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Authors: Clinton Smith

Exit Alpha (45 page)

BOOK: Exit Alpha
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Q: Are you saying there are no solutions?

No. I’m saying direct means don’t work. Violence is generally ignorance — and provokes the equal and opposite reaction. We think we can do something, but we’re symptoms not the cause. Real doing is self-change. But that’s almost impossible. Real change isn’t on the level of general life at all.

Q: Can you explain that more clearly?

We need to transform our values. Nothing less will make any difference. That begins with a new kind of wish and a new direction and refinement of attention. But we’re so unbalanced, ignorant, destructive, that we’ve no inkling of our inner potential. We’re atomised, in pieces — hearts, bodies, minds disconnected. If we could move towards an inner unity, the inner would transform the outer. And that would be real action. Not reaction but response.

Q: And this kind of thinking is part of the Smith thriller formula?

If you have a formula, you’re defeated. It has to be your kind of book and you have to enjoy it. The old saw that ‘style is the man’ may be mental shorthand but the sentiment is right. What you are is what happens to you. And it’s also what you write, if you’re honest. If it interests you, there’s a chance it could interest others. But that’s far from guaranteed. The first joy of craft or art is personal. And if others think it worthwhile, that’s a bonus.

Q: So what kind of experience do you hope readers of EXIT ALPHA will have?

I hope they’ll enter another world that will constantly surprise them. That they’ll be involved in a fast-paced adventure that never dulls the mind because mindless action is juvenile and boring. That they’ll meet characters they care about and can learn something from as well. That this world will be sheer enjoyment — will delight, amuse, convince, engage, intrigue. There have been many attempts to combine the pace of the thriller with the depth of a novel. But, generally, pace suffers. I don’t believe it should. With luck, EXIT ALPHA combines drive and entertainment with depth.


Clinton Smith, born in Sydney, Australia, began trying to write as a schoolboy. After a lurch into the media as a radio announcer, he worked for years in a TV studio, writing short stories in off-hours, some of which he sold. When he became an advertising copywriter working on world brands, the demands of the job, plus marriage and children, made scribbling fiction difficult. He finished several book-length manuscripts in following years but none sold, although some of his stories won literary contests.

During his long advertising career, in the process of shooting his commercials, he survived aerobatics with Air Force instructors, chopper journeys with the Navy and tank rides over obstacle courses with the Army. He encountered big-game at Sabi Sabi, chased storms in an antique ketch around the Barrier Islands, supervised cars towing autogyros, women dangling out of truck doors over cliffs and hang-gliders flying off New Zealand mountains. His shoots commandeered the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Arc de Triomphe, stopped traffic in Times Square and disrupted the Monte Carlo Rally. People as diverse as Edward de Bono and Ronnie Barker fronted his campaigns.

His commercials have won thirty local and international awards and he’s known for the inventive and humorous King Gee workwear commercials he wrote for twenty years and the slogan: ‘If they were any tougher, they’d rust.’ He became a partner in his own agency then retired in his fifties to concentrate on fiction. Now that he can afford to write full-time, his problem is living long enough to do it.

Smith’s first two books have been optioned for film. He is editing the fourth and has written the screenplay of the first. He has been divorced for almost forty years, lives alone and believes that possessions waste time. His furniture comes from garage sales, he’s had the same car for twenty-two years, the same computer for twelve. He rides a bike, lifts weights and may soon sell his violin.


BOOK: Exit Alpha
11.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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