It is with great pleasure that I welcome my friend Gayle Lynds as she tells us about her life with the late Dennis Lynds. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to know him. He was a character–in the truest sense of the word—and an iconic writer. Thank you. Gayle, for sharing with us.
Gayle and Dennis Lynds
It’s Good Fortune To Marry a Writer
Who knew falling in love with an author could lead to such adventure — in fact, to bigamy. I had a lot of fun being married to mystery novelist Dennis Lynds, who died in 2005 after we’d been together more than twenty good years. He was 81 and still young. Iconoclastic, witty, and generous, he’s credited with bringing the detective novel into the modern age.
In the process, he enriched the world with some 60 books and 200 short stories.
Here’s where my bigamy comes in: Den wrote under a dozen pseudonyms, many of them his own. For instance, I was married to Mark Sadler, John Crowe, and William Arden. He also wrote as the Shadow, Mike Shayne, and Nick Carter, to name a few more.
When we met, I was at the beginning of my career, publishing literary short stories. He was an award-winning author a couple of well-preserved decades older than me.
“You should write mystery novels,” he advised me.
“My brain doesn’t work that way,” I advised him. “I want to write thrillers.”
“You can do a lot with mysteries,” he insisted. He discussed each alias’s social themes, first person versus third person, setting choices, and favorite characters.
“Yes, but I figure I can do a lot with thrillers, too,” I insisted back.
He was not impressed, but he humored me. Thus began our life together, with the push-pull of two authors working in similar fields. The marriage was smooth sailing. The only times we disagreed (well, figure passionately disagreed) was over our books. It was incredibly fun, and an opportunity for growth for me, and an opportunity for him to discover he wasn’t the only workaholic. And yes, he grew, too. It’s inevitable with a fine writer.
Of all his novels, my favorites are those in the Dan Fortune series, written as Michael Collins. Dan is iconic, the much beloved main character of one of America’s longest-running detective series.
I particularly enjoy how evocative the stories are of the eras in which they were written. For instance, in Act of Fear, the first Dan Fortune mystery, New York City is alive on the pages.
Back in the 1970s, Chelsea was colorful, with characters straight out of a Damon Runyon tale. It’s here that Dan Fortune grew up. His best friend was Andy Pappas. They were poor kids, and Dan and Andy broke into ships together, stealing cargo. Then Dan lost his arm in a failed robbery, and he decided it was time to put out his shingle: Dan Fortune, Private Detective. But Andy was good at crime. Taking over the docks, he became boss of bosses, a vicious racketeer. Still, he’d let Dan be familiar, call him by his first name, even give him crap – until now….
What a story it is. In fact, Act of Fear, won the Edgar. Our family is proud to finally be able to republish all of the Dan Fortunes, for the first time in eBooks and in trade paperback. I hope you’ll consider trying just one.
For links and more information, please visit www.DennisLynds.com
New York Times bestseller Gayle Lynds is the award-winning author of 10 international spy novels, including The Assassins, The Book of Spies, and The Last Spymaster. Her books have won numerous awards. Library Journal hails her as “the reigning queen of espionage fiction.” Associated Press calls her “a master of the Modern Cold War spy thriller.” Her novel, Masquerade, was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the top 10 spy novels of all time. With Robert Ludlum, she created the Covert-One series. A member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, she is co-founder (with David Morrell) of International Thriller Writers. Please visit her at www.GayleLynds.com and read her blog posts at www.RogueWomenWriters.com