I went into journalism to learn the craft of writing and to get close to the world I wanted to write about - police and criminals, the criminal justice system.
I'm a disciple of Raymond Chandler, who said in his essays that there's a quality of redemption in anything that can be called art.
A newspaper is the center of a community, it's one of the tent poles of the community, and that's not going to be replaced by Web sites and blogs.
Write every day even if it is just a paragraph.
I've sold 11 of my books to Hollywood. There are all kinds of my books on shelves in Hollywood because the scripts didn't capture the characters.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that when you look into the darkness of the abyss the abyss looks into you. Probably no other line or thought more inspires or informs my work.
What is overriding that and most important is that readers generally are interested in a good character. They might be more comfortable with Harry because they think they know him, but they always seem willing to give somebody new a chance.
I think there's a general misconception that anything written quickly lacks quality, and I don't believe that.
I realize now I could have gotten a whole book out of that and so I think that was a big mistake. But the truth is you write in the moment and with your head down and there is no way back then that I could have conceived of Harry having the longevity that he has had.
In a daydream sort of way, I think it would be pretty cool to direct a movie. But I have been on movie and TV sets and know it is hard work. I like directing it in my mind. It is easier.
I think there'd be huge losses if there weren't newspapers. I know everything's shifting to the Internet and some people would say, 'News is news, what you're talking about is a change of consumption, not the product that's out there.' But I think there is a change.
I feel I'm functioning at some level as a journalist because even though I write fiction, I'm trying to get the world accurate.
Now I'm writing about contemporary Los Angeles from memory. My process was to hang out, observe, research what I was writing about, and almost immediately go back to my office and write those sections. So it was a very close transfer between observation and writing.
That's the irony in the work: the best stories are the worst things that happen. My best times were somebody else's worst.
We want our government to protect us, to make sure something like 9/11 never happens again. We quickly moved to give law enforcement more power to do this. But that now begs the question, did we move to fast? Did we give too much power away? I don't have the answer.
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