MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Dan Lynch, 67
Dan Lynch has interviewed presidents, hosted radio public affairs programs, created documentaries for the History Channel, run for public office - and just finished his 13th book.
Although the 67-year-old Delray Beach resident misses the hustle and bustle of a newsroom (including jobs as chief political writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer, a Times Union columnist and New York editor at Newsday), writing takes on a new dimension at his vacation home in New York’s scenic Finger Lakes region.
“It’s a great place to write. It’s beautiful and reminds me of something out of a Norman Rockwell painting,” says the Temple University School of Journalism grad, who still has a pen that President Richard Nixon gave him and fond memories of lunch in the state dining room when President Ronald Reagan occupied the White House.
Lynch’s latest book, “The Mountainside Incident,” is a supernatural thriller. Pure entertainment, he explains, that “details a deadly, chilling clash between rational, 21st century humanity and a murderous creature that defies all logic and modern human experience.”
The inspiration for the book? A series he worked on in the late ’80s (when he was managing editor of the Times Union) about the Iroquois nation, “a confederacy of Indian tribes that dominated the Northeastern United States for centuries.
“What I learned from those guys about their culture and belief system led eventually to my writing ‘The Mountainside Incident,’ in which the central character is a noted anthropologist who’s also a full-blooded Mohawk”, says Lynch, who is married to Pam, a special education teacher, and has two children and two grandchildren.
His eye-opening book, “Running With the Machine: A Journalist’s Eye-Opening Plunge Into Politics,” was written after an unsuccessful 2000 bid for the New York State Assembly. His other books include “Into the Dragon’s Teeth,” the real-life story of three men who experienced the events of World War II and the Battle of the Bulge and “Lakeside Stories,” four tales set in New York’s Finger Lakes region.
What’s next for Lynch?
“Well I don’t know that I am going to do another book. I want to travel and get a business going as a painter. At this point in life if there is something I want to do I damn well better do it,” he quips.
What are you hobbies?
Painting. I paint portraits, landscapes, wildlife, realistic things. I don’t do abstract or impressionism. Landscapes. I also play golf and I go to the beach.
Who is your favorite author?
Richard Russo is my favorite contemporary author. He is absolutely brilliant. I’m also a great fan of John O’Hara, who wrote about my parents’ generation.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending summers at this lake (in the Finger Lakes). It is a wonderful place. It looks like Switzerland around Lake Lucerne. I learned to swim here (it’s also about 60 miles from his childhood home).
Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed?
One of the great characters was Frank Rizzo, who was the mayor of Philadelphia at the time. He would say anything that came into his head and was great fun to cover as a result of that. He was born without restraint but I couldn’t use half of his quotes in a family newspaper.