A University of Iowa graduate is considered the first contemporary woman to successfully write international spy thrillers.
Gayle Lynds has sold more than five-million books, co-writing three novels with the late Robert Ludlum. Her solo works include “Mosaic,” “Mesmerized” and her latest, “The Coil.” Lynds’ first solo work, “Masquerade,” was initially rejected by a publisher who said -quote- “no woman could have written this.” It became a New York Times best-seller.
“A good book will sell, no matter that the Cold War was over and no matter that, gosh, I’m a girl and I’m still writing in this supposedly-male-dominated genre, didn’t matter. What matters is the book. If it’s a wonderful story with really interesting characters that people want to read about, it will do fine.”
While the main characters in her many books have been men and women, her early triumphs were in novels featuring men as the heroes. Lynds says sometimes women understand men better than men understand men. “It’s our job as authors to be able to write from other people’s perspectives and since half of the human race seems to be male, I should really pay attention to that fact and be able to write authentically from a man’s position. There are quite a few men out there who write wonderful women. Why can’t a woman write wonderful men?”
Lynds’ husband Dennis is also a top writer, who uses the name Michael Collins. Lynds grew up in Omaha-Council Bluffs, got a journalism degree at the University of Iowa, became a newspaper reporter in Arizona, and later worked as an editor for a California think tank, the roots of her career as a spy novelist.
“I’ve always been grateful for my Iowa background because, of course, the FBI investigates you thoroughly and I came from Iowa, I was squeaky clean. So I got top-secret security clearance and I edited a lot of different documents and met a lot of very interesting people. The ideas were bouncing off the walls — and so were the people.” Ideas like mind control, making deserts bloom to designing cutting-edge military hardware that had the capacity to wipe life from entire continents.
Lynds, who lives in southern California, says her next book will be called “The Last Spymaster.” To learn more about Lynds and her books, surf to www.gaylelynds.com.