What a week we have had. The first blog book tour starts tomorrow and a number of different advertising campiagns are in full swing. A monumentous opportunity was bestowed upon us recently. A short but gripping interview with the real, living breathing person behind the Marcus Sinclair character. Hold on to your tissue, the answers to these questions could cause your eyes to leak ... profusely. Enjoy!
MARCUS SINCLAIR Character Interview:
What is your greatest fear?
There are two answers to this question: (Past tense) My greatest fear was having to live without my wife and children, which, as you know, was realized in 2005. Now, for over ten years, I spend my time trying to outrun depression and suicidal thoughts, daily. Quiet times by myself are physically painful. (Present tense) I am a person who really does not possess fear for myself, and since my greatest fear has already been realized, I would have to say that I fear for those who are presently close to me who really don’t understand how “wanted” I am; much less know who I am. One slip and I will, not only, be in front of a senate house committee testifying about *real* CIA torture techniques at Black Sites; I too, could disappear to a Black Site facing my own “creative” techniques.
When and where were you happiest?
Right after our second girl was born. We were living in a small town between Naples (my work) and Rome (Kat’s work). Not to take away from our first girl, but somehow we treated her like a football. With both of us doing missions and assignments with various lengths of time, we had a crew of support (the Jewish community is hugely supportive). When our second girl was born somehow the concept of “family” really took hold. With the threat of death around every corner, my head injury in 1994 really put life into perspective. Our happiness only lasted about a year, then life came crashing down on us. Hard.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am fortunate in being both intelligent and extremely confident. A blessing and a curse. I understand the advantages these characteristics afford me in life. They serve me well and are, no doubt, related to the CIA’s reasons for recruiting me. However, they also tend to make me come across as arrogant to a great many of my fellow Americans. I am not. In certain people, I can induce outright fear. I am sure you can imagine what crazy personality traits come out of people when they enter fear mode. I should come with an owner’s manual. This is why Mensans are shunned. Well, okay, they’re also hard to talk to (I’ll concede that). My wife, also intelligent and extremely confident, was never accused of being arrogant. She had another trait, a condition magical to me, charisma. I’ve always coveted her condition. I would happily trade my “arrogant” mannerism for those who possess that “charisma” mannerism that allows them to do and say anything to anyone. When “charismatics” do speak their mind … people thank them for their “honesty.” When I speak my mind, I get punched. Oy vey!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Professionally, my greatest achievement is still classified … as far as I know. But what I can say: I received an Intelligence Star for the action (End of Book 2). I always wanted to live up to my uncle’s standard as he received a distinguished intelligence medal (one level higher than my star) for his time in “Vietnam” (actually Laos, but “shhhhh” we were never in Laos, lol). He was truly, and I mean truly, an extraordinary individual (RIP, Uncle Bill).
Personally, my greatest achievement comes in two parts. The first part was being able to meet the high standard my wife set for us as parents. It is a long story and you will read about it in the next two books. The second part – having a great partner notwithstanding – was training these two little human beings, guiding their minds and bodies to become strong and self-sufficient, in the hope that one day they too will become great assassins (sorry … “intelligence officers”). Kat and I relied on no one, solely, to teach our children. We took full responsibility for our kids’ education, physicality, spirituality (both Western and Eastern), and decision-making processes. Yes, I know, how rare to teach decision analysis to kids. Why not? We as parents were able to stay one, and occasionally, two steps ahead of our children at all times. On each of their birthdays, Kat and I would sit our younglings down and help them set their goals for the year. Example, they were SCUBA diving at ten years old and sky diving at twelve. Of course, sometimes we cheated and threw them curveballs once in a while, but nevertheless, we would sit down and discuss every plan before putting it into motion. Kids’ participation highly encouraged. You could say we “handled” our kids just like any intelligence officer on mission. It was really fun! I miss them so much. So much.
Where would you most like to live?
We had this little two-bedroom flat in Montreux, Schweiz. It faced west and looked out over Lake Geneva with the Freddie Mercury statue below, on Grand-Rue. It was fantastic in the summer and with Gstaad an hour and a half away, winter wasn’t too bad, either. I think it’s time to go back and visit Freddie. Kat didn’t mind Montreux, though she would say Paris is her city.
What is your most treasured possession?
I wear it around my neck 24/7. Kat and I did our first mission together in late 1994 (Act I of Book 3) in Bangkok, Thailand. When we finished, Kat bought this two-piece Yin-Yang pendant. She wore the Yin (Moon) and I wore the Yang (Sun). This was Kat showing her support for me deciding to be a student of Taoism (Yes, it too will be in Book 3). When I returned to Tel Aviv in 2005 to claim her and my daughters' bodies, the Yin pendant was still around her neck. The medical examiner told me that no one dared take it off her body, considering my reputation for having a short temper coupled with how protective I was of her. After the sitting Shiva, I shaved my beard, then placed the Yin-Yang pendant around my neck (yes, three years later everyone involved was dead). It hasn’t left my body since. When I re-marry – I know Kat would want me to – I will give the Yin to my new bride. Hopefully, she will understand the significance.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Vlad Draculea, Crown Prince of Wallachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler, or “Dracula.” Vlad was a medieval Romanian prince famed for his brutal torture techniques and vicious lust for battle. In reality, the reverse was true. Vlad lived in a time when the torture techniques he employed were commonplace, but like all history, “truth” is written by the victorious. Read what the Russians think of him. He was actually a member of the ‘Order of the Dragon’, an order of Hungarian knights sworn to protect Christian lands from the Muslim Ottoman Empire. I was part of a group called, “Shadow Knights” and performed many international actions, sometimes without heads of state knowing. However, our methods for obtaining success were, shall we say, creative, but effective. Vlad’s reputation best represents my own reputation as a “Hunter” and “Black Site Interrogator,” and as most of us know, it’s very easy to take what I do professionally out of context and apply it to me as a person. I did evil things to evil people and saved thousands of lives. I think Machiavelli summed it up nicely in The Prince, “[M]en judge generally more by the eye than by the hand …” Though disappointing, is very true. What if I told you my wife and I lived next door to you in suburban America? Did you know we were in the same PTA as you and our kids played soccer with your kids? Surprised? There are careers, when taken on a superficial level, can be construed as “horrific” and most people would stop there. People who judge are just bad people (yes, I would like to shove a spike through their … right?). More often than not, they have zero facts and live on subjective “opinion.” I try to avoid these people, considering my skill set. All I can say is this … we stand on the frontlines and say, “No one will hurt you tonight.” Please don’t judge us. Just say, “Thank you.”
What is your greatest regret?
When we left Chicago in 2005 there was a significant, and I mean significant, discussion about Kat and the girls going to Tel Aviv without me. I had no interest in the “stuff” we accumulated. I wanted to sell or give away everything and leave the states. She said, “No. When the girls go to university (Sorbonne, of course), we could come back to San Diego and sit on that bench above La Jolla cave (next to the little gift shop) and stare out at the sunset and Scripps pier. Yeah, she had her romantic tendencies. Letting them go to Israel without me made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, but I acquiesced. You have no idea how unbelievably painful that regret is on a daily basis.
How would you like to die?
Fast. Undoubtedly, I will be caught by one of Donald Rumsfeld’s boys one day. I just don’t want done to me what I did to so, so many others.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two I live by …
“A dream with a plan is a goal; a dream without a plan is a wish.” – Marcus Sinclair, CIA Operations Officer, GS-13
“An obstacle is something a person sees when they take their eyes off their goal.” – E. Joseph Cossman, Businessman