The Maverick Approach To Spy Thrillers

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When I first started writing The Maverick Experiment, I pondered how I would accomplish two tasks; first of which being the ability to capture my experiences as an intelligence officer without sharing sensitive information that risked the lives of my colleagues or future operations.  Secondly, I wanted to carve out a new niche within the spy novel genre, which was, and continues to be, populated with many successful writers.  The first was quickly addressed by utilizing the Agency’s Publication Review Board, who was of great assistance in approving all aspects of my first novel.

After months of deliberating over how to best describe the life of an intelligence officer and my experiences abroad, I determined that the best way to address my second concern would be to use elements of my past, mixed with fictional concepts frequently discussed around the fire-pit in Kabul on how we should do things.  After all, some of our best ideas in Afghanistan came from discussions around the fire with a glass of scotch and a cigar in hand.  It was there that my colleagues and I discussed the failures of the day, whether operational or managerial, and how we would accomplish them if our legal lanes were a bit wider and more forgiving.  As I worked on the story in my room late at night, I took snippets of our conversations around the fire and my own ideas on how things should be run and the Maverick Program was born.  The operators on the Maverick team would be granted the carte blanche ability to perform their assignments as we have all dreamed would happen for years.  Knowing full well that such a thing would not occur in real life, I was able to build new operations and assignments according to the new team and mix them with names and locations of some of my previous assignments.  Ultimately, what is real and what is fiction will of course remain a secret, but the mix quickly became the foundation for this and future books in the series.

The next step that I tackled was carving out my own niche, based upon what has already been written.  I knew the genuine descriptions of intelligence officers and real life places would help, but I wanted to do more to separate myself and decided to approach the length of the novels.  Traditionally, the length of spy novels surpasses the 500-page mark and beyond, which at times can be a burden.  Thus, I decided to attempt The Maverick Experiment, with a different approach; fast, page turning installments, which hopefully left the reader desiring more.  My goal is to have each book in the series fit neatly into a 250-300 page story that further develops the characters, the Maverick program and ultimately the series.  If readers purchase the book in an airport and are able to race through it with excitement, while being educated and wishing it hadn’t ended by the time they land, I have succeeded and that shall be the premise upon each book is written.

Drew Berquist is an intelligence contractor for the US government, and previously worked directly for the nation’s top intelligence organizations. He is the author of The Maverick Experiment and the forthcoming second installment, The Maverick Protocol.

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