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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

SPOTLIGHT: A Spy With Scruples by Gary Dickson @smithpublicity

A Spy With Scruples
by Gary Dickson

Publisher: River Grove Books
Publish Date: March 3, 2020
282 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

In July of 1964, after marrying in Paris, Desirée and Scott Stoddard are honeymooning in the South of France when their idyll is interrupted by a notice from Scott's draft board - he must report to Germany to be . Desirée, the former French countess who is already three months pregnant, doesn't understand why her new husband must traipse off to some military base. When Scott's scores attract the attention of the CIA, Scott becomes part of their world of intrigue and deceit. How can he get back to the life that he and Desirée had envisioned? 

A Spy with Scruples plunges readers into the complicated political world of Cold War Europe. From neutral Switzerland to the aristocratic salons of Paris to bombed-out Berlin, Scott ingratiates some and offends more. But he has a plan.

A Q&A with Gary Dickson

How did you become a writer?

I began my writing career when a professor at the Alliance Francaise Los Angeles asked me if I had ever tried writing anything.  When I responded No, she persuaded me to look into it.  As a result, I enrolled in a short story class at the UCLA Writers Extension, where after several submissions, my teacher informed me that I should be writing novels.  UCLA soon assigned me to a tutor, and four months later I had written my first novel.

Why did you choose to write historical romances?

Those of us fortunate enough to have been in love or to be in love remember or know the intensity and deliciousness of being infatuated with another person; nothing else matters.  Troubles and cares melt away and being with that person of our desire overtakes all reason.  A kind of trance develops where we see no wrong, disregard any blemish, deny any fault.  The spirit soars when love abounds.  There's almost nothing more exciting to write about.

What is your writing process?

My wife might say that I am obsessed with my writing, while I would concede that I'm rarely out of touch with what I'm writing at the moment. Nevertheless, I can write for hours without looking up.
What I love about writing is the challenge of resolving the intricacies of plot and character development and evolution.  Writing is very similar to solving puzzles.  While there seems to be many possible answers, only one generally stands out.  Selecting the right one is exciting and fascinating.
I write in a study in our condominium which is high up overlooking downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, the Ocean and Santa Monica.  It's a quiet place with a desk, sofas, and beautiful wallpaper and artwork.
I prefer to write in the afternoon, the evening or even late at night.  But in reality, my sessions begin with long walks in the morning. During these meanderings around Beverly Hills, I work out the problems that I either have encountered the previous day or anticipate.  Walking is somewhat a solo affair, and there's plenty of time to ruminate over the next sequences in the story. 
I tend to have the next part of the story worked out before I ever sit down to actually put it on paper. As I go along, I re-read what I've written sometimes rather rapidly, and I think about making it clearer, more articulate, more beautiful to the ear.  This re-reading keeps me in close touch with the story and the characters, and I believe it contributes to less re-writing during the edits.
I don't work from outlines, and I rarely know hot the ending will take place until I'm well into the story.  I listen to the characters and their responses tell me where the story is going.  I make a practice to never finalize any of my writing, always leaving a little bit for tomorrow to jump start my imagination.
I set no limits on my production either in time or quantity of words rather letting the free flow of the story dictate the pace of production.  Yet, I notice that my books in general are finished in four months once I begin.

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