Q&A: Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn
There are a lot of wonderful writers living in our state. As the Director of the NH Center for the Book I get the opportunity to talk to many of them. This interview series of Q&As with New Hampshire authors here on Book Notes lets me share that experience a bit with my blog readers. This month I visited with Kevin Flynn who represents the NH Writers' Project on the NH Center for the Book's Advisory Board.

If someone hasn't read your work yet, where should they start?

I’d recommend they pick up Our Little Secret which I wrote with my partner in print and in life, Rebecca Lavoie. Not everyone is familiar with the true crime genre, and many have a preconceived notion of what it is. I think Our Little Secret makes a case that true crime can be riveting, well-written, and three dimensional. In this story, nobody wears a black hat or a white hat; there are just shades of gray. If you like nonfiction, then this would be a good book to start with.

When did you first think of yourself as a writer?

I spent almost 20 years as a broadcast journalist in NH, so I always identified myself as a reporter. After I left television and started asking people for interviews for my first book, I felt reticent. Rebecca asked why and I said, “I’ve always said ‘I’m a reporter’ and people knew I was working for an established outlet. I’m on my own. I can’t say that anymore.” She replied, “You’re not a reporter. You say, ‘I am a writer.’” I had an agent. I had a book deal. I had an advance. That’s when I said, “Yeah, I’m a writer.”

How did you end up living in NH?

I moved here from Western Massachusetts to attend Notre Dame College in Manchester. When I graduated I got a job working eight hours a week at WZID radio. Foot + door = residency.

Where do you like to write?

I have a room that’s a home office/library where I feel “literary.”

I’ll get a table at a local bookstore if I need work outside of the house, but I don’t want to be that jerk who takes up a table the whole day. I’m not like the hipsters typing deep thoughts in their blogs. A publishing deadline is far more inspirational than pretending to be Hemingway in a Spanish cafĂ©.

How important is place in your writing?

It depends on the story. In Wicked Intentions and Our Little Secret, the idea of bucolic small-town New Hampshire is a key theme. It sets a stark contrast to a violent reality. Other works, like Legally Dead or Notes on a Killing, are more character-driven so setting and place are not as predominate.

What do you do when you aren't writing?

When they don’t stink, I watch the Red Sox. When they do stink, I drink heavily. Mostly, I laugh and laugh about everything with my wife Rebecca. For people who write about murder and mayhem, we’re the most comedic couple you’ll ever meet.

What’s the best piece of advice (writing or otherwise) you were ever given?

Whenever my agent, Sharlene Martin, gets on my butt, she says, “If writing were easy, everybody would do it.” Also, my Dad said, “If you’re going to wear a necktie, look like you’ve worn one all your life.”

What books do you love and what about them speaks to you?

I love everything by John Steinbeck. He infuses every story with humanity and usually the last sentence of the book is the thing that stays with you. I write about real people, but I strive to bring out their humanity too.

What are you working on now?

My next book, out in October 2015, is a solo project; my first foray into the world of historical narrative nonfiction.

American Sweepstakes is the untold story about how New Hampshire bucked the federal ban and started a lottery in 1964, paving the way for the “American daydream.” The Feds, the press, the mob, and the church were all against it. People were actually arrested for possessing New Hampshire Sweepstakes tickets.

What people forget is that first lottery wasn’t a scratch ticket – it was a horse race!


What do you want to share that I neglected to ask about?

People always ask what it’s like writing with your wife. We say it’s just like moving a couch for six months. But really, the only thing we ever fight about is how to start the book. It’s the only argument in our marriage I ever win.

You can learn more about Kevin's work (and Rebecca's) at www.authorkevinflynn.com

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