Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, at least that’s what Princetown resident Norman L. Miller has found.
The author, veteran and former United States Olympic bobsled coach has let his life inspire his books. Even though both of his novels sound like they’re straight out of a Hollywood spy thriller, Miller said most of what happens to the characters was inspired by his own experiences.
“My first book is almost exactly what happened to me, except for the end,” Miller said.
Miller has been involved in bobsledding since the 1970s when his Lake Placid family asked them to join a team. He later became a coach and was a coach during the 1988 Olympic bobsled team.
According to Miller, in 1989, he went to the Soviet Union and was tasked with working out an agreement with the country’s bobsled team to celebrate the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. While he was there working on the agreement, Miller said he naively stepped into a heated political environment. It led to a reputed KGB kidnapping attempt and a dramatic escape to Finland.
When he returned to Schenectady, where he was living at the time, Miller said he started to develop a story idea based around his experiences. However, for a while, the story stayed in his mind. It was with the encouragement of family and friends that he seriously set about writing it all down.
“Not having confidence in English, I took four college courses to get up to speed. Then I began writing,” Miller said.
“IceSpy,” which came out in 1995 was the result. It follows the story of Shawn Murphy, a former CIA operative and bobsled coach. He travels to the Soviet Union and meets a coach who has access to metallurgy technology related to the reduction of friction between metal and ice. It has the potential to give any bobsled team an edge.
The coach wants to defect to the United States and the story follows the journey out of the country, with a dramatic escape scene.
His latest novel, “Inside the Cold War,” builds off of the storyline.
“It’s a sequel but it could be standalone. I wrote it [that way] because a lot of people wouldn’t know about the first one,” Miller said.
The coach defects to the United States and is given a new identity. However, he can’t remember the formula for the sled composite, which the U.S. is hoping will provide superior naval power. The coach hid documents containing the formula in the Soviet Union and the story is centered around the dramatic journey retrieving them. Shawn Murphy is tasked with the retrieval, which leads to many action-packed scenes.
Both his novels are available on Amazon. He has plans to release another version of “IceSpy” in the near future. For more info visit insidethecoldwar.us.