In Memory of Aimee Thurlo

Lee Goldberg

1) What's your new book about?

I'm continuing to write my bestselling MONK tie-in novels (I am on my 13th as of this moment) and my long backlist of original novels are now out in ebook format, headlined by my biggest seller, THE WALK, about a guy who has to walk across the wreckage of Los Angeles back to his home in the valley after the Big One hits. But my latest project is THE DEAD MAN, an original ebook series about a guy who, after a terrible accident, can see a world of supernatural terror that we don't....and is now on a quest to save himself and us from the clutches of pure evil. If that sounds vague, it's only because I don't want to give too much away. Bill Rabkin & I wrote the first two books in the series, and eight other successful authors are writing the books that will follow, coming out on a month-to-bimonthly basis. THE DEAD MAN books are meant to harken back, in a good way, to those "men's action adventure" series of the 70s and 80s.

2) How do you balance your work and your life?
There's a balance? Uh-oh.
I write whenever wherever I can. At my desk, in the bathroom, on planes, at restaurants, whenever I can grab a spare moment. I probably do my best work between 9 pm-2am, because the phone stops ringing and my family is busy doing other stuff (my daughter is making out with her boyfriend, my wife with her secret lover). When I am writing & producing a TV series, my day is usually devoted to script work and my books takes a backseat.

3) What's your writing process-- do you work from outlines or do you prefer off-the-cuff?
I almost always work from outlines, which is probably a result of all my years in TV. That doesn't mean I stick rigidly to my outlines, but I think it's important to know where you are going...especially if you are writing a mystery. I can usually tell when I am reading a book that was written without an outline...they tend to meander in search of their plot. My outlines are "living outlines," they change as I am writing my book to reflect new ideas or changes in direction that I make along the way. In fact, I tend to finish my outlines a few days before I finish my books.

4) What advice would you give a new writer wanting to break in?
Never pay to be published and don't get seduced by the gold rush mentality to self-publish on the Kindle. You need to hone your craft, take classes, and get good at what you do, before you put your stuff out there. You don't want to put unpublishable, unreadable swill on the Kindle because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Just because you can self-publish with the click of a mouse doesn't mean that you should. I still believe that for a newbie writer its better to be published by a publisher, to develop a platform. You can always go back to self-publishing.

5) Where do you get your ideas?
A better question would be "how do I stop them?" I have more ideas than I have the time or energy to write. Which is good, because if I run out of ideas, my family won't eat.

6) Who are your favorite authors?
Harry Whittington, Larry McMurtry, George V. Higgins, Robert B. Parker, Vicki Hendricks, Daniel Woodrell, Sue Grafton, John Irving, Ed McBain, Elmer Kelton, Charles Willeford, Michael Connelly and Garry Disher, to name just a few..

7) Is there anything you'd like to tell your readers?
I do it all for you. Believe me, I can feel you standing behind me, looking over my shoulder as I write, goading me on to keep it fast and entertaining. But if you're going to stand so close, please buy some breath mints.

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