The fifth of seven children, Vince Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1966. He graduated from the St. Thomas Academy in 1984, and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988. After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist. In 1990 he left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. One week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, due to several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered growing up. While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book. This was a very unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.
Having been stymied by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the nine-to-five grind and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea he had for a book. After two years with United Properties he decided to take a big gamble. He quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become Term Limits . Like many struggling artists before him, he bartended at night and wrote during the day. Five years and more than sixty rejection letters later he took the unusual step of self-publishing his first novel. The book went to number one in the Twin Cities, and within a week had a new agent and two-book deal with Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.
Term Limits hit the New York Times bestseller list in paperback and started a trend for all of Flynn's novels. Since then, his books have become perennial bestsellers in both paperback and hardcover, and he has become known for his research and prescient warnings about the rise of Islamic Radical Fundamentalism and terrorism. Read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world, Flynn's novels are taken so seriously one high-ranking CIA official told his people, “I want you to read Flynn's books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror.”
October 2007 marked another milestone in Flynn’s career when his ninth political thriller, Protect and Defend, became a #1 New York Times bestseller. A few months later, CBS Films optioned the rights for Flynn’s Mitch Rapp character with the intention of creating a character-based, action-thriller movie franchise. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who previously launched the Harry Potter and Matrix films as head of production at Warner Bros., and Nick Wechsler (We Own the Night, Reservation Road) will produce the films.
Flynn lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children.
Works by Flynn include Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power , Executive Power , Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, and Extreme Measures.
Influences: Ernest Hemingway, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gore Vidal, and John Irving
"Kyle Mills is the author of Sphere of Influence, Burn Factor, Free Fall, Storming Heaven, Smoke Screen and Rising Phoenix.
In his own words....
I grew up in Oregon but have lived all over?D.C., Virginia, Maryland, London, Wyoming. My father was an FBI agent and I was a Bureau Kid, which is similar in many ways to being an Army Brat. You tend to spend your time with other FBI Kids and get transferred around a lot, though I faired better on that front than many others.
One positive aspect of this lifestyle is that you can't help but absorb an enormous amount about the FBI. Like most young boys, I was endlessly fascinated with talk of chasing criminals and, of course, pictured it in the most romantic terms possible. Who would have thought that all this esoteric knowledge would end up being so useful?
I came into writing from kind of a strange angle. When I graduated from college in the late eighties, I suppose I had the same dream as everyone else at that time?a corporate job, a nice car, and a house with lots of square footage.
It turns out that none of that really suited me. While I did go for the corporate job, I drove a beat up Jeep and lived in a tiny house in a so-so Baltimore neighborhood. Most of the money I made just kind of accumulated in my checking account and I found myself increasingly drawn to the unconventional, artistic people that lived around me. I was completely enamored with anyone who could create something from nothing because I felt like it was beyond me.
Enter rock climbing. I'd read an article on climbing when I was in college and thought it looked like an incredible thing to do. Someday, I told myself, I would give it a try. So one weekend in the early '90s, I packed up my car, drove to West Virginia and spent a weekend taking lessons. Unknown to me at the time, this would be the start of an obsession that still hangs with me today. I began dating a girl who liked to climb (I'm now married to her) and we decided we wanted to live somewhere with taller rocks and more open space.
Moving to Wyoming was the best decision we ever made. The place is full of the most amazing people. You might meet someone on a bike ride and find out they were in the Olympics, or climbed Everest, or just got back from two months trekking in Nepal. In a roundabout way, it was these people who made it possible for me to write a novel. They seemed to have no limitations. Everything was possible for them and I wanted to be that type of person too.
I was working for a little bank in Jackson Hole, spending my days making business loans and my afternoons and weekends climbing. For some reason, it finally occurred to me that I'd never actually tried to be creative. Maybe I could make something from nothing. Why not give it a shot?
My first bright idea was to learn to build furniture. That plan had some drawbacks, the most obvious of which being that I'm not very handy. It was my wife who suggested I write a novel. It seemed like a dumb idea, though, since I majored in finance and had spent my entire college career avoiding English courses like the plague. Having said that, I couldn't completely shake off the idea. Eventually, it nagged at me long enough that I felt compelled to put pen to paper. Eight months later, I finished Rising Phoenix and about a year after that I managed to get it published.
The success of Rising Phoenix and my subsequent books has allowed me to make my living as a writer, which isn't bad work if you can get it. Other than that, my life hasn't changed all that much. My wife and I still live in Wyoming, we still climb a fair amount, and I still drive that same beat up Jeep."