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Chatting with author Walter Mosley

Times Staff Writer

Administrator: We're here with author Walter Mosley. Welcome to the chat!

Administrator: Walter, sounds like you had an interesting flight from Columbus. What were you doing there?

Walter Mosley: I was giving lectures at a community college about writing and cultural famine.

Administrator: How do you see cultural famine manifesting itself?

seantgla: What drew you to write science fiction novels?

Walter Mosley: Fast foods, bulging prisons, bullying wars, money losing its value, planned obsolescense, and credit cards like loan sharks

LAreader: Do you plan to write any additional young adult titles? What are you working on now?

Walter Mosley: Science fiction is one of the most interesting genres. It allows you to put yourself in a position to deal with a problem directly. For instance, let's say you're a radical lesbian feminist separatist and the first line of your novel starts 'in the year 2016 there were no men left on the face of the earth'

Administrator: Who are your favorite science fiction novelists?

Walter Mosley: I'm working on a series of books, new novel in september 'blond faith', a collection of short stories in april called 'the tempest tales', a one-off novel called 'the last days of ptolemy grey', but most of next year i intend to give a speech around the country called 'the twilight of the oligarchs', an attack on the republican and democratic parties hoping to invent software that will allow dissatisfied americans to form interest groups of their own.

LAreader: Who are some of the authors you read for pleasure?

Walter Mosley: roger zelazny, michael moorcock, brian aldiss, sam delaney, and what's that other guy's name? ah, that's enough

Walter Mosley: the above, and then anything from old jack kirby to new gabriel garcia marquez

Administrator: is blond faith an easy rawlings book?

Walter Mosley: yes

LAreader: How does your early work differ from your most recent fiction?

Walter Mosley: well lareader, i don't know, i didn't know it did.

Eric: Why do you suppose sci-fi resonates with people?

seantgla: Where do you draw your inspiration?

timesbooth3: Walter, who influenced you as a writer? Raymond Chandler, perhaps?

Walter Mosley: eric, i think people are always wondering about the possibilities based upon their knowledge and their dreams. and also, i think in all forms of literature including films, people are seeking themselves (present) and transcendance (future).

Walter Mosley: inspiration is something i don't believe in. an influence is something that all writers lie about. they want you to compare them to great writers and so they talk about how great writers have influenced them. i am as influenced by aa milne's winnie the pooh as i am by one hundred years of solitude.

Administrator: what are you going to do at the festival?

Walter Mosley: i'm going to be onstage and talk in dialogue about my book, This Year You Write Your Novel.

Eric: Is this a book about how to write a novel? Any advice (aside from what's in the book)?

Administrator: how old were you when you wrote your first book?

Walter Mosley: everything i know about writing novels is in that book, and it is one hundred pages long.

Walter Mosley: 37

seantgla: What did you do before you were writing?

Darrix: I've reading TYYWYN now and wanted to say thanks as I'm finding that it is helping take the edge/anxiety out of doing the writing.

cksmitsk: I have read most of your work - just started "The Man in My Basement" - I love it. Your writing is so entertaining. Will more of your work become movies? Would love to see "The Wave" on the big screen.

Walter Mosley: seantgla, i was a computer programmer.

wmblair: My wife and I had to stop watching the movie of Devil in a Blue Dress because it was too violent. Do you think the movie focussed too much on the violence or do you think that you can just get away with more things in a book than in a movie

Walter Mosley: darrix, thank you for that wonderful compliment.

ellen Ulken: Has Los Angeles always been home for you?

Walter Mosley: cksmitsk, trying to do Little Scarlet right now, and also RL's Dream.

timesbooth4: How did you become interested in Hannah Arendt?

Sonja: Your books combine good mystery wiritng w/social observations. Do you think LA has improved since the riots?

Walter Mosley: wmblair, i think we live in a very violent world, and that some of that violence, in film and books, is gratuitous. but sometimes, it shows you what's happening in parts of the world that you'd rather not see.

timesbooth1: Are you in the process of writing another book

Walter Mosley: ellen, i live in new york

Walter Mosley: when i was working to get my PhD in political theory (which by the by i never got), hannah arendt was one of the thinkers i paid attention to.

Walter Mosley: sonja, which riots?

cksmitsk: Can't Wait! I'll be there. I loved Devil in a Blue Dress. I've watched it over and over. I enjoy violent movies in a peaceful theatre.

BecN: Hi Walter -- love everything you've written. You're the one of the best writers in the U.S. today, yet you write a lot in "genres" -- mystery, scifi. You've gotten many accolades, but do you think writing in genres has maybe kept you from getting more recognition? (Not that I want you to stop! :-)

Walter Mosley: timesbooth1, see earlier answer

Sonja: Los Angeles riots post rodney king

BecN: Or is the generes more a marketing thing, and you don't see your books that way?

Walter Mosley: sonja, some things have gotten better, but most people in america are trembling under the weight of an economy that's gone wild, crazy. and even if some people feel better or are doing better it doesn't bode well for the future.

wmblair: I enjoyed listening to you last year - that is where I heard about the One City One Book thing. (this is just as a by the way, this could be a question about what you thought of the One City One Book thing and how many people do it and know about it or deleted or posted) I guess I could also comment that I asked a friend if he thought legalizing drugs would help stop gangs by getting rid of their money source. He said no and I said yes but then I had to say that in the book, Devil in a Blue Dress, Easy goes to a speakeasy that was a speakeasy during prohibition but "but they were never going to give a liscence to someone like the bar owners so it continued. (I thought the history/back-drop of post ww2 Los Angeles)

Sonja: I love the way your writing makes social commentary w/o preaching. Yes, there is a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Walter Mosley: becn, do you mean less recognition by the already-marginalized literary establishment?

Walter Mosley: wmblair, i think that the gangs are a direct reflection of our government and how our government deals with different colors.

Walter Mosley: sonja, and it's getting wider and wider and wider!

Administrator: Thank you for joining our chat. We're going to wrap it up now.

Administrator: Thank you, Walter. We'll see you at your talk tomorrow at Royce Hall at 10:30am

Walter Mosley: at royce hall.

BecN: You rock Walter! :-)

wmblair: thank you, Walter

steffie: Thanks for such great work, Walter! My mom and I love your stuff!

cksmitsk: Thank you!

Sonja: thank you.

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