Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jeremy Duns

At The Rap Sheet, British features writer and freelance critic Gordon Harries questioned Jeremy Duns about his new novel, Free Agent. Their opening exchange:

Gordon Harries: Jeremy, the period novel is a notoriously research-intensive beast. What possessed you to focus on two historical strands, and why 1945 and 1969 respectively?

Jeremy Duns: I did sometimes wonder that myself! I’ve been a fan of spy novels for years, but I’m most drawn to those set during the Cold War, which I think was a fascinating period. When the [Berlin] Wall fell a lot of people said the spy novel was dead, but I didn’t see why--not only would there be new arenas of espionage to tell stories about, as of course there have been, but the march of time (and declassified files) would also mean new aspects of the Cold War would be revealed. In the ’60s and ’70s, thriller writers like Alistair MacLean and Jack Higgins set their books during the Second World War, so it struck me that perhaps I could revisit the Cold War from a fresh perspective, from what we know of it now. Once I had decided to set it during the Biafran War, I had to figure out precisely when. I spent a while researching 1967, in fact, before discovering a particular event that took place in 1969 that I wanted to build my plot around. The chapter in 1945 came about because I wanted to show how Paul Dark finds himself in the position he is in at the start of the novel, and I felt that it was probably initiated when he was an idealistic and confused young man. I was also interested in the way the Soviets went from being our allies in the war to our enemies straight after it--that was something I thought Soviet intelligence might have exploited.[read on]
Read more about Free Agent.

--Marshal Zeringue