Robert Birnbaum talks to Don Lee

Sometimes I feel a little silly linking to something that I know everybody and their cousin will be linking to but then I figure what the heck, it can’t hurt. So if you haven’t already, click on over to Robert Birnbaum’s discussion with Don Lee. It continues to baffle me why newspapers and magazines don’t publish stuff like this. It is really interesting to feel like you are just listening in to a conversation between an author and someone who obviously has read and cares about their work. It has an honesty and a casualness that I find refreshing. Here is a taste to wet your whistle:

RB: The time factor aside, is it hard for you to write? I suppose it cuts into your windsurfing.

DL: [laughs] Well, I get as many days as I can. I pissed and moaned about writing this novel the entire way through.

DL: With my friends I kept on referring to it as the TFN, the f—ing novel. But in retrospect, it really wasn’t that hard. I was able to discipline myself so that–one decision that I made was if I was going to write this in any kind of reasonable amount of time, I had to make it a plot-driven book. It was the first novel I had ever attempted. And I knew I could get bogged down and it would take me eight or ten years or something if I didn’t have it really relying on story. So that was a deliberate choice, to make it a quasi mystery or play with the mystery genre. That made it a lot easier for me. I was able to switch it on and off, so come Friday morning I was at my desk and was able to write. Granted it would take me–my objective was to write two chapters a month, and to write the 1st draft in one year, which I did. But granted it would take me the entire 8 hours of the day to write 2 damn pages [both laugh] where I would be sitting there constantly getting up and taking naps or checking e-mail. All of these sorts of things–you play all kinds of tricks on yourself to get yourself to write. So what I did was write the entire thing in long hand. And made myself not revise until I got to the end. And I would just keep on going. At the end of the year, I had 20 legal pads.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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