My books are elegiac in the sense that they're odes to a nation that even I sometimes think may not exist anymore except in my memory and my imagination.
Some authors have a very hard time understanding that in order to be faithful to the spirit of the book, it's almost always impossible to remain faithful to the text. You have to make changes.
I have to have a character worth caring about. I tend not to start writing books about people I don't have a lot of sympathy for because I'm just going to be with them too long.
I want that which is hilarious and that which is heartbreaking to occupy the same territory in the book because I think they very often occupy the same territory in life, much as we try to separate them.
It's no secret that in my books I'm trying to make the comic and the serious rub up against each other just as closely and uncomfortably as I can.
A lot of my characters in all of my books have a self-destructive urge. They'll do precisely the thing that they know is wrong, take a perverse delight in doing the wrong thing.
My dad had this rock hard body and would work 12- to 13-hour days. The guys he worked with were scrap-iron guys. Nobody on that road crew had read a book in 10 years, but there was something about the way they lived I really admired.
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