Interview with Merrily Mcauliffe on WOWK Channel 13 Noon News, Charleston, WV, on March 22, 2016.
Note: One thing I find fascinating about this transcript is that it really demonstrates how differently people actually speak as compared to how dialog is written in a novel. The transcribed speech here is much more rambling and unstructured than anything I might ever actually write in a book. In any case – presented for your reading enjoyment…
Merrily: A man is making history of the pages of a book. His latest novel, “Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors”, follows a man during the height of the Cold War from college graduation through working with the NSA and the CIA, eventually uncovering secrets of the enemy. So, tell us a little about this book, “Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors”. By the way, this is Michael Connick, he’s the brilliant author who is joining us right now. I’m so excited right now. So, tell us about this book.
Michael: This book is the result of something that was on my bucket list when I was working. When I retired, I knew I wanted to write a novel and I wanted to share some of my experiences. I’ve actually lived and worked overseas in Iran and in Austria. I’ve worked with various parts of the intelligence community, and more than anything else I wanted to write a realistic spy novel. Most of the spy novels that I read are filled with supermen like James Bond and Jason Bourne. My protagonist is naive, makes foolish decisions, is alway stumbling into devilish situations.
Merrily: It’s funny because it says on the cover, “How the Luckiest Man in the World Became a Spy”. What I found interesting was that you’re no stranger to the intelligence field. You’ve worked all across the world. This came easy to you. You said you got 10,000 words out, and the novel was finished in 6 months.
Michael: Right, one of the advantages of actually having lived in all of these places and having worked with the intelligence community is that I didn’t have to do a lot of research. When I decided to write the novel, it was actually during a vacation with my family in the Outer Banks, and I sat down, and literally the first 10,000 words came out in a week.
Merrily: The words seemed to just pour out automatically?
Michael: Yeap, exactly.
Merrily: Describe the main character to us.
Michael: The main character is a young man named Stephen Connor. He actually accidentally gets into the intelligence community. He’s looking for a way to avoid the draft during the Vietnam era, and he takes a job with the NSA. Initially, he’s working in a technical area, working with computers. He succeeds and so ends up being transferred to the CIA, which really wants him for his technical skills, but he gets bitten by the bug. He goes through some CIA training and decides he wants to be an intelligence officer and eventually through conniving he manages to get himself overseas; he starts to actually get involved in intelligence operations, and since he’s “The Luckiest Man in the World”, he actually ends up becoming a clandestine intelligence officer.
Merrily: Sounds like he would be a great poker player. So, really quickly, tell us where we can go to get more information.
Michael: OK, well first of all it’s available right now on Amazon.com. On April 5th, I’m going to be having a Book Launch Reception at the Huntington Museum of Art, from 5:50 to 7:30. So, if you would like to come and meet me and get a personally autographed copy…I’m actually a volunteer at the museum and so I have a lot of loyalty to them. I wanted them to get the benefits of the first local sales of the book. After that, the book should start becoming available in local bookstores, like Empire Books in Huntington and Taylor Books here in Charleston.
Merrily: OK, you can go to michaelconnick.com to get more information?
Michael: Yes, my website is michaelconnick.com.
Merrily: Gotcha, and again: Huntington Museum of Art – you will be signing books from 5:30 to 7:30?
Merrily: April 2nd.
Michael: April 5th.
Merrily: April 5th, I can’t read my own typing. Thank you so much for joining us, Michael.