Name: Kenneth J. Kerr
Book: "Life of a Double Agent"
Residence: Windmill Harbour
Publisher: self-publisher Xlibris
Where to buy: Barnes & Noble, online at Xlibris, Amazon
Plot summary in 50 words or fewer: Jim Hunt first becomes a secret agent in college when the CIA recruits him to spy on radical activities on campus. But he goes deeper, eventually working as a double agent infiltrating Chinese intelligence agencies. Once retired, he gets pulled back in one more time.
First sentence: "It all started when Jim Hunt attended the University of Delaware studying to become a chemical engineer."
Profession: retired chemical engineer with Dow Chemical and other companies
Previous experience: "Life of a Double Agent" is Kerr's first novel.
What prompted the novel: After retiring as a chemist and business executive, Kerr joined the Peace Corps to teach English in Russia. While there, he started writing a monthly newsletter to friends and family. The newsletters quickly spread to others, causing some to remark, "You should really write a book about this."
Story behind the character: Jim Hunt is fairly similar to Ken Kerr -- chemists from Delaware, world travelers, Peace Corps volunteer in Russia. Similar except the double agent part -- despite what some thought. "When people heard that I'd be in Russia for the Peace Corps, some would jokingly ask if I was working for the CIA," he said. "I guess that will all start up again with this book."
The writing process: Kerr started writing seriously late last summer. Five months later, he had a novel. "I'm very goal-oriented," he said. "I set the goal of working six days a week on it. There were some days where two pages were difficult. In that case, I'd just spend my time online researching."
Writers to admire: Inspiration from the book comes from prolific crime or spy novelists such as Patricia Cornwell, Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn.
What's next: Kerr has an idea for a second novel. But he wants to see what the reaction is to the first. "If I get good feedback, I'll get to work," he said. "I really enjoyed the writing process."
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