I was shocked this morning to learn of the death of Tom Clancy. Especially so soon after the loss of Vince Flynn, another giant of the political thriller genre. I can’t overstate the influence that both of these men are to me and to many of my friends who also write in the genre. Personally, I feel connected to both as we share very similar backgrounds. Tom was an insurance agent before giving it up to write his thrillers. Vince worked as a salesman for Kraft foods for a number of years before finally deciding to pursue his dream of writing a novel. Me, I’m an auto glass installer and small business owner with the same dream.
How does this connect us? For starters, we all have business backgrounds and none of us had notable careers in the military or any government agencies, simply a love for politics, history and the other elements that combine to make a globe-trotting adventure. When I first decided to write a political thriller with the goal of publishing it for readers, I was sure that it would be quite impossible without a background in intelligence or military tradecraft. I wasn’t familiar with either Tom’s or Vince’s backgrounds, but I felt sure that it had to have been in those arenas. I was shocked and inspired to learn that wasn’t the case and that in fact both men were very similar to me. Tom and Vince have produced books that are considered to be the most realistic political thrillers on the market and have left a permanent mark on the genre. I’ve been told that my own contribution to the genre stacks up as well and I couldn’t be happier about that.
While I haven’t reached their level yet, I’m hopeful for the future and I have two great examples to follow. Losing both in one year is sad and shocking. Tonight, I’ll be raising a glass to friends I’ve never met, but friends none the less.
This is a photo of my favorite writing spot. From the image, you can see why I chose it and why I like it. Both the works of the late Vince Flynn and now the late Tom Clancy are visible…instant inspiration.