Kisses From Nimbus: From SAS to MI6: An Autobiography


At first I just wanted to leave a few details of my life for my children and grandchildren, then someone came up with the suggestion that I should write a book. Now, I have been called many things during my long and often less than illustrious career with Her Britannic Majesty’s Government, but never an author. Nevertheless, I decided to get started.

I was introduced to a ghost writer but after only a couple of sessions it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to like what was being produced so we parted company. I then recalled the profound words of my dear departed father. ‘If tha wants owt doin, do it tha Sen’.

A new Poundland shop had just opened in Oswaldtwistle, a village not far from Accrington, so I decided to pay it a visit. I purchased a packet of twenty pens for a pound – yes that’s right – a pound! They used to cost more than that for one, for goodness sake! Sorry, I digress. But it just doesn’t seem to be possible that anyone can manufacture twenty pens, package them, ship them half way around the world and make a profit for only five pence each. I don’t know how many US cents that is, but it can’t be many. Where was I? Oh yes. Constructing an autobiography.

I simply sat down with my packet of pens and five note books (I am now fighting the urge to prattle on about how much the note books cost and where I got them from), and started to scribble. I quickly learned the importance of double-line spacing and only writing on alternate sheets. The amount of amendments and insertions rapidly made the pages indecipherable.

But slowly, memories turned into written words and the words became a story, which then became Kisses From Nimbus.

I spent most of my time writing, on my own, in my small villa in the mountains of Spain. I transposed the manuscript on to my iPad and sent a few hundred words at a time as an email to my wife Carol. She would then correct the grammar and the appawling spelling (see what I mean?) and knock it in to some sort of shape acceptable to a literary agent or publisher.

I was determined not to create another military history or an expose of the British Secret Intelligence Service, concentrating instead on the more personal side of my career. It wasn’t long after I started to write that I was contacted by the Government’s legal department and warned that I should not write ANYTHING, be it autobiographical or even fiction. And that if I did then I was likely to be indicted and possibly prosecuted under the Official Secret Act. The view of my lawyers is that my human rights take precedence over any other law, and I therefore decided to proceed towards publication.

I have been careful not to identify any individuals or give details of any on-going operations which could endanger the lives of agents or their families and aimed to build a vagueness into the details of any operations that I have mentioned. I've had a few criticisms regarding the "Literary correctness" of my book. I know there are far too many comma's and it's somewhat disjointed but It's real, raw and from the heart. I wrote every word myself, unlike other SAS Veterans who have invariably used half-baked journalists who have never been exposed to anything more dangerous than a paperclip. Therefore I'm rather proud of my work be it a little rough around the edges.

I do hope you enjoy the read, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Kindest Regards,

Red Riley


1 comment

Robert Mather

Robert Mather

Looking forward to reading my copy. :)

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