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December 22, 2016
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January 25, 2012
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January 29, 1985
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~, Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/25: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201140008-9 WASHINGTON POST 29 January 1985 Clan cY, ant Besides the Spy Novel `Red October,' He Also Writes Insurance By Peter Masley Washington Post Staff Writer You could tell right away that the approaching lecturer was a CL4 type. He walked across the snow and left no footprints. He said his name was "Tom Clancy," but everyone knows there are hundreds of "Tom Clancvs" at the agency using thou- sands of cover stories. Then he de- clared that he was really an insur- ance broker down in rural Calvert County, where that big nuclear re- actor pulses, and that he got an Eng- lish degree at Loyola College in Bal- timore. Ha. But the part of his "legend" that most strained credulity was this, 'Clancy"said someone paid him $35 to write a letter to the editor a couple of years ago and so he became a writ- er. Then he said he wrote a novel called "The Hunt for Red October" that has sold 45,000 copies, and it wasn't even published in New York. And he did this without a literary agent., Tell us another one, pal. Thomas L. Clancy Jr., 37, who uses the sobriquet "Tom Clancy," sLarted writing "The Hunt for Red October" in July 1982 "from the beginning, not knowing how it was going to end. It really was a lot more fun doing it that way ... If you plan things ahead of time you lose spontaneity." Double Thus flying in the face of hal- lowed literary tradition, he created a story based on the 1975 at- tempted defection to Sweden of a Soviet destroyer crew. From that event, and a few others, Clancy crafted a fast-paced, strongly plotted and technically solid account of a half-Lithuanian "sub driver" defecting to the West with the Red October, the Soviet Union's new- est, stealthiest and most powerful nuclear missile submarine. "I knew I could look up the facts," Clancy says. "What I didn't know was what kind of people go to sea in ships that are designed to sink." He found out by interviewing subma- riners and technical experts. Since publication by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis last October, "The Hunt for Red Octo- ber" has had four press runs and hit best-seller lists in Washington, San Francisco and New York City. The Naval Institute Press is preparing a fifth edition of 25,000 copies. Because "Red October" has sold 45,000 copies, publishing experts call it a "stunning success." (Most first novels by unknown writers sell 3,500 to 5,000 copies.) Considering the additional barriers Clancy faced-no agent and a nonfiction publisher that had never before pro- duced a novel and lacked the brute- force sales and distribution machin- ery of the New York houses-"Red October" also could be called a breakthrough. Word of mouth and more than a dozen, reviews, some enthusiastic, propelled sales. Paperback rights went to Berkley Publishing Group for $49,500 and United Kingdom rights went for around' $15,000. The Naval Institute Press has sold foreign language rights for Dutch, West German, Japanese and South American editions. "We don't have any pretensions that this is great literature," says Naval Institute Press marketing di- rector Jim Sutton, "It is just a hell of a good read..". "O.F. Bowen Agency," Clancy an- swers the telephone. This is Clancy at work. He writes policies as well as books. In the summer thousands of people drive by his office at the Bowen Agency in Owings on Maryland Rte. 260 on their way to Chesapeake Beach, four miles down the highway. "When did you last have a policy with us?" he asks a caller. "What is your name? How old are you?" Clancy and his wife, Wanda, who operate the agency, have 1,000 cli- ents in Southern Maryland. On the floor of Clancy's office is a large blue bag that houses the Ap- ple Macintosh computer he com- poses on when there's down time in the insurance business. Along the walls are war games, books on weapons, and government-pro- duced maps of,Germany he is using to write his second novel. "When you're your own boss," .Clancy says, "you can budget your ,time." If writing weren't fun, Clancy says, "I wouldn't do it. I don't need the money. This business supports me rather well." - Among Clancy's insurance clients are people he calls "nucs"-pro- nounced "nukes"-former Navy nu- -clear engineers who operate the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.'s Cal- vert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station on the Chesapeake Bay, 20 miles south of the Bowen Agency. Clancy mined them for technical informa- tion about the nuclear and naval as- pects of "Red October." He says the Navy's "nuts" are "the best in the world." Clancy is well read in his genre of thriller novels. He says Frederick Forsyth "is, at his best, probably Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/25: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201140008-9 Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/25: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201140008-9 the best in the business. Richard Co:;, he hasn't done much work but what I've seen I really like. Jack Higgins, at his best, he's awfully, awfully good. A.J. Quinnell (a pseudonym;, the new guy, nobody even knows who he is. There's a number. of good writers out there; fortunately or unfortunately, most of them are Brits and I figured it's about time an American did it." The central character and hero of "The Hunt for Red October" is CIA analyst and historian Jack Ryan. Ryan, a clean-cut all-American, "started to take form in the late 1970s," Clancy says. "In most any thriller fiction, the hero is an un- married guy in his thirties who likes to drink and smoke and run around ... What's wrong with a hero who's married, loves his wife and plays with his kids? That's what most people are," says Clancy. Like Clancy, Ryan was born in Baltimore, but here creator and createe diverge. Ryan, Clancy explains, "got a de- gree at Boston College in econom- ics and went into the Marine Corps, was injured and retired on a medical discharge, along the way he got a CPA, went to work for a stock bro- kerage firm, made himself a lot of money ... married a doctor, an eye i cutter-Kathy Ryan is an ophthal- rmic surgeon-and then he decided he was just going to leave the bro- kerage business and got himself a doctorate in history ... and through a circuitous route he found himself being invited to join the CIA." There is no room, in Jack Ryan's world, for doubters and second- guessers. Ryan himself is a self-as- sured man of mental and physical action. Jack Ryan's activist CIA, in contrast with portrayals by some other espionage writers, is not im- mobilized by fear of Soviet moles. It's the reverse: Ryan's CIA runs our mole in the Kremlin. "When America deals with other parts of the world," Clancy says, "we should concern ourselves less with what. we're against as opposed to what we're for. Too often, con- servatives, you always hear what they're against and there's a re- verse side to that. We are for free- dom, we are for justice,*-and the rea- Son that we and the communists can't get along is the 'reason that they are not for freedom-and they are not for justice. They are the [tegative guys and we are not." I For his next work, Clancy has teamed up with a naval analyst, Lar- ry Bond, to write a book tentatively called "Sunset." "It has a naval subject matter and it's quite a bit more complicated than 'Red October,' ", Clancy ex- plains. His plans after "Sunset" call for three more Jack Ryan thrillers. The first of them is called "Patriot .Games," Clancy says, and deals with terrorism and the period of Ryan's life that preceded the events in "Red October." Clancy may have been an untested' novelist when he wrote "Red October," but he still had the good sense to lay the groundwork for a sequel. "I'm not that good a writer," he says. "Maybe l will be some day but that day is not yet in sight . I do a good action scene. I handle technol- ogy well. I like to think that I do a fair-fairer-job of representing the kind of people we have in the Nai,v ... Portraying them the way they really are. Beyond that, I'll try to listen to my critics and improve what needs improving." Having concluded his lecture in a Loyola College classroom, "Tom Clancy" has faded away into snowy Baltimore. The darkened room is empty except for a curious' spectator hunting for clues to this man's iden- tity. On the lectern he spots some- thing under a few scraps of crum- pled paper. It's an ID card enclosed in plastic. Being careful not to leave fingerprints, he picks, up the card and exananes it. Printed across the front, in red, white and blue, he sees the words, "Official Literary Li- cense." His search Ends suddenly when his eyes drop to the next line. The card was issued to Jack Ryan. Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/25: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201140008-9