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Human Interest Feature

Espionage and Endangerment: BABCPHL Member William (Bill) Wheatley Publishes First Novel

By Emma Silverstone, BABCPHL Coordinator and Senior at Temple University

Bill’s relationship with the BABCPHL dates back to 1998, when the company he was partnered with was expanding overseas. The company opened an office in London, creating Bill’s connection to the UK. In the late 1990s, Bill was concurrently working with the CIA along with British intelligence. Bill visited the London office and while he was there, he met with the MI5, an intelligence agency.  Later, when he left the company, Bill formed Wheatley UK Limited. In his new novel, The Man Who Was Never There, Bill tells the story of Arthur Cornwallis Harris III, a young man who joins the Navy and encounters great danger and adventure. Influenced by much of Bill’s personal experience, the character goes through the twists and turns of an exciting action packed life.

When Bill was a child, he read books that told stories of spies and naval officers. It was then that he decided he wanted to move in similar circles. He took classes to learn how to analyze aerial photos. That knowledge was particularly useful when Bill was sent to Guantanamo in his freshman year of college, where he did analysis for the Navy. He also had the chance to fly in a Navy jet to help with surveillance in Cambodia, even though there was no official record of him ever being there.

Bill currently works as an architect, but he wasn’t always in that line of work. He was inspired by his father, who was an engineer. Bill received a scholarship to the renowned Julliard School to focus on composition, but ultimately decided to study architecture at Rice University. Bill chose architecture as a way to combine engineering, which his parents wanted him to pursue, and art, which was his real passion.

Bill spent some time working for the Navy, and after his unit was downsized, he began a career as an architect. Bill requested the Navy send him to work under the CIA umbrella to continue the work that he had been doing during his time in the Navy.

Although the novel was recently published, Bill explained the writing process began 20 years ago while he was working on a project that uncovered crime and espionage. The information he discovered inspired him to write a total of approximately 500,000 words. Bill wrote enough to create at least five sequels, and he mapped out a series of seven books. Before seeking a publisher he had to send his manuscript to the government for permission to expose the details, since he was dealing with sensitive information. The Government told him he needed to change certain things, which led to a re-write of the entire novel. The main character was based on Bill’s experience, with some added details to make him “a little bit more of a hero.”

During the interview, Bill explains, “the BABCPHL has given me wonderful networking opportunities with companies that do work all over the world.” Attending events and meeting new people has helped Bill gain connections that lead to new work.

Bill is currently writing the sequel to his first novel, which is more fiction than it is influenced by his own life, dissimilar to the first book. However, Bill’s ties to the UK have some influence on the sequel. He says, “[the BABCPHL] has broadened my world tremendously.”

William Wheatley’s novel, The Man Who Was Never There, is published by W & B Publishers (Argus Books) and is available for purchase from the publisher or from Amazon.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
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  • Cigna
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  • HSBC
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton
  • TD Bank
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