Author name: Lillian McCloy
Genre: Memoir / Travel Literature / Espionage
Book: Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant: Undercover and Overwhelmed as a CIA Wife and Mother
What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I was always a writer, since I was six years old. I wrote stories on the middle pages of my notebooks in school. Sometimes I would add pictures to go with the stories. Genius.
I grew up in Canada. I became a big band jazz singer and also worked as a secretary and a paralegal. After I moved to San Francisco, I became Melvin Belli’s secretary. That’s when I met my husband Frank.
I write for pleasure, but I don’t really know the answer to how I came to write my memoir. I may have felt the need to write my story down after my house and everything burned in the 1991 Oakland hills fire. I wrote my manuscript a year later.
How do you balance your work with other demands? Well, I am 94 years old, so this isn’t an issue for me. I’m blind from macular degeneration. I have no other demands.
Name one of the happiest moments in your life: Hmmm. I couldn’t answer that succinctly. I’d have to think about that for a while.
What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? I’m a planner. I’m a Capricorn and I’m very organized.
Could you write in a café with people around? No, I like solitude and quiet.
Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? No, I haven’t.
What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? My favorite book is Little Women, which I read when I was seventeen. And it’s still my favorite book. I am not reading now at all, because I am disabled, but I’ve always loved reading and having stacks of books from the library. Unfortunately, I am not able to read anymore. I miss it terribly.
What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? I don’t even know what an eReader is. That was after my time. I prefer a hardcover. I like the smell of a book.
Do you think print books will always be around? No. Sadly, I don’t think so. I think it won’t be very long before they just don’t bother anymore.
Would you ever read a book on your phone? No, I wouldn’t.
What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? A standard phone (landline) does me just fine.
How long could you go without checking your phone? Always. I never check my phone. I wouldn’t know how to check a phone. Mine just rings.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? I don’t listen to audiobooks because I don’t enjoy it. I think there’s too much acting going on with the voice. If everyone read books in a plain reading voice, I probably would enjoy it. They’re always trying too much to dramatize, and I don’t like that.
Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? My daughter Johanna has done all of my promotion. She says she does it on a dedicated Facebook page.
Awards/special recognition: Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly 2017
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