Goodbye to an Old Friend and Collaborator: Tom Clancy, May He Rest In Peace!!!
By now, most of you have heard about the untimely death of Tom Clancy, my old friend and collaborator of over thirty novels and non-fiction books.
Many things can be said about him.
But probably the most important image that I would want to convey about him is that he was a great friend, a phenomenal story-teller and one very funny guy.
Unbeknownst to most of his reading public is the fact that he was an extremely funny, comfortable down-to-earth man who loved to joke around all the time.
When I wanted to act more impetuously on some course of action, he would always remind me of the old bull and young bull. If the young bull runs into the herd, he will only get a few heiferettes. Whereas, if we wait, like the old bull, we will round up the whole herd of female cows.
He was a simple man in demeanor and composure. He hated pretense of any kind. He knew that he had a talent for writing stories; but he never considered himself a ‘literary genius’ awaiting some NY Times Book Review pronouncements.
He began as an insurance salesman on the Chesapeake Bay and wrote The Hunt For Red October as a sideline. In the beginning, no one took him seriously except the Naval Institute Press who published his first novel. When I was introduced to that novel during the Reagan era, I thought that whoever wrote it must have been a submarine commander and Soviet intelligence expert.
Boy, was I wrong!
I first met him because he had wanted to meet a ‘hostage negotiator’. In that first introduction, I saw a man who had no Top Secret Clearance and had never been to the Soviet Union. Yet he knew a lot more than he should have known considering he had never been in the USG. I needed to know how did he know so much about Soviet subs and more importantly the Soviet mentality??? When I asked him, he simply replied, “I asked my insurance clients, who had been submarine commanders about their experiences.”
Needless to say, I was very much impressed.
Remember folks, this was the time before Google/Wikipedia or any other digital information. (BGW).
I remember the time when Tom went out to Hollywood with me to convince one of the ‘suits’ –now a major CEO—to develop a pilot TV show called, "The White House". The ‘suit’ replied in this automaton voice that this subject would never interest the American public.
Tom replied very courteously: “I may not be the greatest writer in America; but I certainly have a very strong knack for knowing what my audience wants.” Needless to say the ‘suit’ passed on it, and the show subsequently appeared in another guise as ‘West Wing’ by some other author.
There are many tales and personal reflections I can share with you but I would like to mention several names of professionals who had helped Tom and me on our road to a very successful partnership.
I am certain that Tom would have like to thank our writers and collaborators, Jeff Rovin, Larry Seigriff, Steve Perry and the man who is no longer with us- Marty Greenberg who made the Net Force series such a grand success.
I know that Tom would have been pleased that St Martin’s Press will publish his next Op Center novel in May called, Out of The Ashes about the present war in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He and I were always concerned about the dangerous plight of the Christians in the Middle East and what would happen to them if they had been caught in the crossfire of Shi’ite –Sunni wars. Tom was always prescient with his strategic foresights.
So long partner!
Tell the people up there some of your great stories.
I am sure you will make them laugh…. and …