OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – When espionage author Spencer Hawke set out to create the main female character in his first novel, he knew his choice might be controversial in light of current political events.
All eyes were on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and not all comments were positive.
Hawke held firm, offering readers of The Eyes of Athena's Jade McQueen, a strong central character serving as Secretary of State and the first female member of the 200-year-old secret society that serves as the foundation of his series.
“My editor warned me about the potential fall-out from choosing a character that readers might tie to Clinton in a negative way,” Hawke said, “but she was a character clawing to get out of my head and into the story. In the end, I went with my gut, and I think the novel is better for it.”
By book two in the series, The Orthus Conspiracy, Jade had risen to the highest office in the land, the President of the USA, and Hawke said that, too, was a natural progression for the character.
“Jade is smart and politically savvy in the best way,” Hawke said of his character. “It only made sense that she would rise to the top. She was born to be president.”
But that, Hawke said, is where any similarities between Jade and most real politicians fade.
“Despite her drive to succeed in order to be in a better position to help the nation, Jade remains unsullied by the game of politics and maintains her high integrity and all important moral standards,” Hawke said of his character. “If only that were the norm in today’s political arena.”
“I think the American public is ready for a female president,” Hawke said, “someone with integrity that the whole country can get behind. I based the character, Jade McQueen, on the type of person I would like to see in the White House.”
Hawke noted Jade is not the only unusual character in his series. His main character, Ari Cohen, is a former Mossad agent drawn into serving a society created by the founding fathers of the American government.
“Ari comes on board as a loaned operative on a joint mission,” Hawke said, “and he sort of just stays.”
“He’s such a delightful character to write – so James Bond with a twist,” the British-born author added. “He’s a concert violinist, a gentleman and definite Renaissance man – all rolled into one deadly weapon.”
Hawke said another part of the series that he enjoys is the historical aspect of each novel.
“I love history and the drama of it,” he said. “My first book kicks off with the stealth fighter crash in 1990, and the second has a heavy focus on the fall of Saigon. Plus I just finished a prequel that hits right at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
“It’s so much fun to write the characters of those times … and I love the fits it gives my editor in fact checking all those names, dates and places!” Hawke said laughing.
Book three is in editing now, Hawke said, and takes on a different aspect all together. “I’m looking at child trafficking as an undercurrent for the latest work. That’s a tough one.”
And controversial, he said.
“From book one to now, my heart seems to drag me into politically and socially controversial subjects,” he said. “They keep the work interesting for me and hopefully keep the novels spicy for my readers.”
Spencer HawkeP: 405-621-9824