Operation: Rewrite | An Interview with Jerry Jenkins

The Last Operative (July 2010, Tyndale)

Jerry Jenkins

The Last Operative | Jerry Jenkins

In the first-ever Life is Story interview, Josh Olds picked up the phone to talk with 21-time NYT Bestselling Novelist, Left Behind author, and Christian Writer’s Guild owner Jerry Jenkins. Talk about trial by fire! The reason for the interview was Jerry’s most recent book at the time, The Last Operative, which was an update of his first-ever standalone novel The Operative, published in 1987. Throughout the 30-minute-long interview, we discuss the book, his writing schedule, and advice to young writers.

Listen in.

Josh Olds: Why rewrite a novel that you’ve already written?

Our work should be better than the secular world's because we have a power source in the Holy Spirit. - Jerry JenkinsJerry Jenkins: When I first came out with the Operative, that would have been the late 1980s. I’d been writing books fifteen years by that time. I was at a writer’s conference and met Roy Carlisle, who was at Harper and Row…and I’d always had this secret dream to be published by Harper and Row. Finally, I pitched him the Operative, which is the story of an international spy, sort of a spy-thriller type story and he liked it and that became my first stand-alone novel.

I did an exclusive contract with Tyndale after Left Behind and one of the ideas they had was to resurrect the Operative and completely redo it, update it, bring it into the twenty-first century with computers, cell phones, and all the things that didn’t exist back in the late 80s. I had great fun just going in and thoroughly rewriting it, changing the ending, updating the technology. In essence, I rewrote it the way I would have with twenty more years writing experience.

The Story | The Last Operative

The Last Operative Jerry JenkinsJordan Kirkwood wants to go quietly into the sunset. His career as an NSA intelligence officer has taken a significant toll. His two adult children are little more than distant acquaintances. His wife has been patient and supportive, but he knows she has deserved better. That was part of the reason they were going to London. He wanted her to see Europe like a tourist. But that was before he was given intelligence information during the recent mission to Germany. The threat is grave—bigger than 9/11. And the risk is compounded by the fact that someone inside the NSA is involved. The most hidden place in Kirkwood’s past will have to be unmasked in order to meet the challenges of this mission.

The Author | Jerry Jenkins

Jerry Jenkins has been steeped in the craft of writing for more than 40 years. With 21 New York Times bestsellers (seven debuting at #1), 186 books, and over 70 million copies sold, he has become one of the most commercially successful writers of our time.

Jerry has seen unprecedented success in both fiction and nonfiction. His insatiable pursuit of great stories has led him to achievement as a biographer to icons such as Hank Aaron, Orel Hershiser, Walter Payton, Meadowlark Lemon, Nolan Ryan, Mike Singletary, B.J. Thomas, and many other men and women. The Hershiser and Ryan books reached the New York Times bestseller list, as did his most recent work, The Matheny Manifesto, with baseball’s most successful young manager Mike Matheny. Jerry also assisted Dr. Billy Graham with his memoirs, Just As I Am (also a New York Times bestseller), which he considers the privilege of a lifetime.

Jerry also owns Jenkins Entertainment, a filmmaking company run by his son Dallas, which produced Hometown Legend (named one of the Top 10 family films of 2002); Midnight Clear (named Best First Feature at the 2007 Cinequest Film Festival), and What If… (nominated for Best Family Picture of 2010).