The Foreign Service Journal - October 2014 - page 61

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
OCTOBER 2014
61
AFSA NEWS
AFSA/BRITTANYDELONG
WR I T I NG I N THE FORE I GN SERV I CE
A Conversation with
Author Matthew Palmer
Writing and publishing in
the Foreign Service can be a
challenge. AFSA hosted FSO
Matthew Palmer on Aug. 21
for a conversation on the
nuts and bolts of the process.
Palmer, a 22-year vet-
eran of the Foreign Service,
currently serving as political
counselor at Embassy Bel-
grade, has just published his
first book, a thriller titled
The
American Mission
(Putnam
Adult, 2014).
Answering questions
fromAFSA Communications
Director Kristen Fernekes, as
well as the audience, Palmer
expounded on inspiration,
the publishing process and
how his experience as an FSO
informs his fiction.
For prospective writers
Palmer had words of advice.
“Just do it. Write. Don’t be too
goal-oriented. Write because
it’s fun,” he says. Palmer notes
that it took 10 years to com-
plete his first book and along
the way he wrote “a lot of
awful stu‹” which didn’t make
it into the final manuscript.
“You need to be confidant
enough that you can recog-
nize what’s awful,” he says.
His second book, which
will be published and has a
working title of
Secrets of
State
, took only 11 months
to complete. He has recently
signed a contract to write two
additional books.
He urged would-be authors
to persevere and not get
discouraged. “Fortitude,” he
says, “is an essential part of
this process.”
A recording of the
complete conversation can
be found at
video.
n
FSO Matthew Palmer and AFSA Communications Director Kristin Fernekes.
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