It’s always cool to see where fellow Fort Lewis College graduates – and fellow former staff members of the school’s newspaper, The Independent – end up.
In the case of Kevin Lynch, who graduated in 1999, his post-FLC journey included working as a staff reporter for the National Enquirer, and now he owns and operates Top Shelf Investigators, a private investigation agency in Delray Beach, Florida.
And he’s just released his first novel, “Tabloid Baby,”which is loosely based on his experiences in the media – and The Durango Herald even gets a mention, along with Deputy Editor Shane Benjamin, who shares a name with a character.
In “Tabloid Baby,” Aspen reporter Bernard “Mac” McCaffrey is sent to Florida to cover the death of television producer Conrad Harvey, an Aaron Spelling-type of guy who owned property in Aspen. Harvey left behind a single heir – a daughter named Roxanne who’s set to inherit a hundred million dollars and who also comes with a host of issues. Once in Florida, Mac finds himself reporting on a whole different story and coming across “an unforgettable cast of misfit newspapermen, crooked cops, private eyes, questionable sources and one captivating heiress.”
While this is Lynch’s first novel, he said he’s always been a writer and a reader who would devour books.
“(As) a little kid growing up, I’d write little comic books, and my father was a journalist and a writer,” he said. “I just grew up in a household with books everywhere – we had an entire library, and growing up, I was the kid that was like reading Stephen King in fifth grade and the teachers were like, ‘We don’t know if you should be reading that.’ ... I just grew up reading a lot. And I always wanted to contribute something of my own.”
Lynch ended up in Durango by way of upstate New York. He started contributing to the Indy in 1997 – and also freelancing for the Herald – and began sending clips to Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Premiere Magazine. Premiere offered him an internship while he was still in school, so in fall 1998, he moved to Manhattan when still going to FLC, working in the city for about six months.
“It was such a great experience, but I knew I didn’t want to end up in New York City. I moved to LA right after college,” he said. “I had some connections at Premier, and they had a West Coast office, and I was kind of waiting for a job there. The job wasn’t open, so I was freelancing to local papers in LA and trying to catch on somewhere. I saw an ad in Editor & Publisher for the National Enquirer and was just like, ‘OK, why not?’”
It was the Enquirer that sent him to Florida, where he set up shop and finished the novel he’s been working on for a while.
“Even when I was working at the Enquirer back years and years ago, whenever I was holed up in a hotel, I might try to bang out some pages, but I never really planned it out, I never really had a beginning, middle, end,” he said. “... Things changed throughout the book over time, like the way I wanted it to go. What really was the big difference maker for me was I originally started writing it in the first person and I just ended up spending too much time getting into this nitty gritty detail about the tabloid industry itself – stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be interesting to just a layman reader. ... So, I kind of scrapped it for a long time. I probably didn’t work on it for a couple of years, but I still had the idea, I still had the characters, the names in my head. I still wanted to do something.”
And so, he said, he sat down last year in January determined to finally get it done – and about four months later, it was.
“It is funny – that’s part of what I was going for. I wasn’t looking to write the great American novel; I wasn’t looking to write a sprawling epic. I wanted a book that would be easy to read and that’s funny. I wanted to make people laugh and I wanted to tell an engaging story.”
Up next for Lynch is a sequel to “Tabloid Baby” and there’s a possible a true crime book in the works.