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Home » Character Interviews » Character Interview: Hal Schroeder from John Knoerle’s spy novel ‘The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy’

Character Interview: Hal Schroeder from John Knoerle’s spy novel ‘The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy’




We’re thrilled to have here today Hal Schroeder from John Knoerle’s new spy novel, The Proxy Assassin.  Hal is a 28 year old spy living in Cleveland, Ohio.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Hal.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Well, Mr. Knoerle made me out to be a bit of a doofus at times. Like it’s my fault I’m not always right. The spy biz is complicated! I had a perfectly reasonable explanation for why my nemesis, Soviet agent Leonid Vitinov, was stalking me. Turns out I was wrong. Sue me!

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Well, for one thing I’m not a drunk. And I’m not a glutton. I guess eating and drinking scenes are fun to write but Mr. Knoerle never mentions that I work out at the Y four days a week to keep in fighting trim!

What do you believe is your strongest trait?


Worse trait?

Stubbornness, which is the dark side of persistence.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Well, I live in 1948. So I would choose Dick Powell. Not young Dick Powell the male ingénue but the tough Dick Powell of “Murder My Sweet.” Cool cat.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I have one, an intrepid girl reporter name of Julia. But I’m not sure if she likes me for me, or because I happen to be a hot news item.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Nervous? I was born nervous. As I said to Frank Wisner, “I eat like Henry the Eighth but I worry like Anne Boleyn.”

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Frank Wisner, head of the CIA’s covert ops department. It’s a thankless task. The only time CIA brass get any public attention is when they screw up. I think Shakespeare had something to say about that. “The good men do is oft interred with their bones.”

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I feel good about the ending because it sets me off on a new adventure.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

More fawning praise would be nice.

Thank you for this interview, Hal.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I don’t think so. I’m not great at math but my so-called author titled this “The American Spy Trilogy.” And “Proxy Assassin” is Book Three!

John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.

Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.

John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.

Visit his website at

October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets invited to Washington D.C. by Frank Wisner, who heads the CIA’s new covert ops division. Hal is whisked off to Wisner’s Maryland shore retreat and introduced to a brace of Romanian royals, including the scarily beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea.

Then Frank Wisner pops the question. Would Hal consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas?

“I had already survived two previous suicide missions and a third did not appeal. But I told Frank Wisner I would need a few days to think it over. I had some sightseeing to do.”

As it turns out Hal Schroeder gets to do a lot more sightseeing than he bargained for.  A journey that brings the American Spy Trilogy to a surprising, and emotional, conclusion.



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