♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
It’s been awhile since we’ve done this. Interview one
of your characters. Introduce them to a new audience
or give existing readers new insight into their motivations.
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. We appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
Let’s switch gears this time and take our interview chair to the Earth’s past, almost 80 years back…
The setting is New York City, the year, 1942 sometime in June. The blackout is in effect at night. The harbors are under surveillance. Massive military flights go over head in the daytime. Everywhere one looks, there are pleas to buy War Bonds and signs to serve the United States overseas in the war against fascism. Band music is hot and so are liberty rolls, platforms and shoulder pads. Red lipstick is common, but nylons rare. Food is rationed, but smiles are plenty because the homefront is fully on board with smashing Nazis. Our closest ally, mother Britain, has a consulate in the city. That’s where the heroine of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit rediscovered the man she fell in love with, and the relief of knowing he wasn’t a German operative allowed her to open her arms to him fully.
Let’s take a visit to the consulate and sit with this man to hear about his amazing escape from the heart of Nazi Germany and back to the woman he loves. Under cover you may have heard of him as Carsten Reinger, but the events following his mission revealed him to be Elliott Fox of British Intelligence. Due to the fall out of his work, he’s been retired to the consulate to deal with sensitive matters between London and New York.
Mr. Fox sits behind a broad desk of fine walnut. Files and papers line the work surface. He adjusts his wireframes and puts his cigarette on a heavy ashtray. The smoke rises like a white ribbon snake, disappearing into the air after cavorting in a slow rhythm. Those ice blue eyes of his meet with mine and he offers his usual smile.
Fox: My apologies. Shall we begin then? What paper did you say you work for?
Interviewer: I’m not a journalist, Mr. Fox. I’m a biographer. I’m here to ask you some questions and hopefully write this amazing story of yours down. That was some adventure you had.
Fox: (taking up his cigarette) I suppose I can oblige something. The matter is still classified.
I watch him puff on the cigarette staring through me. I’m tense now and lick my lips, afraid to ask the first question.
Fox: How old are you anyway?
Interviewer: As if that is important, Mr. Fox. Shall we begin.
He grins, having successfully taken the edge back off the conversation by offending me. He meant to do that. I must be an easy read.
Interviewer: What credentials drew the clandestine services to hiring you?
Fox: My obvious appearance and knowledge of the German language and culture.
Interviewer: You come from Falmouth, yes? In England?
Fox: Indeed, I do.
Interviewer: Do you plan to return there after the war, Mr. Fox? And, will you bring Miss Healey with you?
Fox: What does a biographer need to know about my future plans? Isn’t it the past you write about? Yes?
Interviewer: Inquiring minds, Mr. Fox. Our readers will want to know if you’re going to do right by the lady. I’ll give you time to answer. How about we move on?
Fox: That would be just fine. (he says it with such a tone, I’m forced to clear my throat and return to my old tack.)
Interviewer: Is anyone left from the original mission outside of those residing here in New York?
Fox: I am not at liberty to reveal that information and I cannot be certain of the whereabouts of agents in the field, nor their current health.
Interviewer: Fair. (I eye him a moment, getting into my groove as a researcher, feeling far less intimidated than when we started.) When you were in Boston working on Carroll Healey, did you ever fear for your life from American intelligence? Had anyone gotten wind of your operation? Or were the branches notified ahead of time?
Fox brightens at the audacity of my question. Although the information pertains to a past operation, it could shed some light on how things are done in current missions, and that is just going too far. He puffs his cigarette and doesn’t answer. He can’t, and I know it.
Interviewer: What did you feel when you first saw her? And, where were you?
Fox: Claire, you mean? (I nod.) It was at her father’s dinner party when I first met her. I had seen her photograph in his office prior to that and, of course, in the file on them. I am no school boy, madam. I didn’t fall over myself blushing. Her arrival created far more problems for me at the time instead of any pleasant distraction.
Interviewer: But you did fall in love with her?
Fox: I have. Yes. How could someone not fall for her?
Interviewer: I’ve had a few say that her privilege and indulgence in frivolous things, like lipstick, annoys the hell out of them.
Fox: Frivolity is what makes up the details in all of us. Aren’t all the women concerned about their hair and lipstick these days? Claire is a woman of her time.
Interviewer: What makes her stand out from the pack of legs for you then?
Fox sits back and smirks. He snaps his glasses off his face and laughs.
Fox: My answer would get me killed by the best agent the Americans have.
Interviewer: Miss Healey?
Fox puts out the butt of his cigarette and folds his hands on the desk, spinning the glasses. He’s reading me again.
Interviewer: What draws a man of danger, such as yourself, to a woman of comfort like Healey?
Fox: It was never my intention to be drawn by any woman during that mission, regardless of how attractive they were. Claire Healey is what you Americans phrase as a Dish. I could watch her knit and never lose interest. She’s the detail you miss and die by.
Interviewer: Readers are going to want to know what she’s got that they don’t, Mr. Fox.
Fox: She’s got brass ones and stood up to Hitler himself. I wonder, would they?
Interviewer: I suppose they wouldn’t, Mr. Fox. Tell me about that. What was it like serving the Reich, even as a spy for our side?
Fox: Like holding a gun to your head while you ride over a rocky road.
Interviewer: What would you have done had they executed your new friend?
Fox: Continued the mission. Its success would have meant even more to me.
Interviewer: What is it like to have been a field operative and then be saddled with a desk job after quite an intense mission like you had?
Fox: Respite. If you think for one moment that what we do in the field is a pleasant day picnicking, you’d be fooling yourself. It’s bloody deadly, madam. You get hurt. People die. You probably die, too. I got lucky. I get a vacation until they call me up again.
Interviewer: Would you go?
Fox: I’d have to. I signed the papers.
Interviewer: But, your mission and a lot of what happened was lined out in the rags, Mr. Fox. Surely that would be too dangerous.
Interviewer: What scares you most?
Fox: Failure—because it means I’m dead.
I stare back at him a long moment. The phone rings and the interview is cut short. He mumbles something on the line, and then covers the receiver to ask me to set up another appointment with the girl out front. I know I’m not going to get back in here, but I think I have some stuff to flesh out my book about that mission of his. I gotta write it, you know. Like he’s gotta be a shadow gathering up all those juicy secrets, on the edge of a knife. I’m excited, but miffed a bit at not finding out the gossip on their relationship. He never did answer that question.
Mr. Fox is a super intense guy. I can see why Claire is in love with him. His golden good looks aren’t the only thing to speed up the heart rate.
Check out the interviews on the other author blogs by clicking on the links below. I bet you’ll find something fun to read. If you liked Mr. Fox, you’ll be happy to know his sequel is in the works. OP-GHO: Operation Ghost.