A Night with Brad Meltzer

On the night of January 13, 2011 my wife and I attended the Inner Circle Tour with Brad Meltzer at Politics and Prose book store in Northwest Washington D.C.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a great evening while listening to Brad talk about his new book The Inner Circle, and the events that had inspired him to write it. Now please let me start from the beginning. Some of you may ask how did I end up at a book signing event in Washington D.C. Well the answer is quite simple in fact. I had heard Brad that morning on Elliot in the Morning on D.C. 101 talking about his new book that was released just a few days earlier. I must say that on the radio Brad is quite the funny story teller and had left an impression on me. When listening to him it dawned on me that this was not the first time I had heard him on Elliot in the Morning. Previously a little earlier this past summer he was on the radio talking about his newest book at the time Hero's for My Son.

I realized that Brad really likes promoting his books in the D.C. area, and of course now it makes sense to me because he one; used to live here, and two; most of his novels revolve around Washington D.C. Now let me tell you a few facts about Brad that I learned while listening to him speak: He loves California Tortilla and was not able to single handedly keep one open near his home in Florida; He has recently watched all of the Rocky movies with his son, and now his son hates the Russians more than anybody; and finally he was invited to come to Washington D.C. as part of a panel, and was asked to think of ways to carry our terrorist attacks.

This piece of information he shared with us was needless to say, awesome! "Hey Brad this is the government please come to D.C. on the earliest flight and think of ways to blow us up." ...Well maybe the conversation didn't quite go like this, but I like to embellish stories sometimes to make them more interesting. This chance opportunity is actually what lead Brad the write his new novel The Inner Circle. George Washington had created a secret spying group made of civilians called The Culper Ring. He picked civilians to be a part of a secret weapon that existed just to serve the President of the United States. It was on Brad's trip that his question was answered with a question "How do you know that this group does not exist today?"

"I was hooked" according to Brad, the story for my next novel was born. It was through his research that he had learned a few interesting facts. One being that George Washington's secret name in The Culper Ring was 7-11. Yes you heard me correctly; our first president and greatest leader had the secret name 7-11. This was actually where the convenience store 7-11 got their name from... Just joking; as Brad pointed out, you mix a little bit of fiction with truth and you can hook people! The next fact he shared is probably the greatest secret tradition in the United States. In1989, during Ronald Reagan's last few minutes in the White House, he had scribbled a note... and, it was reported, a picture of a turkey. The note said,"Don't let the turkeys get you down." He then slipped the note into the Oval Office desk and left it for his successor, President George H.W. Bush. The greatest secret tradition had been born.

Brad had revealed that president George H.W. Bush one night sent him an e-mail with the letter he had left for president Clinton. Brad said he immediately started trying to decode this message with secret codes and patterns, and was looking for any message like "I hate you Bill!" To Brad's dismay he did not find such a message.

The rest of the evening went very well and Brad showed us some clips from his new television show Decoded on The History Channel. The out takes were funny because they consisted of Brad practicing stances and getting his foreheadpatted down when he started to sweat to much. He also invited a member of the shows team Scott Rolle to introduce himself and talk about the show a little.

The evening ended with a little Q/A and the best question of the night I though came from a little boy. This is what he asked:

"Who inspired you to write?" I loved the simplicity of the question, and this is what Brad said.

"My former teacher Mrs. Spicer. She had realize at my young age that I was a gifted writer, and even though I was not in the honor class she was wanted me to forget everything we did in the normal class, sit in the corner, and focus on the honor classes homework and assignments. One day, Brad explained, a number of years later I went back to my grade school to visit and say hi to Mrs. Spicer. She did not recognize me at first, but I reminded her of who I was and what I had accomplished and I wanted to thank her. It was at this moment she burst into tears and said, "I was going to retire because I didn't think anything I did made a difference or mattered." Mrs. Spicer taught her class for another twelve years. This past summer I went to her retirement party as a surprise, and brought with me my newest book Hero's for My Son. In my book I have left the last page blank for you to write in who inspires you. I cut out a picture of Mrs. Spicer and put it in the back of the book."

I wanted to thank Brad for the evening my wife and I had. We really enjoyed ourselves and had a great time listening to his stories and learning a little bit about his new book and TV series. I wanted to end with one last piece of advice from Brad.

How do you get people interested in reading what you have to say?

"Keep writing."

Thanks and till next time!


- Robby Silk