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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Guests, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 140
1. Room to Write

Tell us about the places you have written. The actual place where you set up your writing desk. Were there windows you looked out of? What did you see? Faraway Places was written at 211 East Fifth Street, Apt. 1A, in Manhattan. My apartment was a studio about nine feet wide and not a lot [...]

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2. Writing about the Dead and Bringing Them Back to Life

In my novel, In the City of Shy Hunters, there were so many dead friends to write about. There's a line in Shy Hunters: "It's the responsibility of the survivor to tell the story." As I was writing the book, I felt the wisdom of that line very keenly. And since I was the one [...]

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3. Let’s Go Talk about Catering Events: A Conversation between John and Renee Gorham, Part One

With the Toro Bravo cookbook, three of my very favorite things have come together — Toro Bravo, McSweeney's, and Powell's. One of the reasons that I moved from Catalina Island to Portland in 2002 was Powell's. I can't count the number of times over the years that I applied for jobs at various Powell's locations [...]

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4. One Crucial Tip for New Writers

If you could dispense with a single point of advice/wisdom to a new but promising writer, what would it be? And why? Your best friend is in town and you haven't seen him or her in years. You have something very profound that has happened to you that your friend does not know about yet. [...]

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5. Writing Where It Hurts

You write about things that are deep and painful. Do you emotionally relive the painful feelings and experiences? Does the process of writing your novels bring pain or relieve it? I write about things that make us human. There is a great Zen saying that goes: when you meet someone, look them closely in the [...]

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6. What’s Allowed and What’s Forbidden

What for you is the relationship between writing and death? Not just literal death but dying emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. Dying to one's own ego, dying to what's allowed and what's forbidden. Writing about the dead and bringing them back to life through writing? I'll try to answer this part of the question: What is it [...]

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7. Determinism vs. Free Willy

Because I've lived a risky and unconventional life, I don't often struggle for subjects to write about.Because I've lived a risky and unconventional life, I don't often struggle for subjects to write about. Spending time homeless on the streets of New Orleans, the sociopath with whom I lost my virginity, feeding the child of the [...]

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8. The Official Story of How Poe Ballantine Came into the World

One day back in 1959 in San Clemente, California, Surf Dawg Rickey and Mysterious Felipe were strolling along the beach, boards under arms, when they ran into a slump-shouldered, hairy-backed man with a ski-jump nose and bags under his eyes who said his name was Dick. Dawg and Felipe felt sorry for this gloomy loner, [...]

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9. Run for the Hills

Official dire prophecy USED to be issued exclusively under the authority of the cleric/sorcerer, but now the public trust for such tales has shifted to the province of the professional scientist. It makes sense. The scientist has models and stuff and has studied subjects deeply. Writers have minor credibility in this area but often discredit [...]

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10. My First-Ever Blog Post

Hi to anyone who is reading. This is my first blog post. Not just for this site, but first ever. As I've been told, the idea here is to reveal what I've been up to — aside from my great pleasure in seeing my current novel, Brilliance, released in the U.S. by the courageous people [...]

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11. An Interview with the Author, Part One

For my second blog post (ever), I wish to conduct a simple (but extensive and even possibly endless) interview with myself. Its purpose is to force the reluctant subject into inadvertent admissions or revelations that the reclusive subject has hitherto kept secret. You were born in New Zealand. True or false? Too much importance is [...]

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12. An Interview with the Author, Part Two

Today I'm continuing an extensive interview with myself that began yesterday. Recently, Mount Tongariro hit the headlines spitting ash and lava. You yourself grew up underneath the crater of Mount Taranaki in New Plymouth. How is life at the foot of an active volcano? Mount Taranaki is a dormant volcano, not currently active, but not [...]

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13. An Interview with the Author, Part Three

My continuing (and somewhat remorseless) interview of myself: What is the purpose of stories? And of storytelling? To fool you. Do you believe that people like or want to be fooled from time to time? If we did not have the impulse and ability to believe in the impossible, we would not have religion, democracy, [...]

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14. An Interview with the Author, Part Four

My endless interrogation of myself continues... What keeps you awake at night? Everything that can wait until tomorrow. When were you happiest? When I realized that a congenial monotony is the best anyone can hope for. I'm not sure how old I was or what I was doing — perhaps I was 13 and hiking [...]

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15. Safety

You see, I don't believe the world exists, as silly as that seems. I'm not convinced that my warehouse of definitions actually explains or identifies anything. It's like the old question: Is the blue I see the same blue that you see? I have my plans and expectations for the next hour, but who knows [...]

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16. To Save One’s Life

Writing is a unique way of thinking that allows a writer to come upon ideas that he or she wouldn't have otherwise discovered. Some writers sit quietly waiting for inspiration to appear; others don't wait but simply begin writing and eventually, they believe, inspiration will occur. They describe things or remember things or argue things, [...]

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17. Cappuccinos

I should confess that I have a fault or difficulty or issue that has always mildly complicated my life. I am, at the same time, quite shy and a showoff. It's like being a world-class figure skater living in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Over time the shyness has lessened as has, perhaps, the [...]

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18. Everybody’s a Criminal

If you read Ghostman, my debut novel that comes out tomorrow from Knopf, you'll probably notice one thing right away — I love facts. I'm a guy who digs the little things. The book is filled with crisp detail and practical minutia on a variety of criminal subjects, from the banking industry to the drug [...]

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19. Top 10 Favorite Lesser-Known Criminal Slang Terms

So my book about a high-profile bank robbery, Ghostman, comes out today. I have to say, the excitement here is already reaching something of a fever pitch. Yesterday I received almost a dozen requests for interviews, nearly 50 letters from eager fans (or soon-to-be fans), and literally hundreds of Twitter and Facebook mentions, most of [...]

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20. Dangerous Knowledge

I'm sitting in a bar in North Seattle, the kind of place where you only end up well after midnight in a blacked-out stupor. The place has got a name, but if I said it here I wouldn't be allowed back. It's that sort of place. It's also the middle of January, so the heat [...]

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21. Five Books I Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day: the spirit of love is in the air. I've never been a big fan of the day myself — I can practically hear the sighs of disappointed lovers in the air, smell the copious amounts of cheap perfumes wafting down the avenue, and taste the low-quality imitation chocolate taped to the inside of [...]

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22. The Arduous Process of Having No Process

Most days, around noon, something very strange happens to me. It starts off with a headache. My head begins to feel stuffy and there is a slight pain behind my eyes. I feel distant from my body. Then, after a few minutes, a fog of unusual thoughts settles in. I stop thinking about the thousand [...]

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23. Required Reading: Best Unconventional Memoirs

In an age when everyone and their niece has written a tell-all book, when even fictional characters like Ron Burgundy are penning the stories of their lives, how does a memoir stand out among its peers? What qualities make it like nothing we've seen before? Sometimes truly extraordinary experiences can launch a memoir into uncharted [...]

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24. In Such a Crowded, Competitive, Opportunistic World, Why Would I Be the Only One to Write This Book?

It's the story of the century, the most baffling, bizarre, and beastly crime in anyone's memory.It's the story of the century, the most baffling, bizarre, and beastly crime in anyone's memory. A beautiful, elegant, gentle, brilliant man, a theoretical mathematician, goes missing and is discovered three months later way back in the sticks in a [...]

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25. Talk About a Haunted House!

My good friend Abner Violette, a retired NASA electrical engineer (literally a rocket scientist) and owner of five radio stations throughout Nebraska and Colorado, is the most intelligent person I've ever met. He can talk with facility on just about any subject, from physics to falafel to the Foo Fighters. He is a Christian (though [...]

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