This week, I'm chatting with Erin, book blogger and book clubber, about writing, storytelling and reading all things thriller, crime and espionage. It's a Facebook Chat so anyone can attend from the comfort of their couch, it's free, and the dress code is (apparently) 'Onesie'. Find out more on Erin's Coffee Chats blog here. Whatever you wear, I'm really looking forward to catching up.
In honour of the upcoming Facebook Event on 25 July at 7.30pm AEST (RSVP here to be reminded on the night via Facebook!), I wanted to put out a special post with some things you may not know about the black-ops Interpol agency, Intrepid. As the Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division of Interpol, Intrepid is the start point for all my thriller novels, and as my own literary creation I'd like to think it's become an intrinsic part of my storytelling modus operandi.
Nine Black-ops Intrepid Facts
1. It's inspired by The Thunderbirds
My original inspiration for Intrepid was based on The Thunderbirds International Rescue concept. As a kid, I thought it couldn't get much better than that.
2. Intrepid HQ and the British Secret Service HQ Are In the Same Spot
Intrepid HQ (Broadway, London) is located in the very same location as the British Secret Service HQ used to be during the period 1924–1966. This covered the period of Ian Fleming's James Bond books and, therefore, was the location from which Bond was dispatched on his missions by M throughout all of Fleming's novels. I think Alex Morgan being dispatched from the same spot is pretty damn cool.
3. Favourite Drinking Hole
The Red Lion pub in Westminster where General Davenport, Alex Morgan and the other agents occasionally meet and drink is my favourite pub in London town. I first celebrated Anzac Day there in 1994 with three great guys, fellow officers from my days attached to the New Zealand Army, and it's been a special spot ever since. I left a copy of Hunter for the publican during my last visit this past June and I heard he was thrilled.
3. Live By Your Wits
General Davenport, the Chief of Intrepid, promotes a 'Live by your wits' philosophy among the agents, rather than allowing them to become reliant on modern technology. This is a product of his developmental years, encompassing a non-reliance on gimmicks and gadgets, instead looking to themselves and their honed abilities to deal with sticky situations. As we know, technology has a habit of failing in the most inopportune moments...
4. The Intrepid Name Is Based In Fact
I always liked the word intrepid, conjuring ideas of courage and fortitude, but it's also a hat tip to the famous spymaster from WWII – William Stephenson – a Canadian who was influential in intelligence circles during the war, acting at the highest level of government on both sides of the Atlantic. Stephenson was known as ‘a man called Intrepid’.
5. Real Life Stranger than Fiction?
In the creation of Intrepid, the United Nations Security Council approached Interpol to form a new ultra-secret division to protect the defenceless - regardless of border, politics or race. In real life, though, those two agencies don't have a relationship like that, but by fictionalising it for the stories, it works - evoking the international scale of the United Nations alongside the co-operation of international police. That's what makes Intrepid different and their agents part-policeman, soldier and spy.
6. The Sword of Interpol
Intrepid is described in the books as the Sword of Interpol and that is for two reasons.
Firstly, as you'll see (right) the Interpol badge actually depicts a sword that balances the scales of justice. To my mind then, it suggests the sharp end of the organisation, with the responsibility to unremittingly bring the world's most dangerous criminals to account.
7. Agents Train in London's Old Sewers
In the books, the agents are regularly required to maintain and update their firearms and weapon skills training in a Central London underground space called 'The Pit'. The spot is actually part of an old sewerage system that was never commissioned and used. Lucky for the agents that it wasn't!
8. Agent Selection Process
Agents are recruited by Intrepid talent spotters whose sole job it is to identify outstanding individuals already employed within some of the world's most specialist and highly secret police, military and spy agencies. Following a period of intense scrutiny and clandestine observation, their suitability is assessed covertly before the potential agent is even aware that they have been under consideration.
9. There's A New Agent In Town
In the new book, Avenger, Alex Morgan’s taking on some of the world’s most despicable characters – human traffickers. He’s also showing the first female agent in Intrepid the ropes, or maybe it’s vice versa. She's kicking some serious butt already, and she knows her stuff. So, keep you eyes peeled for... No, I can't tell you her name yet!
I hope you've enjoyed these ultra-secret facts about Intrepid , and I'll be talking about some of these details and many more in the books with Erin this Thursday night (details here) - please if you have any questions get them ready and I'll see you on Facebook for a chat then!
I kind of fell in love with [Alex Morgan] in a literary sense.. because he reminded me of an Aussie James Bond. I imagined him as a man who is serious but a bit of a larrikin.. he is obviously affected by what he has seen, he is a risk taker but kind. - Coffee Chats With Erin: Bookgirloz review