Feature

Author of the week: Valerie Plame Wilson

The former CIA operative has signed on to write a series of spy novels with the help of best-selling mystery writer Sarah Lovett.

Valerie Plame Wilson has a bone to pick with writers of espionage fiction, said Julie Bosman in The New York Times. The former CIA operative, forced to come in from the cold when she was infamously outed by the Bush administration in 2003, has signed on to write a series of spy novels. The decision, she says, was “born out of my frustration and continuing disappointment in how female C.I.A. officers are portrayed in popular culture.” Not every female agent is Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry, dressed in skintight outfits and looking flawless while dodging bullets. “They always tend to be cardboard characters, with a heavy reliance on physicality,” says Wilson. “Of course the job has a lot of glamour. But it really is about being smarter than your average bear. Your mind is your best weapon. It’s great when you’re a good shot with an AK-47, but it’s about being clever.”

For this new venture, Wilson will have some help. She’ll write the novels, which will center around the exploits of a fictional female operative named Vanessa Pearson, along with best-selling mystery writer Sarah Lovett. All things considered, Wilson is hoping to avoid the pitfalls of her last foray into writing. Her 2007 memoir Fair Game was well received and earned her a hefty advance and a movie deal, but was heavily redacted by the CIA and ended up being published with several blackened-out passages. The novels will also be heavily vetted by the agency. “This one, I’m going for redaction-free,” says Wilson. “I’ve had enough trouble.”

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