About the author
John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.
Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.
John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.
Visit his website at www.JohnKnoerle.com
About the book
October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets an invitation to WashingtonD.C. from Frank Wisner, who heads the CIAs new covert ops division. Hal is whisked off to Wisners Maryland shore retreat and introduced to a brace of Romanian royals, including the scarily beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea.
Then Frank Wisner pops the question. Would Hal consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas? Hal had already survived two previous suicide missions and a third did not appeal. But he told Frank Wisner he would need a few days to think it over and had some sightseeing to do. As it turns out, Hal gets to do a lot more sightseeing than he bargained for. Proxy Assassin is a journey that brings the American Spy Trilogy to a surprising, and emotional, conclusion.
Purchase links: http://JohnKnoerle.com
Would you call yourself a born writer?
My mother, at eighty-eight years old, still cranks out articles for The Almanac in Palo Alto, CA, as she has for decades, so I have some ink in my veins.
But I do believe that writers are made, not born. It’s plain hard work. Whoever said, “Writing is rewriting” had it right. The idea that the story, in all its intimate detail, will pour forth in a booze-and- nicotine-fuelled fury like Kerouac’s “On the Road” is pure fantasy.
In fact, Kerouac had taken reams of notes during his cross-country trek before he cranked out OTR in three weeks in April of 1951.
What was your inspiration for “The Proxy Assassin: Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy”?
Book Two concluded with Hal Schroeder pretty much single-handedly preventing World War III.
Tough to top that, so I decided to paint a deeper and richer portrait of American espionage in 1948, the beginning of the Cold War. But what was my hook?
Extended research uncovered a fascinating character. A Romanian Princess, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea, who had an affair with the head of the American OSS station in Bucharest during WWII.
To this day I have seen only one photo of her, on a Paris train platform in the company, of all people, of Sigmund Freud! She looked like what you would expect a descendant of Vlad the Impaler to look: dark-eyed and scarily beautiful.
Princess Stela Varadja was my inspiration.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
Duplicity in the service of country. Pretending to be someone you’re not. Lying, mendacity and prevarication. Who isn’t interested in that?
Also fame. Fame that is not sought but thrust upon you. How that can split a person in two.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
It took me four years to complete this novel. And it took me ten years to complete The American Spy Trilogy. I am now sixty-three years old. Still feisty, still engaged, but let’s face it, this trilogy will be my legacy for better or worse.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
I hadn’t thought it all the way through, my Spy Trilogy. It just wasn’t possible to peer that far into the future. I faced the monumental task of trying to thread it all together.
Why had 19-year-old Hal Schroeder been plucked from obscurity to become a behind-German-lines OSS agent in WWII? Why did he keep pursuing his spy career despite his better judgment? Would he keep signing on to suicide missions, or finally tell the higher-ups to get stuffed?
What do you love most about being an author?
Beethoven, when asked what he liked most about music, replied that music could make people do things. Music could make people dance, march off to war, weep tears of joy or tears of sadness.
Or so the legend goes. The dirty little secret of creative types from low (me) to high (Ludwig), is that we are all control freaks. We enjoy making people do stuff. Whether dance, march or cry.
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
I have been self-published for many years after an unhappy experience with an ‘established’ publisher. It is the only way to go if you are interested in maintaining creative integrity.
Where can we find you on the web?