26 February 2012 0 Comments

Podcast: My Part in Rushdie’s Peril

When I was a very young journalist in London, I had the last interview with Salman Rushdie before Khomeini pronounced his fatwa against the writer. Unfortunately I was drunk. He was rude, and so was I. Here’s the story of how it happened. Download the Podcast: (Download the MP3) Subscribe via iTunes

29 December 2011 0 Comments

Crime Fiction’s Best First Paragraphs: 3

Georges Simenon wrote “L’Affaire Saint Fiacre” (“Maigret Goes Home”) in 1932. It’s one of the first of the 103 novels involved Inspector Jules Maigret. You can tell from books like this that the writer was a bit of a bastard. And we ought to be grateful for that. The opening of “Saint Fiacre” (I’m going […]

27 October 2011 3 Comments

The Crime Writer’s Alter Ego

James Ellroy went out to dinner a few years ago with some French journalists in Paris. One of the journalists later recounted to me how Ellroy pressed them to take him out to Pigalle, which is a sort-of Red Light district. With distaste, they agreed. “Okay,” growled the Demon Dog, “so which one of you […]

7 October 2011 4 Comments

Podcast: Guided Meditation for Writers

This is a guided meditation for writers. Sit or lie down and listen to it. Do what I suggest in the podcast, and you’ll be meditating. I’ve used meditation techniques to help my concentration and to build my creativity in writing my award-winning crime fiction and historical novels. I’ve also found it transformative in my […]

26 September 2011 2 Comments

Podcast: Meditation for Writers part 1

I’ve used meditation techniques to help my concentration and to build my creativity in writing my award-winning crime fiction and historical novels. I’ve also found it transformative in my daily life. This podcast describes why that is and tells you a little about the guided meditation for writers I’ll be doing in my next podcast. […]

18 August 2011 0 Comments

Lazy Writers and Productive Creatives

There are lazy writers, writers who can’t say no, and then there are creative people who are able to combine their muse with their media. I’ve discovered this in recent months a couple of different ways. First, on a recent book tour, I spent a week at a book festival where I was together with […]

18 May 2011 0 Comments

Long gestation and the crime novel

Crime novelists generally write a novel a year. It’s what publishers want. Some big writers—and I mean, 25 million books sold—have told me their publishers and agents complain that if they don’t produce a book a year their readers will forget them. In the case of such writers, some of those 25 million may have […]

17 May 2011 0 Comments

Inspiration–and laughter–for the ladies: Ghada Abdel Aal’s Writing Life

When she was in her early twenties, Egyptian writer Ghada Abdel Aal began the complicated process of seeking a spouse. It involved meetings in parental living rooms over awkward glasses of tea. On one such occasion her potential groom spent his time screaming at a soccer game on tv. Another turned out to have a […]

13 May 2011 0 Comments

Some of my writing tricks

I’m interviewed on an excellent new writers blog called Author’s Muse. You’ll find me there chatting about some of the techniques I use to “get into character” when I’m writing, as well as some other tricks I’ve formulated over the years. Also some of my current reading preferences.

8 May 2011 2 Comments

The Reverse Orientalist: Kamal Abdel-Malek’s Writing Life Interview

When Kamal Abdel-Malek was a young student, he chose to study outside the Arab world, eventually becoming a professor at Brown and Princeton Universities in the US. It was the first step in the physical and intellectual journeys of this intriguing Egyptian writer. Born in Alexandria and now a teacher of Arabic literature at the […]