What's Your Story: Slaven Tomasi

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Background
Former Marine and current Respiratory Care Practitioner.

When did you start reading Mitch Rapp?
Started by finding a random book in a bin at an airport on my way to Afghanistan. The book was Extreme Measures and it sat in my bag for a few weeks until I needed something other than working out and sleep during my down time. I quickly read that book and then had to wait a horrible few weeks until my unit convoyed to a larger base from the small, middle of nowhere place we were at and was able to get some agonizing slow wi-fi and download all the current books in the series at the time. Did some research and read them first in publishing order, then again in chronological order.

Which books is your favorite/why?
Oh man. I can’t pick one. I’ll try and do my best and most my top 3, in no particular order. American Assassin, Consent To Kill, and Order To Kill.

Do you have a favorite character and why?
Is this a serious question? Ok Besides Mitch Rapp, I love and miss Stan Hurley.

If you could be any character in Vince's novels, who would it be and why?
Again, Mitch. The world needs more people like Mitch defending this great country. I did my best as a Marine. But in today’s crazy world, I wish I could have done more.

Is there anything else you would like to share relating to Mitch Rapp, Vince or Kyle?
I’ve had an amazing opportunity to meet Kyle, he is such a great guy and look forward to seeing him again if I get the opportunity.

What Would You Trade For A Mitch Rapp Book...Meatloaf and Baby Wipes?

Mr. Flynn,

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I have never written a “fan letter” before so please forgive me as I attempt to accurately describe my thoughts and feelings regarding your work.  In 2003, I found myself bored, hot, hungry and homesick, as I sat in the turret of my armored personnel carrier, situated in a hull defilade position as part of the Marine Corps’ Regimental Combat Team 5. We were located somewhere in Kuwait inside LAS (Living Support Area) 5 awaiting the order to cross the LOD and invade Iraq.

For many reasons, wartime boredom and anxiety is some of the worst there is. Some of the reasons are obvious and others aren’t so clear or easy to anticipate let alone cope with on a daily basis. It was due to lack of foresight on my part that I was trained and armed for everything combat had to offer except the absolute mind-numbing boredom that would ultimately dominate the days to come. This became apparent only a few hours into the flight bound for Kuwait that would end up spanning the better part of 24 hours.  Hindsight being 20/20, I would have armed myself with more than bullets and grenades. Although at the time I wasn’t a big reader, I certainly would have came equipped with a book or two.  That was not the case however. I went into combat armed only to protect my physical self, not my mental self.  I would soon learn the two are more dependent on each other than I knew.

Somewhere along the line I came into possession of one of your books.  By the end of the second page I was writing a letter home asking my father to mail me every Vince Flynn book he could find. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t receive any mail for another four months, but to my surprise I found a Marine who had one of your books. After a short bargain, I ended up with the book and it had only cost me one package of baby wipes and my meatloaf MRE.  Those two books took me and my imagination on the best adventure I have ever been on. I don’t know if it was because I, like Rapp, was fighting terrorists to protect America, or if it’s because I have always been interested in black-ops and night vision, but something made those books capture my imagination in a way I never experienced before.

Years had gone by after I completed my enlistment where I hadn’t picked up a book at all. Not until recently, when I became disabled and unable to work, did I pick up another book. With more down time than I knew what to do with, I decided to read all your books, in order this time. In the past four days I have read three books, Term Limits, Transfer Of Power and The Third Option. Each book is better than the last and I get more and more attached to Rapp with every story. It’s the strangest thing to have feelings of loyalty and compassion towards fictional characters, but you have written in such a way that I can’t help but feel that I actually know them.  I sometimes catch myself having thoughts that I believe to be my memories only to realize I am thinking about a particular part of one of your books, not something that actually occurred in my life. I’m no expert by any means, but tend to think that any author who can blend the lines between fiction and reality in a reader’s mind has something very special to offer. You sir have that in spades and I commend you for it and on the enormity of your success. I truly hope you continue the Mitch Rapp series for the foreseeable future and continue to expand on his ever impressive life.

Unfortunately, being unable to work right now has prevented me from being able to read Pursuit of Honor, but I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it. Perhaps when it comes out in paperback I will be in a better position to get it, unless of course I can find someone willing to trade me for a meatloaf MRE. I also just read about the next book coming out October, 2010 which I am very excited for also. Thank you again for your amazing books and ability to transport me into the story, you are truly gifted!

Very Respectfully,
Brett Fluri SGT, USMC

Vince sent SGT Fluri a signed copy of Pursuit of Honor.

A Gift For A Fan Recovering From Hurricane Sandy

I don't know if you will get the chance to read this, but I figured I would take a shot.

I am a teacher at Southern Regional Middle School in Manahawkin, NJ. Our sending districts have been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. We have many faculty and students that are displaced.

Our librarian, Johanna , was one hit particularly hard and she is a gigantic fan of yours.

She even jokes all the time about how much she is in love with your main character, Mitch.

She has been like an extended family member to my wife and our two sons since I have been a teacher here. If there was a way that I could somehow purchase one of your books and if you could sign it to her, I would greatly appreciate it.

I was just thinking of bringing just a little joy to her during this difficult time for Johanna and her family. She would probably kill me if she found out I was writing this because she doesn't even want others to know how much she has been through.

She is not the type of person to complain about anything, but she is the first person to help others at any moment.

Thank you very much for your time!

Sincerely,
Tom

Vince sent a signed edition and it was captured on video.

What's Your Story: Sheila Berklund

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Background
Mother of 4 (32, 33, 46 & 47) and Grandmother of 4 (14, 15, 16, 18). Married for almost 35 years. (Thank you Lord!) Retired from 18 years as an Educational Assistant and 6 years as a postal clerk.

When did you start reading Vince?
My youngest son, Adam, found out he had ADD in high school, so he wasn't much of a reader, unless he had too. The summer after his freshman year in college, he was living at home working his summer job at Reeds Sunnyside Marina in Balsam Lake, WI. I noticed a book in his room. I asked him what he was reading. It was one of Vince's books. He said he met him when they put in his dock at his lake place. It impressed me. When I got an email from Once Upon a Crime bookstore, (the BEST little bookstore in the twin cities!) that Vince was doing a book signing, I went. As I got up to him, I stuck out my hand and said that I wanted to shake the hand of the author who got my son reading in the summer. Then I said he put in your dock at the lake. Vince said, "Oh, Adam." I was stunned that he knew his name just like that. He signed the book with the message, "Thanks for taking such good care of us, Adam." Sure made this Mother feel good. That made me a fan for life.

Do you have a favorite book?
That's like asking which one of your children is your favorite. I like them all.

Who is your favorite character?
Mike Nash. A protégé of Mitch Rapp would have to be a great character.

Who do you envision when you read about Mitch Rapp?
I think of a person who is proud of his country and wants to do what's right.

If you could be any character in Vince's novels, who would it be and why?
His cleaning lady. :)

Is there anything else you would like to share relating to Vince and his novels?
Please keep Vince's books in the public eye so he won't be forgotten. We, his fans, miss him a lot. He was a fine young man.

The Quest For The Golden Book

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I have all of your books. I was reading Term Limits as we flew to Miami for a long weekend (to get out of the cold) and I was on chapter 30.

I left the book on the plane.

We searched for two days and couldn't find a replacement.

We were taking a cab back to our hotel and the cab driver said he knew of a place to get the book. After a $110.00 cab ride, we purchased the replacement for about $9.00.

It is now called the "golden book". I did finish it before we returned to Fort Wayne, IN.

You are in our prayers, please keep writing, we need more "Mitch Rapp" in our lives.

With our best,
Dale and Catherine

What's Your Story: Bob Mitchell

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Background
I am from Southern Illinois.  I was a three-sport letterman in high school, played college football and a season of semi-pro baseball.  I worked as a television anchor/reporter for about 12 years before joining the Army as a broadcast journalist.  I have been deployed to Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Central America. I have also been stationed in Germany and Turkey in addition to tours at several CONUS bases.  I will retire from the Army in November 2013.

When did you start reading Vince?
After getting stationed in California in 2011, my commander suggested reading Vince Flynn books.  After about 10 pages of Pursuit of Honor I was hooked and read all of the Mitch Rapp books within about a year.

Which one of Vince's books is your favorite and why?
I love them all, but Pursuit Of Honor was my first, which is not unlike my first girlfriend; I always remember both with great fondness.

Do you have a favorite character and why?
Mitch Rapp is my favorite character by far.  The way he gets the bad guys gets me fired up.

Who do you envision when you read of Mitch and why?
The kind of guy I admire.  He stands for decency and honor.  He is the kind of guy I would want as a close friend.  I also love the way he has no tolerance for Political

Correctness or politicians.    

If you could be a character in a Vince Flynn novel, what would you be?
Mitch Rapp without a doubt.  He is the kind of guy I would want to be if I had his job.    

Is there anything else you would like to share relating to Vince and his novels?
Please don't stop writing them.  I often re-read Vince's novels while waiting for the next one to come out.


Sharing Memories Of A Father And Mitch Rapp

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Dear Mr. Flynn,

Just wanted to tell you thank you for your books.

My Dad, Sam, always loved to read, but in his early 70’s he said he was going to only read articles and no more books - mostly because once he started a book he would sit and read until he finished the book and he was finding it difficult to sit for a long time.

February of 2010 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and was pretty sick.

After hearing an interview with you on Glenn Beck, I purchased a few of your books, gave one to Dad, and told him he might want to read it.

And then, every time I walked by his room he was reading your book. I was reading a different one and he would ask me, “How is our hero Mitch Rapp?”

We finished our books, exchanged with each other, and spent many hours last summer reading as America was threatened and saved in 500 pages, thanks to our hero Mitch Rapp.

Over the years Dad and I shared scores of books, but your books were our best, and our last.

Dad died in October, but some of my last best memories include reading your books together.

Thank you, and may God bless you,
Monesa

What's Your Story: Vince Papale

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Background
1976 was a time when Philadelphia fans were buried in 11 years of defeat, when Americans were battling the lingering effects of Watergate, the Vietnam War and a sweeping energy crisis. People needed a champion from their ranks, and a local school teacher answered their call. Vince Papale did the unthinkable and took on an insurmountable challenge…making the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 30-year old schoolteacher, who did not play football in  college, not only transformed himself into an NFL football play, but he was voted by his teammates captain of the special teams. He has since been selected by the fans as the best special teamer in the Eagles 75-year history. So incredible is his journey that Disney felt compelled to tell his story in the major-motion picture, “Invincible,” released in 2006.

Why did you start reading Vince?
I travel a lot for speaking engagements and I always have a book in hand; I am really into action novels. Maybe two or three years ago, at bookstore in an airport, I saw a book jacket for a political thriller, written by a guy named Vince that looked athletic in his photo. So, I picked it up. That is how my brain works. I guess that’s what happens when you take too many hits to the head.

Mitch Rapp jumped right out at me.

I often think about what I would have done, almost as if what if I had another life, rather than teaching and football. I had thought about entering the Marines Corps or the Air Force after graduating from St Joseph’s University. I have always been very interested in espionage, Black Ops, Delta and the Navy SEALs.

I meet a lot of those guys when I am speaking, and they make me think of Mitch Rapp, who is my favorite fictional character.

Plus, my daughter goes to Syracuse, and they have a tribute to the victims of the Lockerbie bombing.  I know in American Assassin Mitch’s girlfriend is portrayed as one of the victims.

All of these things combined, sometimes I can’t help but think Mitch Rapp is a real person.

Do you have a favorite book?
American Assassin.

I related to Mitch, coming out of college as a lacrosse star trying to make the CIA, just like I came out of college a track star and was trying to realize my dream of making the NFL.

Plus, Hurley reminded me of Dick Vermeil, who would break down guys down to decide who he was going to keep for the team and then he would build them back up. When the Eagles made the Super Bowl, a few years after he became coach, he had 12 guys left from the team he inherited and he called them the Dirty Dozen. When I read about Hurley it is Vermeil with a bit less sophistication, but that same drive.

Who do you envision when you read about Mitch Rapp?
I do see myself. We were two guys on a mission. Mitch was trying to make CIA with an advocate in Irene Kennedy and an apparent adversary that would become an advocate in Hurley.

When I tried out for the Eagles, I had advocates in my father and high-school football coach, George Corner, and there was Dick Vermeil, who I thought at first was an adversary,  but who, in reality, was my advocate that was trying to drive me to the next level.

I also see Mark Wahlberg when I read about Mitch Rapp. I was with him last week and I told him he should audition for the part for American Assassin.

If you could be a character in a Vince Flynn novel, who would you be?
Definitely Mitch Rapp. Although, in The Last Man, I was a little freaked. It seems like he has aged so quickly and he has hardened. I liked it though. He has seen a lot, maybe too much. You see that happen in real life.

What are you up to these days?
I was diagnosed with Stage I colon cancer around Memorial Day 2011. I had successful surgery, but March is National Colon Cancer month, and I will be attending conferences and participating in public service announcements.

I have a book out that I co-wrote with my wife Janet called, “Be Invincible... A Playbook For Reaching Your Full Potential”  aimed at helping readers reach their full potential. We all have things we have to overcome and decisions that were game changers. In a way, it is like “Chicken Soup For The Soul,” where there are stories of people that overcome incredible things. With each story, we provide an action plan for reaching your potential. Janet, who although she was portrayed as a bartender in the movie, was a world-class gymnast and is now a very successful realtor, entrepreneur, and she runs the Invincible show around here.

We will be publishing a “Born To Be Invincible” book targeted towards teens and young adults, with a similar structure as our previous book where we have role models and solutions, but geared towards topics ranging from bullying to nutrition.

We are in the creation stage of a new cable-weekly show called, “Born To Be Invincible.” Each week, I feature guests who have achieved the unthinkable and experienced what we call an “Invincible Moment.”

Plus, I am a tier 1 speaker and am presenting across the country, mostly to Fortune 500 audiences, but I really enjoy speaking at colleges and high schools as well.

I am also working on a PBS special, but I cannot give too many details on that.

Really, I am just trying to be a good dad and a husband. I have a teenage son, Vinny, who is a really good football player and wants to head to Stanford. He made an all-star team and came home with his jersey and it was my number, 83. I was getting all misty eyed so he busted my chops and he told me he chose the number because of Wes Welker.

I have a daughter, Gabriella, that is cheerleading at Syracuse and she wants to get into broadcasting.

Janet and I have been married for 19 years, and will celebrate our 20th anniversary in August.

I call my family, my “why.” They are the reason why I do things and how I do things. They are my #1 motivation and we like to think that together we are an Invincible Team!

Sharing Mitch Rapp Can Be Difficult...Even With Your Spouse

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My husband and I have recently become big fans of yours. My husband had recently retired and in some spare time took up reading. He kept telling me how much I would enjoy your books. I hadn't been much of a reader up to this point. Well let me tell you, I started with Transfer Of Power and I could not put it down.

I did absolutely nothing but read for 2 days!

I continued reading the books in order and so did my husband. He was ahead of me, but I am a faster reader. I caught up to him when he was reading Consent To Kill.

The book belonged to our son and had been read several times so it was a little ragged and worn. It was starting to split in half . I couldn't wait for my husband to finish the book so once he was finished the first "half", I cut the book in half! My husband continued reading the last half and I read the first half.

We started laughing. Of all the books out there, here we were reading the same novel!  

Sincerely,
Bob & Bonnie

What's Your Story: Nick Searcy

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Background
Nick currently portrays Chief Deputy United States Marshal Art Mullen on FX's Justified, which Vince featured in the April 2012 edition of What’s Vince Watching?  His film credits include Fried Green Tomatoes, Nell, The Fugitive, Cast Away, Head of State, Runaway Jury, The Ugly Truth and Moneyball.

What did you think when you saw Vince recommend Justified to his fans?
It was exciting.  It’s exciting when you’re a fan of someone who is also a fan of the show.

A number of fans have thanked Vince for turning them on to Justified.  Do you have any insights on Season 4 for them?
Not that I could say.  They call us in about two months before the season starts and we have a long conversation with the writers about our characters and where the show could go.  We may get around to exploring my character more this season.

When did you know Justified was going to be a success?
I knew it would be a good show, because there were a lot good people that were involved.  After we did the pilot though, I thought it was going to be a hit. It just had too many good elements.  Plus, any show that makes me the centerpiece will be a hit.

Why did you start reading Vince?
A friend turned me onto Vince about six years ago, and ever since then Amazon has me on speed dial and I get the books the day they come out and start reading.

What was the first of Vince’s books that you read?
Consent To Kill.

Do you have a favorite book or character?
American Assassin.  I thought it was great, going back and getting the history of the Mitch Rapp.  It really deepened the character. I really like every one of the books. The characters are well written, the plot is interesting and the endings are satisfying.

Who do you envision as Mitch Rapp when you read Vince’s novels?
I guess I always envision myself.  I think everyone tends to put themselves in the role of the protagonist.  Although, I don’t see myself doing all of that running. Because Vince’s picture is on all of his books, I also envision him as Rapp.

If you could be a character in a Vince Flynn novel, who would you be?
Stansfield.

Who do you think should play Mitch Rapp in the movie?
My friends and I have chewed on that quite a bit, and to be honest we have not come up with anyone. Mitch is a bit of a throwback, and he needs a Steve McQueen type of actor.


Vince Helps A Mother And Son Deal With Dyslexia

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I saw your interview with Glenn Beck. I have a son with dyslexia.

We live in a small town and I had so many struggles with the school system. I home school this smart, imaginative young man.

I was so inspired by your admission of dyslexia and your struggle that I taped the program so my son could watch.

Before he saw your interview I had trouble getting him to write anything. He would tell me what to write but his fear of looking or feeling dumb kept him from that. He will now write things after watching the program and he is a good story teller. He is going to work this summer at writing stories and he loves the subject matter of military and planes, tanks, combat…

It is amazing to me how one person's admission can inspire someone and you have inspired my son. 

- Jennifer

What's Your Story: Rick Barry

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Background
Rick Barry is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he was named to the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list, and he is the only player in the history of the game to lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in scoring for an individual season.

Why did you start reading Vince?
I started reading him several years ago, when someone told me I should be reading him.  

Do you have a favorite book?
I love all of Vince’s books. Mitch Rapp is one of the greatest characters of all time and I just pray they start making the movies soon.  

What book would you recommend to friends?
Every one of them.  They should start with American Assassin first and read each and every one.

Who do you envision when you read about Mitch Rapp?
I envision myself.  I can’t stand bad people, and the fact the he goes out and kicks ass; I love it.

If you could be a character in a Vince Flynn novel, who would you be?
I would want to be a guy Mitch respected.  Someone he would come to for advice, and if he needed help, I would go along with him on assignments.

What’s your favorite aspect of Vince’s novels?
The other characters in the book are really cool, Stansfield and Kennedy; just exceptionally well developed.  It is fun to see how they have evolved. Plus, the twists and turns in the stories are good; it is not all the same thing.  They are exciting books that you just can’t put down.

What’s next for you?
I am involved with a number of business ventures.  I am getting ready to launch a website and a blog about the basketball and the NBA.  Plus, I put together fishing trips to Alaska, where I know some of the best lodges.

Battling To See Who Will Read All Of Vince's Novels First

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The attached photo is of Lieutenant Colonel Miles Armstrong (L) and Chief Warrant Officer Scott Morgan (R) of I Corps, United States Forces - Iraq. 

The photo was taken on the west side, third floor balcony of the Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Victory Base Complex, Baghdad, Iraq. The Joint Visitor's Bureau can be seen in the background. This is where VIPs and dignitaries stay when visiting the Corps Headquarters. 

Miles and I were in the middle of reading W.E.B. Griffin's Presidential Agent series. He was a book ahead of me. While I was waiting on him to finish, I needed something else to read. I stumbled on Act Of Treason by accident. I found it in one of our many book bins among the thousands of books that we have here. Being that I'm a big fan of Daniel Silva's Israeli spy novels, I read the synopsis and thought this might be a book that I'd enjoy reading. Was I ever right! 

I was hooked from the first chapter. By the second chapter I had ordered the first three in the series from Amazon. After reading Treason, I put Griffin on hold and started from the beginning with 'Term Limits'. When I finished that one, I gave it to Miles and told him that he had to read that book. 

Needless to say, he was hooked too. We've blown through the entire ten book series in about 5 months. 

We're looking very forward to reading Pursuit Of Honor. The battle will be who gets to read it first.

- Scott

What's Your Story: Brad Taylor

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Background
Brad Taylor, Lieutenant Colonel (ret.), is a twenty-one-year veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces, including eight years in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta. He is the author of the NY Times bestsellers One Rough Man and All Necessary Force. He lives in Charleston, SC with his wife and two daughters. For more information visit him online at www.bradtaylorbooks.com.

With your military career, do you incorporate actual events you experienced into your writing?
I shy away from including anything that has actually occurred to me, because most of that is classified. Having said that, it's impossible not to refer to things I've done or seen. It's the same as someone writing a scene in a grocery store. How would he or she do that? They'd think of a grocery store they had been in before and build the scene from there. It's the same with me. When constructing a scene, I use the knowledge I have. This leads directly to the next question, precisely because I do have a healthy appreciation for how the intelligence and military systems accomplish their missions, and sometimes this is classified. The last thing I want to do is give the enemy an edge, fiction or otherwise, so I do find myself studying a scene to make sure I haven't said anything I shouldn't. Sometimes I paint myself into a corner whereby I find that what I've written is inappropriate to describe to fans" simply because it's classified, and I'll go back and rewrite.

Why did you start reading Vince/What was the book?
I was given the book Term Limits by a guy on my SF operational detachment while I was serving on Okinawa. Sorry to say it didn't give Vince any money, but that's when I began reading him.

Do you have a favorite book or character?
Obviously, it would be Mitch Rapp. Who wants to read about some milquetoast?

Who do you envision when you read about Mitch Rapp?
No one. I let the author create the character, using what he envisioned. Certainly not me. Mitch Rapp can run a six minute pace for days, and has the call sign Iron Man. Definitely not me.

If you could be a character in a Vince Flynn novel, what would you be?
Ten years ago, it would have been Mitch Rapp, but that's pretty much been beat out of me. Now, probably Thomas Stansfield or a male Irene Kennedy. I'd want to be the one pulling the strings, the guy controlling the Orion team.

As a writer in the political thriller genre, what makes Vince’s books compelling to you?
Probably wish fulfillment. In reality, it's very, very hard to get missions accomplished, with a plethora of wickets to jump through. Make no mistake, the wickets are there for a reason, but it's nice to read about a guy that can be turned loose without any of the usual roadblocks. It's the same reason I write the series that I do, a sort of "if only they'd let this happen....". Having seen what I have, I wouldn't want Orion Team - or my own Taskforce - to exist in the real world, but it's fun to read about in fiction. More than that, though, it's because Vince gets it right on all of the little details. Nothing makes me put a book down faster than a guy shooting a .51 caliber sniper rifle or visiting the DCI on the fourth floor of the CIA.

 What are you working on currently?
I just finished Enemy of Mine, the third book in the Pike Logan series, which will be out in January of 2013, and I'm currently pounding away on Book IV.