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Hillary Clinton’s 1st Novel Is A Collab With Canadian Mystery Writer Louise Penny

"State of Terror" will be out this fall.

Hillary Clinton is set to write her first novel, a thriller set in the world of the American politics — and she’s teaming up with a Canadian writer to do it.

Louise Penny couldn’t “say yes fast enough” when she was approached about the project, she said in a statement.

“What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high-stake crises explode,” the Quebec writer said.

The novel, State of Terror, is about a “novice” secretary of state working in the administration of a political rival when a series of terrorist attacks begin. The idea came from Clinton’s time working under Barack Obama.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is writing her first novel.
Drew Angerer / Staff
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is writing her first novel.

“Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State,” Penny said. “What was her worst nightmare? State of Terror is the answer.”

Penny, who lives in Knowlton, Que., is well-known for her series of mystery novels about Armand Gamache, the fictional chief inspector of Quebec’s provincial police, the Sûreté du Québec. She also used to host CBC’s Radio Noon in Montreal.

It sounds like the new book may also include Clinton’s thoughts about the Trump administration. Simon & Schuster describes the novel’s setting in “an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.”

The book will be released on Oct. 12. In a statement, Clinton said it was a “dream come true” to work with Penny.

Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny.
Ulf Andersen / Contributor
Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny.

The two have been friends for a long time. Penny has hosted Clinton and her husband Bill at her home in Quebec’s picturesque Eastern Townships. When Penny’s husband Michael Whitehead died, Clinton made an effort to get in touch — despite the fact that it was September of 2016, the final stretch of her presidential campaign.

Most of the Penny’s Gamache books take place in the fictional Eastern Townships area of Three Pines. The most recent one, though — All the Devils are Here, released last September — takes place in Paris.

The first in the series, Still Life, was released in 2005, and there have since been 15 others. But newcomers to Gamache’s adventures don’t necessarily have to read the books in order, according to Penny’s website: each book one is “self-standing,” although “there is a strong, and growing, character development arc throughout the books.”

Penny has won awards for her work, and in 2017 was appointed to the Order of Canada. Her website also includes a major sign of her success outside of Canada: a pronunciation guide for her books’ French-language words and phrases.

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