Hillary Clinton is teaming up with the award-winning thriller author Louise Penny to write an “international political thriller” in which a secretary of state joins the administration of “a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage”.
Axios reported on Tuesday morning that Clinton and Penny, who are friends, had signed a deal with Simon & Schuster and St Martin’s Press to publish State of Terror in October. It will see a female “novice secretary of state” begin working for the president, who was once her rival. Terrorist attacks then throw “the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy”, said Axios.
In a statement, Clinton described writing with Penny as “a dream come true”.
“I’ve relished every one of her books and characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears,” she said.
Clinton is not the first thriller writer in her family: her husband, former president Bill Clinton, has written two thrillers with powerhouse novelist James Patterson, one following a president forced to go off grid when he discovers a traitor in his cabinet, and one about a former president whose daughter is kidnapped.
Penny is a Canadian novelist best known for her Quebec-set novels about chief inspector Armand Gamache. She has been friends with Hillary Clinton since 2016; at an event last autumn for the bookshop Politics and Prose, Clinton said she fell in love with Penny’s debut Still Life “because I fell in love with the characters. And that just continued, and since she has produced a book year by year, I felt like I was living with all of these characters.”
Penny said she would “never forget” that Clinton sent her a condolence letter after the death of her husband in September 2016, while she was also embroiled in the “political battle of the century”. “It was an act of selflessness, of generosity, of kindness I’ll never forget,” Penny said. “And that does inspire me every day to try to be as kind to others as you’ve been to me.”
Clinton signed a book deal reported to be worth $14m with Simon & Schuster for her memoir Hard Choices in 2014. She published another memoir, What Happened, with the publisher in 2017; the book sold 300,000 copies in the US in a week.