Secretary of state, presidential candidate, women’s rights activist, first lady, U.S. senator, and now, fiction writer. Hillary Clinton’s long resume is now one title longer.
Clinton’s first fiction novel — co-written with Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny and released on Tuesday — is already a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.
“State of Terror,” published by Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press, parallels reality in more than one way. The thriller follows Secretary of State Ellen Adams and a new administration that has been sworn in following “a tumultuous period in American politics.” The former president, who ran his administration with “near-criminal incompetence,” has retired to his Florida estate hidden behind “tall gold gates.”
Adams steps down from her position as the head of a multimedia conglomerate to take the job in the new president’s administration — despite some animosity between the two.
“What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena,” the book synopsis reads.
“It’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of entertainment, but it’s also a really serious problem of terrorists potentially getting access to nuclear weapons,” Clinton said in an interview with Good Morning America. “It kept me up at night when I was secretary of state.”
Clinton has penned seven other books, including “What Happened” following her 2016 defeat, but this is her first fiction novel. Penny is a bestselling author best-known for her award-winning Armand Gamache series of murder mysteries.
While the book is fiction, Clinton and Penny say the characters are inspired by people in their lives.
“I used my experience to inform the character, but … I was really inspired by another wonderful friend of mine, Ellen Tauscher, a former member of Congress who became the undersecretary for arms control, dealt with the Russians on nuclear weapons [and] was really in the middle of trying to keep our world safer,” Clinton told GMA.
The duo is so far receiving favorable reviews. The New York Times called the book “a page-turner” and “a romp.” The Los Angeles Times described it is a “taut thriller” that is “possessed of both head and heart” with a story “made all the more relevant by the U.S.’s recent withdrawal from Afghanistan.” And the Washington Post wrote, “the real key to ‘State of Terror’ … is its secret weapon: female friendship.”
While the book is receiving positive reviews, Clinton isn’t saying she’s ready to ditch politics to become a fiction writer just yet. Though she said she wouldn’t be running for anything, she did tell GMA, “I will never be out of the game of politics.”