RIP, Vince Flynn
posted at 9:36 am on June 20, 2013 by Guy Benson
The terrible news came yesterday:
Best-selling author Vince Flynn, who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series and sold more than 15 million books in the U.S. alone, died Wednesday in Minnesota after a more than two-year battle with prostate cancer, according to friends and his publisher. He was 47. Flynn was supporting himself by bartending when he self-published his first novel, “Term Limits,” in 1997 after getting more than 60 rejection letters. After it became a local best-seller, Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed him to a two-book deal — and “Term Limits” became a New York Times best-seller in paperback. The St. Paul-based author also sold millions of books in the international market and averaged about a book a year, most of them focused on Rapp, a CIA counterterrorism operative. His 14th novel, “The Last Man,” was published last year…Flynn died at a hospital in St. Paul, surrounded by about 35 relatives and friends who prayed the Rosary, said longtime family friend Kathy Schneeman. She said his deep Catholic faith was an important part of his character. “That’s what he would have liked. He talks about his faith just as much as he would talk about politics and current events with our group of friends,” Schneeman said…Flynn is survived by his wife, Lysa Flynn, and three children.
A remarkable American success story cut tragically short. On last night’s Hugh Hewitt Show, Mary Katharine and I interviewed Flynn’s fellow thriller novelist, Brad Thor, who offered an upbeat yet moving tribute to his departed friend. An excerpt:
GB: Brad, talk about your relationship with Vince. How did you get to know him? And how did you two interact as sort of friendly rivals?
BT: Well, Vince was fantastic. When I wrote my first book, Vince was the first blurb that I got. I mean, not only that, but when I was looking for my agent, I had been introduced to Vince through a friend in the publishing industry, and Vince said you know what? Why don’t you talk to my agent? I mean, people are so protective of their turf, and yet here’s a guy who said yeah, we’ll throw the doors wide open. You know, you’re starting out. I remember what it was like when I was starting, and if I can help you, let me do it. So I mean, just generous to a fault, this guy. But you never saw a frown on his face, always very, very happy, very funny guy. You know, the last time I can remember seeing him on TV is he was doing press for The Last Man, his last book. And I remember seeing him on Imus. And Imus said you look fantastic, and he says well, I’m not going through chemo, I’m going through radiation. You know, people expect you to look terrible, and he looked great. And he was so positive that he was going to beat this. And it’s just, it’s stunning to hear this.
MKH: Yeah, such a sad loss, and really, I’m learning a few things I didn’t know before. I had known his name and of his books, but learning about a pretty amazing way to start in the fiction writing business, which is just to say I’m going to give this a shot, and when I get rejected a bunch of times, I’m going to self-publish. That’s a pretty cool way to go about doing things, sort of an inspiring story of breaking into the business.
BT: And May Katharine, that’s before you had all the self-publishing people that you do now.
BT: I mean, this guy…
BT: Yes, it’s like the Grisham story of going from bookstore to bookstore to bookstore in his own hometown saying will you take this book? Will you stock it? But that’s the kind of guy he was. I mean, this is a true American success story, because he’d wanted to be a Marine, and he couldn’t do it because he got medically DQ’d, and so here’s this fantastic guy that says I’m going to go after my dream, and I’m going to get it, and he did. God bless him. If this is what was in the cards, and if this was God’s plan for Vince, how fortunate is he to have captured his dream and to have gone after it as opposed to being 47 years old in a job he hated saying boy, I wish I’d only tried to write a book? How much better are we, the people who love his writing, and the people he touched because of his successful career, that he went after his dream?
The full transcript is available here. RIP.