Janet Fitch's first novel, "White Oleander," hit big when it was picked by Oprah for her book club. Before that happened, she was just another aspiring writer in this big city.
She sat down with me at the L.A. Times Festival of Books and talked about who she used to come to see. Sometimes, when she couldn't get tickets to see an author, she'd sit on the grass and watch readers and writers pass by. Once, when her own writing wasn't going well, she couldn't bear to attend.
That time passed -- she published "Paint It Black" in 2006 and is now hard at work on a new, very different novel. She tells us it's set in St. Petersburg, then called Petrograd, during the Russian Revolution.
In honor of our new interactive map of literary L.A., Fitch told me who some of her favorite L.A. authors are, including John Fante, James Ellroy, and Raymond Chandler. "Crime novelists do really well with Los Angeles," she says. A native Angeleno, she adds, "There are more books about Los Angeles now because there's a generation of people who were born here who now have multiple books -- where they can really unpack what they know about Los Angeles."
For more from Janet Fitch, click on the video above.