"Here’s a piece of advice you won’t find in any manual, leaflet, monograph, self-help book, or national talk-show: when an agent with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Unit opens an email, then spends the next ten minutes vomiting in the men’s room, do not under any circumstances lean across the desk and look at the screen…"
From “Spider’s Tango” by William Simon
Featured in THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER
Thank you for inviting me here today, Suzan!
In my novel SPIDER’S DANCE, readers are introduced to Nicholas White, a computer security consultant and electronic evidence expert. DANCE is about Nicholas slowly bur surely realizing a recent oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was not an accident, but a carefully orchestrated conspiracy reaching back to WWII.
I had a lot of fun writing it, and came to really like Nicholas himself; an independent kind of guy, old-fashioned in some ways, firmly rooted in the past while living in the New Millennium.
Every other year or so, International Thriller Writers publishes a THRILLER anthology. While working on DANCE, a little vignette with Nicholas occurred to me and I wrote and submitted it for THRILLER 2. It didn’t make that particular cut due to the theme the collection was aiming for but some of the responses were encouraging. I filed it away and continued writing DANCE.
The day came a couple of years after that when submissions were opened for THRILLER 3, specifically for stories of romantic suspense. In one of those coincidences that a writer would get busted on - but happen all the time in Real Life - Turner Classic Movies had been running a marathon of Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movies. Which led to my digging out the DVD’s of “Remington Steele” and “Moonlighting,” both old favorites.
On a whim, I went back into “Tango” having overdosed on clever plots and witty dialogue between the sexes. After giving it some thought (approximately 2.7 seconds, as I recall), I re-wrote “Tango” from end to end, making it lighter, more fun, more engaging.
Without giving too much away, a child has been kidnapped. It turns out this particular child could potentially have a severe impact on the security of the United States; it was a scary plot in this post 9-11 era. The FBI contacts Nicholas, who is supposed to be on vacation, and we go from there. In DANCE, Nicholas mentions he was once married a long time ago. In “Tango”, he meets his ex-wife again after all these years since she is now with the FBI.
It was a lot of fun to write, to try and re-capture the banter and dialogue of Tracy and Hepburn movies, while addressing a very real scenario. I liked it, finalized it, and sent it in.
In a collection like THRILLER 3, most of the slots are pre-assigned to established authors. There were only three slots open to freelance writers. ITW received seventy submissions, whittled that down to fourteen in a series of ‘blind readings’, and the publisher chose the final three they liked the best to be included. I am extremely lucky and very proud to have been one of those three that were selected.
I sure hope you enjoy it!
Since 2002, William Simon has been the owner and lead investigator for a licensed firm that handles computer forensics and electronic evidence exclusively.
Earlier works published under the pseudonym ‘Will Graham’ include STREET HEAT and SOMETIMES, THERE REALLY ARE MONSTERS UNDER THE BED, both available in eBook editions.
SPIDER’S DANCE, a full-length novel featuring Nicholas White, is also available.
His website is: www.wmsimon.com