There is no question about it. Vince Flynn was inspiring. His books were pretty good too — usually led by the stalwart and indomitable Mitch Rapp. But take a moment to look behind the scenes and see Vince’s life.
Stuck in an administrative job at Kraft foods, Vince looked around and knew he didn’t want that to be his whole story. So he enlisted in the Marines to become an aviator and put some excitement into his life. But he was disqualified for medical reasons, and that was a bust. He could have come to the conclusion that someone up there didn’t like him. But he didn’t.
Vince suffered from dyslexia, making it hard for him to read. So he just decided to read more. And he wrote something each day as therapy. He read Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Ernest Hemmingway, John Irving and others. His rambling writings began to take shape.
Then came the part of his story I dearly love. Vince was working as a bartender in St. Paul, Minnesota, when he finished his first book. It was called Term Limits. And he had no publisher. So he just self-published it in 1997. Every not-yet-published novel writer in the world can relate to what he was going through.
Yet he didn’t quit. When readers decided they liked his book, the publishing world came around. Vince finally landed a publisher. Pocket Books put out a hardcover edition. When they followed that with a mass market paperback edition in 1999, Term Limits spent several weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Vince Flynn was on his way, and never looked back.
People often forget that every great writer started out very much like every other struggling writer.
For the most part, the ones who succeed just keep getting better by reading, writing and learning how to get other people to recognize the quality of their work. That is how they became the master craftsman. Or craftswoman as case may be.