Name: Eric Burkhart
Where are you from? San Antonio, Texas
A little about yourself, i.e. your education, family, life, etc.
I come from a military family and was raised in Europe; my mother is a French national and French was my first language. After attending college in Texas, I accepted a job in Africa working in townships. I returned to the United States to complete my Masters, and accepted a job with Federal Law Enforcement. I spent a year working on the Texas/Mexico border beginning the process of applying for the CIA. I have an older brother and an older sister.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
After medically retiring from the CIA in 2010, I focused on improving my health and completing my book. In 2015, My book was published. I’m hoping to return to work soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I decided to write my book as a form of therapy following my medical retirement.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I consider myself more of a storyteller than a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My book is a collection of true stories from my career in both Federal Law Enforcement and the CIA.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I wouldn’t say that I subscribe to any particular style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The word “Mukhabarat” means “Intelligence Officer” or “Secret Police”; I heard the word frequently whenever I worked in Arab countries and thought it was an appropriate title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
It is important that I convey the truth regarding the intelligence community. The entertainment industry has perpetuated an image of the CIA that is not based in reality. CIA officers live in difficult environments and get little in the way of positive re-enforcement.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The entire book is accurate.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The stories in my book are reflections of actual events and real people.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I love classical literature, especially French writers, including Jean Genet and Honore De Balzac. I also enjoy Isak Dinesen, Anais Nin, and Nadine Gordimer.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I am a great fan of South African writer Andre Brink, but I don’t see writing as a career option and I would never compare my effort to any other writer.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Rift- A New Africa Breaks Free, by Alex Perry
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I really enjoy Andre Brink and Stephen Taylor.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I currently focused on increasing the exposure of my book.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My Faith is an important part of my life.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t anticipate writing another book.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I were to repeat the process, I would have focused on finding a good publisher as opposed to attempting to self-publish my book.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A colleague suggested that my work experiences would make an interesting book.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m not working on a writing project at the moment.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I don’t consider myself a writer, and my book is the only project. I consider writing to be challenging in general.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite writer is Jean Genet. I appreciate the stark realism of his writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have visited a number of cities to promote my book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The company “Booklocker”.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult part of writing the book was reliving some events that were particularly painful.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that writing and publishing is a very complicated and challenging process.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you are interested in writing a commercial success, then it is imperative to have a publisher on board.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My book is a reflection of my experiences as a CIA Officer working overseas in a time of war. The characters are real and the events are the retelling of actual events. I wrote my book to bring accuracy to the subject of espionage in the 21st century.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I recall reading elementary educational books as a child in France. The first book I read which made an impact (in English) was Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I get very emotional regarding the plight of unwanted and abused animals.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would have enjoyed meeting the Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“Second Star To The Right, And Straight On ‘Til Morning”, a quote from J.M. Barrie
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I really enjoy traveling and reading.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much television; I really enjoy foreign films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
I am a vegetarian, my favorite color is blue, and I really enjoy country music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have enjoyed being a teacher.