A CHESTER author’s fascinating memoir of espionage, inner Government dealings and an unlikely romance with a terrorist is to be made into a Hollywood movie featuring Angelina Jolie and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
John Coventry’s debut book I Was, I Am, I Will Be, published by BenBella Books, has been an international smash hit, so much so that he sold the film rights to Paramount Pictures.
The book details John’s time as a spy against terrorists connected to Ireland and France, before an improbable romance with a well-known member of the Action Directe terrorist group in France, who he later discovers is also linked to the notorious Baader Meinhoff gang.
John said: “It’s a true life memoir. I wrote it and to my amazement the publishers in the US took it on.
“It’s a very frank account and I don’t hold anything back.
“I was brought up fairly well and I did a pretty stupid thing in trying to take money from the Government.
“From that, I worked with Customs and Excise and worked to tackle drugs smugglers who were actually a lot more than that.
“This was a story I thought I would never tell. Many of the events happened so long ago, and many of the memories I wanted to keep buried forever.
“I tried and it was important for me to let the readers know the honest truth, I was not a good person or led a good life, in fact I have made some shocking mistakes and hurt a lot of people.”
John said he had help from Canadian writer Patricia Faber in the production of the book, as well as a number of celebrities.
“I was living for a while in Los Angeles and was very friendly with an actor called Vincent Schiavelli, who starred in Ghost. He knew about my story and told me that to get over my past, I needed to go somewhere peaceful and write it all down, thus the memoir was started.
“I had huge help from the Stallones, both Jackie and her son Sly, (they and Patricia) guided me through the two years of writing this.”
John added he was proud of his Cestrian roots. He said: “I was brought up here in Chester, which despite now spending most of my time in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles, I consider Chester my home town and the place I love to be and will always remain.
“I live on my own here with my late mother’s 25-year-old Persian cat, Bobby, who has travelled everywhere with me. Chester and its people have always been good to me and one day soon I intend to repay it.”
John is now in the process of writing the concluding part to his two-part memoir, which takes the reader right up to the present day.
Filming on the thriller begins later this year, with the film due out in 2013.
I Was, I Am, I Will Be is available to buy as a hardcover or as a digital download from Amazon and Apple.