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John Kerry is penning a memoir

John F. Kerry spoke about climate change at MIT earlier this month.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

WASHINGTON — Now that he’s out of public service for the first time in four decades, former Secretary of State John Kerry plans to write his first memoir.

Kerry plans to sign with a publisher after an auction in February and release the book sometime in 2018, according to a source close to Kerry. There’s already a lot of publisher interest, this person said. He’s being represented by Washington super-lawyer Bob Barnett, who has helped scores of high-profile politicos secure high-figure book deals, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove.

It’s the latest glimmer of how Kerry, who has spent most of his life in public service, plans to do next. The Globe has previously reported that the former Massachusetts senator plans to return to Boston and seek work in the private sector, among other pursuits, though he has not yet detailed what sort of job that might be.

Kerry, who has been out of a job for less than two weeks, hasn’t started writing yet. His last book, “This Moment on Earth,” which he wrote with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, focused on the environment. It was published in 2007. He has never written a memoir before.

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“A prodigious reader, until now he’s never felt it was the right time to write a book about his own life,” said the source close to Kerry. The Massachusetts Democrat appears to be taking a comprehensive approach to the planned memoir: he intends to write about his childhood; his service in the Vietnam War and his subsequent protests against it; his three decades in the Senate; his failed 2004 bid for president; and, of course, a deep behind-the-scenes look at his four years as Secretary of State.

“He’s not interested in writing a laundry list of accomplishments or travelogue,” the source said. “It will be a very personal recollection taking readers inside that life and bringing them inside the room to see how decisions are made at the intersection of so much history and to get to know some of the compelling characters he’s known so well.”

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Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.