Americans are less selfish than some of our politicians believe and will respond with reason and resilience to passionate clarity.
'Goon Squad' took about three years to write and that's the short end. My second novel, 'Look at Me,' took six years.
I don't really know where my ideas come from. I start with a time and a place. That's what I need to get started, and an intellectual question.
I've never been that confident. I don't tend to think, swaggeringly, 'I'm going to ace this.' It's just not who I am.
If you don't have people that the reader cares about and stories that are gripping, you've got nothing.
One area I have a huge amount of trouble in is writing about myself. I get a heavy, almost depressed feeling.
That adage about 'Write what you know' is basically the opposite of the way I function. I write about what I'm curious to find out.
The bottom line is that I like my first drafts to be blind, unconscious, messy efforts; that's what gets me the best material.
The music industry is an interesting lens through which to look at change, because it has had such a difficult time adjusting to the digital age.
We live in a moment and a culture when reading is really endangered. There's simply no way to write well, though, if you're not reading well.
Because you can't write habitually and well all the time, you have to be willing to write badly. That's how you get the regularity that enables you to be present for the good stuff.
But I always need to identify with a character to write about him or her - and by 'identify,' I mean see the world through that person's eyes and have a strong sense of the inner logic of their acts and decisions, wacky or wrongheaded though they might be. In that sense, I think there's some of me in all of them.
I did go on safari in Kenya when I was 17, with my mother, stepfather and little brother, and I kept a careful journal of the experience that was very helpful in terms of my sensory impressions of Africa. I have traveled quite a bit at distinct times in my life, though now that I have kids I've settled down.