A chat with Kenneth J. Kerr, author of 'Life of a Double Agent'

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comApril 26, 2013 

Kenneth J. Kerr

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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