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8 March 2012 5 Comments

Blogs love my Mozart book — and Glasgow and Calcutta do too

My latest novel Mozart’s Last Aria has been getting still more excellent reviews on fiction blogs. I’ve noticed that people like the fact that it brings to life Mozart’s times and his music — and that I do this through a relatively unknown female character, the great composer’s supremely talented and often overlooked older sister, […]

1 March 2012 0 Comments

Episodes in the Literary Life 2: Get Me to Fucking Manhattan

(This continues my series of autobiographical vignettes, intended to demonstrate the neuroses, ambition, talent, chance, mischance, place, and alcohol that go toward the creation of a writer. The tales may be instructive or proscriptive. This one, at least, is mainly about the alcohol part.) I quit drinking the day after I turned 27. On my […]

23 February 2012 0 Comments

Episodes in the Literary Life 1: My Part in Salman Rushdie’s Peril

(Readers often write to ask me how I came to be an author. Over the coming weeks, I shall be writing a series of autobiographical vignettes which shall, I believe, demonstrate the mélange of neuroses, ambition, talent, chance, mischance, place, and alcohol that goes toward the creation of a writer. This one, at least. The […]

16 February 2012 0 Comments

In Crime Fiction, Be Not Afraid

I just wrote an article for The Jerusalem Report about “What Israelis Fear Most.” Surprisingly, I found that Israelis didn’t fear being murdered by a psychopath or caught up in a case of mistaken identity which leads to them getting into car chases with the FBI on their tails. Surprisingly, that is, if you read […]

9 February 2012 2 Comments

Why did Marlowe go in the bar?

Mrs. Rees has given me two lovely kids. She has enjoyed the presence of my parents. She even visited Wales with me. But I was never quite sure of her. Because she had only read one Raymond Chandler novel. In an effort to make our marriage complete, I suggested this week she augment her reading […]

2 February 2012 2 Comments

Daniel Silva’s Funny Buggers

Any writer knows that things can go wrong sometimes. Characters start to get wooden. Scenes won’t come alive. But the slipperiest dilemma of all –– because it’s the one least likely to be obvious when you’re re-reading the manuscript –– is when certain words turn out to have unintended consequences. A fine example of this […]

26 January 2012 0 Comments

Break Elmore’s Rules

Elmore Leonard has 10 rules for writing. They don’t cover most of the important points of writing. They could really be called: Ten Rules for Writing That Isn’t So Bad, Even if You’re Not Much of Writer. Still the rules have been turned into a book and are quoted with something a little more mystical […]

25 January 2012 0 Comments

Podcast: Finding Truly Real Fiction

Writers usually decide to be writers before they know what they might write about. In my case, a journey from teenage isolation in Britain to the violence of the Middle East led me to the elements of my fiction which could be true — not just based on reality, but in the sense that they […]

18 January 2012 0 Comments

Podcast: Crime Fiction Openings

As an award-winning crime writer, I’ve studied the greats of the genre and lectured about how they do what they do. Here I take my three favorite openings to crime novels — “Red Harvest” by Dashiell Hammett, “The Little Sister” by Raymond Chandler, and “The Saint-Fiacre Affair” by Georges Simenon — and examine what makes […]

5 January 2012 0 Comments

Dreaming a Thriller Plot

Last night my dream was a really terrific thriller plot. Naturally, because I thought I was watching a thriller unfold in images before me, I don’t remember much of what happened (do YOU remember what happens in a thriller after you’ve read it?) However, it included a number of details which I find encouraging. First, […]