Fate of ex-spies fascinates writer Keith Thomson

Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:19pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Writer Keith Thomson was fascinated by the real story of an elderly man with Alzheimer's who shocked his family when he spoke fluently in other languages, giving away his past as a secret agent.

Thomson, a former screenwriter who turned his hand to fiction in 2005 with his first novel "Pirates of Pensacola", used this story as the basis of his second novel, "Once A Spy", that will be released on March 9.

The thriller follows a former CIA agent, Drummond Clark, whose son starts to suspect his elderly father's double life when their home is blown up and they end up on the run.

Thomson spoke to Reuters from his Alabama home about writing:

Q: What made you shift from film scripts to novels?

A: "I had done a number of movie projects and after one particularly contentious meeting about a rewrite job, my agent said if you don't like it why not write a book. That day I signed up for a fiction writing course and as I result got to writing novels. Ironically this book will now be made into a movie."

Q: Was it a very different approach?

A: "Movie scripts take 4-5 months on average but averages are kind of meaningless. For a book it would take me two years of sitting down from start to finish. It probably takes about five times as long."   Continued...