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."

FOR MORE ABOUT LOCAL AUTHORS

"A chat with Jon Buchan, author of 'Code of the Forest'"

"Author's Corner: A chat with Richard Uhl"

"Author's Corner: A chat with Charlie Ryan"

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