A Note From Keith
Did you know future president John F. Kennedy spent the fall quarter of 1940 as a student at Stanford Business School? Moments after I found out, I asked myself the two word question that’s the first step in writing any thriller -- “What if?” What if JFK became buddies with a Californian during his three months at Stanford? What if JFK and this fellow named Nate Michaels had a falling out in 1940? What if JFK needed Michaels’ help 22 years later in a longshot effort to stop the spiral toward nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
I wanted to make sure I got the history just right. That meant spending months in my comfortable office armchair reading memoirs and transcripts or on a hard wooden chair in some archive leafing through documents and newspapers. What a thrill to see a letter from JFK’s girlfriend at Stanford at the Kennedy Presidential Library! My heart pounded as I read the actual words of generals, cabinet members, and the president arguing over how to deal with Soviet missiles in Cuba targeted at the United States. I grinned when I uncovered what movie was playing at the Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto on the Saturday night when Nate and his girlfriend held hands there.
The book itself then takes place during two different Octobers, one in 1940 and one in 1962. In both, the United States teetered on the precipice of world war. As the theologian Thomas Merton once wrote, “October is a fine and dangerous season in America.”
I’ve never had more fun writing a book than I did A Fine And Dangerous Season. Here's hoping you have fun with it, too!