Ex-spy decides to write suspense novels

The sexy female spy has a well-worn place in popular culture. Angelina Jolie, donning heavy black eyeliner and a slim trench coat, in “Salt.” Halle Berry in “Die Another Day,” seductively climbing out of the surf in an orange bikini.

Who better to roll her eyes at it all than Valerie Plame Wilson, the real-life glamorous former C.I.A. operative?

“They always tend to be cardboard characters, with a heavy reliance on physicality,” Ms. Wilson said, calling from her home in Santa Fe, N.M. “Of course the job has a lot of glamour. But it really is about being smarter than your average bear. Your mind is your best weapon. It’s great when you’re a good shot with an AK-47, but it’s about being clever.”

Fed up with those popular images of the female secret agent, Ms. Wilson decided to draft her own. Eight years after her cover was blown by the political columnist Robert Novak, she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group USA to write a series of international suspense novels, with a fictional operative, Vanessa Pearson, at the center. Ms. Wilson will write them with Sarah Lovett, a best-selling author of mysteries, who also lives in Santa Fe.



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