Alan Simon Talks About Alan Simon

Alan Simon

I was born in Springfield, MA. Rather than give the year of my birth, I tell folks that when I was born, most cars came in basic black.

At an early age my family moved to a little town in the Massachusetts Berkshire Hills. Thanks to Pittsfield's public schools, I learned that maybe, just maybe, one day I might write a novel.

I have always had a deep love of reading and as a child I'd make up all sorts of weird stories. My introduction to novel writing occurred in the fifth grade when I got an A on a book report. What no one knew was that I'd created the book on which I'd reported. I guess I was pretty sneaky, even at that age.

After college, I spent three years in the US Army, one year as an insurance adjuster and six years as a secondary public school teacher. (Never could keep a steady job).

I realized I'd had enough of writing and teaching about the world; I wanted to be part of something that was engaged in that world.

I did my research and joined the Central Intelligence Agency. Frankly, after signing on the dotted line and taking the oath, I never looked back and I never regretted my decision. Yes, there were bad times mixed in with the good, but I never wished I'd done something different.

Initially, I served as a paramilitary officer, and participated in a number of little international squabbles, like the Vietnam War. Tiring of shots fired, not only in anger, but at ME, I exchanged my mortar and rocket launcher for my cloak and dagger.

I became a CIA operations officer in the Directorate of Operations (DO), the place where spies and spy-handlers work. In this capacity, I served in Western Europe and many countries in Africa, often as chief of station (COS). Sorry, folks, I can't be too specific on this business. Maybe later on we can chat about how a COS spends your tax dollars.

I retired from the CIA in 1994, but continued as a consultant, trainer and mentor. This was my way of paying back. My training assignments provided me with opportunities to share what I'd learned.

I'm pleased to tell you that many of the officers I trained have had exciting careers. It gives me a thrill when I encounter someone in the CIA who still remembers his days under my tutelage.

Well, this doddering ex-ops type is still at it. Unlike so many of my peers, I'm still married to the same woman who, for more years than she cares to think about, followed me from country to country, continent to continent, never uttering a single disparaging comment about our life.

She was a full partner in everything I undertook. I wish I could reveal some of the sexier ops she's helped me out with. Maybe, one day, I'll get permission to talk about them.

Back to the point I started to make. Yes, I'm still engaged in the struggle against international terrorism. Folks, we're at war, whether you recognize it or not. Those bad guys out there really, really want to hurt us.

So, as I sit and fret about this, my protagonist, Sean Brogan, gets off his duff and does something about it.

Thanks for reading!