Friday, August 3, 2012

A former CIA officer's writing tips and spy insights

CLOAKS AND VEILS is a riveting CIA spy thriller written by former undercover CIA officer J.C. Carleson.  Just released a few weeks ago, the book has been hailed by Booklist as "cloak-and-dagger spycraft with a side of romance" and "fine escapist fare with a canny and capable protagonist."

In the book, CIA officer Dara McIntyre has been demoted after an affair with a Jordanian intelligence officer.  She finds herself stuck behind a desk pushing paper and burdened with the task of assessing whether a fellow officer, whose husband has been kidnapped and assassinated by terrorists in Dubai, is still fit for her job.  But the grieving widow has deep secrets, and there is far more to her husband's death than Dara first suspected.  Dara finds herself steeped in murky investigations, all the while trying to rescue her career as she journeys through Dubai and Barcelona.

Carleson recently participated in an interview on Chuck Wendig's  The interview is hilarious, complete with details on social gaffes Carleson committed while living in Spain and revelations about potential zombie apocalypses and wars against the robots.  In a more serious vein, it also sheds light on Carleson's writing process and what it means to be an undercover CIA officer.  Be sure to read the full interview here!  To whet your appetite, a few tidbits are below:

Q:  Why do you tell stories?
A:  I got used to being paid to lie in my old career and I wanted the paychecks to continue. 
More seriously, storytelling is a huge part of working undercover.  Huge.  You have to create a persona, live a cover story, and disguise your intentions--and you have to do it convincingly.

Q:  What can you tell us about the CIA that most people don't know or wouldn't expect?
A:  -There's a Starbucks inside CIA headquarters.  And a Dunkin' Donuts.
     -CIA officers hate being called spies.  They're not spies--spies are people who commit espionage against their own country.  CIA officers RECRUIT spies.
     -Plus more on!

While CLOAKS AND VEILS is Carleson's debut book, she has also written a nonfiction business book about all the ways you can use CIA insights in everyday life.  That book, called WORK LIKE A SPY: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer, will be published by Portfolio/Penguin in February 2013.  Check out the covers for both books below:

Thomas and Mercer, July 2012

Portfolio/Penguin, February 2013

To learn more about J.C. Carleson, visit her website here.  

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