide appreciation for what you do.  I'm also delighted that you're going to be part of the amazing Pulp Ink, so many thanks to you.

As if that wasn't enough for one posting, here's Keith Thomson to make this a two for one deal that can't be missed.

Here was the blurb for Once A Spy:

'Utterly original.  Think Carl Hiaasen taking on John Le Carre and the winner is the reader."
Christopher Riech

Mr Reich wasn't the only one who liked it - Once A Spy made the NYT Best Seller List.  Say no more.

Welcome Keith.

Q: Please explain the bit in your bio about your playing semi-professional baseball in France?

A: I played second base for a team in Paris. It was one of the best experiences of my life, but if you’re playing baseball in France, you ought to be thinking about a career other than baseball.

Q: Was it cover? Were you in fact in the CIA?

A: I am always asked that. The answer is no.

Q: But if you were in the CIA, of course you’re going to say no, right?

A: Not necessarily. I would be proud to have served in the CIA.

Q: Or you’d say that.

A: Good point. Okay. As long as you promise to keep it between us, I swear I will tell you the truth. Okay?

Q: Okay.

A. I was in the CIA.

Q: Really?

A. Really. On the night of December 13, 2008. For a conference. The highlight came at the reception afterward: I got to share a drink with the director of the agency at the time, General Michael Hayden. Actually, we each had our own drink.

Q: How did you get your idea for your books, Once a Spy and Twice a Spy, about a spy with Alzheimer’s disease?

A: True story. I knew a guy whose father, sadly, had been forced into retirement by Alzheimer’s in his early sixties. The father had managed office equipment manufacturing plants for—let’s say—IBM, in a slew of foreign countries. While living abroad, he exhibited an Archie Bunker level of xenophobia, meanwhile going to great lengths to watch NFL broadcasts and procure six-packs of Budweiser. Always, he adamantly stuck to speaking English. Accordingly, on the Thanksgiving dinner following his retirement, the dozen friends and family members around the table were surprised when he began speaking French. Fluently. Taking in all the eyes big as plates, he switched to German. Evidently, xenophobic IBM plant manager and Bud Man had been cover. Hearing this story made wonder what the CIA does when its operatives lose the ability to retain important secrets.

Q: How do you do the research for your spy novels?

A: I’ve been fortunate to be able to write about national security for The Huffington Post, bringing me into contact with a wide range of intelligence community personnel, from a computer temp at the National Security Agency to numerous clandestine service officers who, I believe, are America’s most underrated heroes.

Q: Is Once a Spy currently being developed as a feature-length film for theatrical release?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact, by Sony Pictures.

Q: You have two block of clay in cube form and the edges are 10 cm. How many spheres with a radius of 5 cm can you make with that amount of clay?

A: Three spheres

Q: Are you just asking yourself that to show off that you know it?

A: I guess so.

Q: Did you actually know it, or did you just Google it right now?

A: Wow, it’s like you can read my mind.

Q: Here is the last question that, as a reporter, I always ask interview subjects. What you would ask you if you were me?

A: That question.

Twice A Spy

1 comment:

  1. And, if you have a can of yellow spray paint, after you make those spheres, you can open a pawn shop. Which are great places for a spy to gather intelligence. I think.
    Thanks for the chuckles, boys.
    Now, to catch up with a certain novelist who may or may not have ever been in the CIA.