Robert Kimball displays a copy of his new book, “News to Die For.”

Robert E. Kimball, former publisher of the Nogales International and current resident of Patagonia, has published his first novel, “News to Die For.”

The story is set at The Tucson Independent, a family-owned daily newspaper in downtown Tucson. Meghan Lafferty and her two brothers are heirs to the paper. She thinks she can save it, but she’s faced with numerous hurdles: the newspaper business is in the tank, The Independent is near bankruptcy, her brother Bradley thinks he’s been promised the publisher’s job, and her father, the present publisher, thinks women are best suited to be homemakers.

Kimball spent much of his career as a department store executive. But after 25 years in the retail business, he decided he wanted to learn to write better, so he accepted an offer to become a reporter at the Nogales International.

“There’s nothing like having your story come back from the editor covered with red editing marks to make you realize how much you have to learn,” Kimball said in a news release.

He eventually became the paper’s editor and publisher before retiring in 2005.

Kimball and his wife Terry had moved to Patagonia in 1980 to build their dream house. When it was finally finished in 2013, he could write full time and “News to Die For” was published in 2020.

In addition to relying on his personal experience, Kimball’s research included reading more than 30 books about the newspaper business.

“News to Die For” is available at in print or as an e-book. Kimball will also have a booth at the Tucson Festival of Books on the mall at the University of Arizona on Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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