Blogs

Recommended Books
  • A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation
    A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation
    by Noah Lukeman
  • Adventures in the Screen Trade
    Adventures in the Screen Trade
    by William Goldman
  • APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
    APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
    by Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch
  • A Room of One's Own
    A Room of One's Own
    by Virginia Woolf
  • The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts
    The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts
    by David Lodge
  • The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
    The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
    by John Gardner
  • The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
    The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
    by Phillip Lopate
  • The Associated Press Stylebook 2009 (Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law)
    The Associated Press Stylebook 2009 (Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law)
    Basic Books
  • Aspects of the Novel
    Aspects of the Novel
    by E.M. Forster
  • Becoming a Writer
    Becoming a Writer
    by Dorothea Brande
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
    by Anne Lamott
  • Booknotes: America's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas
    Booknotes: America's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas
    Three Rivers Press
  • Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Seventeenth Edition
    Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Seventeenth Edition
    by John Ayto
  • The Careful Writer
    The Careful Writer
    by Theodore M. Bernstein
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
    The Chicago Manual of Style
    University Of Chicago Press
  • The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
    The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
    by Amy Einsohn
  • The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
    The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
    by Ralph Keyes
  • The Craft of Fiction
    The Craft of Fiction
    by Percy Lubbock
  • The Editor's Lexicon: Essential Writing Terms for Novelists
    The Editor's Lexicon: Essential Writing Terms for Novelists
    by Sarah Cypher
  • Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do
    Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do
    Grove Press
  • The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
    The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
    by William Strunk Jr., E. B. White
  • Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    by Lawrence Grobel
  • Fiction Writer's Handbook
    Fiction Writer's Handbook
    by Hallie Burnett, Whit Burnett
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
    Fiction Writer's Workshop
    by Josip Novakovich
  • Flaubert's Parrot
    Flaubert's Parrot
    by Julian Barnes
  • Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction
    Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction
    by James B. Stewart
  • The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers
    The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers
    by Betsy Lerner
  • For Writers Only
    For Writers Only
    by Sophy Burnham
  • William Goldman: Four Screenplays with Essays
    William Goldman: Four Screenplays with Essays
    by William Goldman
  • Fowler's Modern English Usage
    Fowler's Modern English Usage
    by the late R. W. Burchfield
  • The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard
    The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard
    by Norrie Epstein
  • A Glossary of Literary Terms
    A Glossary of Literary Terms
    by M.H. Abrams, Geoffrey Harpham
  • How Fiction Works
    How Fiction Works
    by James Wood
  • How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar
    How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar
    by William Safire
  • How to Get Happily Published
    How to Get Happily Published
    by Judith Appelbaum
  • How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Genre Writing)
    How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Genre Writing)
    by Orson Scott Card
  • How To Write Short Stories: With Samples
    How To Write Short Stories: With Samples
    by Ring Lardner
  • If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
    If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
    by Brenda Ueland
  • Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
    Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
    Mariner Books
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying (Harvest Book)
    Keep the Aspidistra Flying (Harvest Book)
    by George Orwell
  • Lapsing Into a Comma : A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them
    Lapsing Into a Comma : A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them
    by Bill Walsh
  • Letters to a Young Poet: Translated and with a Foreword By Stephen Mitchell
    Letters to a Young Poet: Translated and with a Foreword By Stephen Mitchell
    by Ranier Maria Rilke
  • Making a Good Script Great
    Making a Good Script Great
    by Linda Seger
  • Making a Literary Life
    Making a Literary Life
    by Carolyn See
  • Master Class: Scenes from a Fiction Workshop
    Master Class: Scenes from a Fiction Workshop
    by Paul West
  • Metaphors We Live By
    Metaphors We Live By
    by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson
  • The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain
    The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain
    by Alice Weaver Flaherty
  • Henry Miller on Writing (New Directions Paperbook)
    Henry Miller on Writing (New Directions Paperbook)
    by Henry Miller
  • Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Movie Set
    Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Movie Set
    by Tony Bill
  • Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form
    Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form
    by Madison Smartt Bell
  • New Grub Street (Broadview Editions)
    New Grub Street (Broadview Editions)
    by George Gissing
  • Nonconformity
    Nonconformity
    by Nelson Algren
  • On Becoming a Novelist
    On Becoming a Novelist
    by John Gardner
  • One Writer's Beginnings (The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization)
    One Writer's Beginnings (The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization)
    by Eudora Welty
  • On Writing Short Stories
    On Writing Short Stories
    Oxford University Press, USA
  • On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
    On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
    by Stephen King
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions (Oxford Paperback Reference)
    The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions (Oxford Paperback Reference)
    Oxford University Press, USA
  • Poetic Meter and Poetic Form
    Poetic Meter and Poetic Form
    by Paul Fussell
  • The Paris Review Interviews, Vols. 1-4
    The Paris Review Interviews, Vols. 1-4
    by The Paris Review
  • Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
    by Francine Prose
  • The Rhetoric of Fiction
    The Rhetoric of Fiction
    by Wayne C. Booth
  • The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life
    The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life
    by Julia Cameron
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
    Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
    by Renni Browne, Dave King
  • Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual)
    Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual)
    by Dan Poynter
  • Simple & Direct
    Simple & Direct
    by Jacques Barzun
  • Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences
    Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences
    by Kitty Burns Florey
  • The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
    The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
    by Vivian Gornick
  • The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
    The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
    by Ben Yagoda
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
    Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
    by Robert Mckee
  • Stylish Academic Writing
    Stylish Academic Writing
    by Helen Sword
  • Successful Television Writing
    Successful Television Writing
    by Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin
  • The Summing Up
    The Summing Up
    by W. Somerset Maugham
  • 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
    13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
    by Jane Smiley
  • Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
    Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
    by Peter Hanson, Paul Robert Herman
  • To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
    To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
    by Phillip Lopate
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
    by Scott Mccloud
  • What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    by Anne Bernays, Pamela Painter
  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    by Steven Pressfield
  • Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Plume
  • Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
    Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
    Modern Library
  • The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry
    The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry
    by Brooke A. Wharton
  • Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right: The Celebrated Cynic's Language Peeves Deciphered, Appraised, and Annotated for 21st-Century Readers
    Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right: The Celebrated Cynic's Language Peeves Deciphered, Appraised, and Annotated for 21st-Century Readers
    by Ambrose Bierce, Jan Freeman
  • The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
    The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
    Modern Library
  • The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    by Janet Sternberg
  • The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    by Christopher Vogler
  • The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
    The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
    by Brad Bunnin, Peter Beren
  • A Writer's Reality
    A Writer's Reality
    by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    by Kenneth Atchity
  • Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
    Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
    by William Zinsser
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
    by Natalie Goldberg (Author)
  • Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
    Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
    by L. Rust Hills
  • Writing for Your Life
    Writing for Your Life
    by Deena Metzger
  • The Writing Life
    The Writing Life
    by Annie Dillard
  • The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    by Marie Arana
  • The Writing of Fiction
    The Writing of Fiction
    by Edith Wharton
  • Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
    Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
    by Lawrence Block
  • Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    by Bonnie Friedman
  • You're a Genius All the Time: Belief and Technique for Modern Prose
    You're a Genius All the Time: Belief and Technique for Modern Prose
    by Regina Weinreich, Jack Kerouac
  • Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    by Ray Bradbury

 

ATW INTERVIEW

Tuesday
Jun212016

Jeff Pearlman

How did you become a writer?

I was a kid in Mahopac N.Y. who decided to write for my high school newspaper, The Chieftain. One of my early articles was a column on why cheerleading wasn't really a sport. I wrote it, and when it came out I was surrounded in the cafeteria by a bunch of angry cheerleaders, screaming at me. I was 17, sorta geeky, and these girls were beautiful and popular. And it was light a light bulb appeared over my head that screamed, "Holy shit! All this from writing!"

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

My dad, Stanley Herz, who authored a book, "Conquering the Corporate Career." Greg Orlando, a wonderful video game writer who attended the University of Delaware when I was there. Mike Freeman, longtime sports writer; Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald; Bill Fleischman, former Philly Daily News writer. Joe Lombardi, longtime sports editor of the Patent Trader in Cross River, N.Y.

When and where do you write?

Generally late into the nights, oftentimes at coffee shops near and far. I love the buzz of people surrounding me; the illusion of social interaction. I need that. Sitting near a buzzing refrigerator doesn't work.

What are you working on now?

I have a book out in November titled, "Gunslinger." It's a biography of Brett Favre.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

It's not something I get too often. But if I do I play some Xbox or take a walk or scream at the demons inside my skull. It passes.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Reporting is 1,000,000 times more important that writing. Tons upon tons of your competitors can also turn a quick phrase; create a cute lede. But will they outwork you? Will they make the extra call? Will they dig, then dig some more?

I'm the author of six books; former Sports Illustrated senior writer; blog regularly at www.jeffpearlman.com.

Tuesday
Jun142016

Patrick Flanery

How did you become a writer?

The flippant answer is that I wrote a book, the book helped me get an agent, the agent found me a publisher, and by some strange alchemy of creative effort and the whims of the market I ended up writing (and teaching writing) as a career. The more genuine answer is that I have been making up stories since I was a child, and I went to college first to learn how to tell stories visually, and later to learn about how stories on the page are constructed and circulated. I was lucky to have teachers who encouraged me, a mother who believed in me, a father who was a journalist and so demonstrated by example that one could write for a living, and a husband who supported me when I was jobless and could think of no other way to occupy myself than to write a novel.

My first book, Absolution, emerged out of a state of desperation. I had finished my doctorate in English Literature at Oxford and applied for over a hundred academic jobs in the US and the UK but got nowhere with any of the applications (I think I had a grand total of three interviews). Writing was a way of filling time, but also a means of working through the despair I was feeling. I knew that what I was writing had to be good, so I pushed myself harder than I had with anything else I had ever written. I remember feeling the physical exertion of writing that book. It took seven years from typing the first words to holding the first edition in my hands, so there was nothing quick or easy about it. Writing is difficult and to be a writer is, I still think, a constant process of becoming that involves dynamics of evolution, maturation, refinement, the incorporation of new influences, and the rejection of old ones. I had no romantic ideal of what being a writer would be like, but I knew instinctively, from quite early on, that my way of understanding the world involved the arrangement and constant rearrangement of words.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

When I wrote short stories in high school I was conscious of being influenced by Hemingway and E.M. Forster, but also by J.G. Ballard (in retrospect the combination of those three seems like some kind of unholy trinity). In college it was Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, and after college Iris Murdoch (The Sea, The Sea) and AS Byatt (Possession), but also the great Hungarian writer Péter Nádas, whose A Book of Memories I found completely dazzling. When I met my husband, who is South African, the constellation shifted, and I began reading J.M. Coetzee, who remains an important touchstone. The works of Philip Roth and Don DeLillo, Marilynne Robinson, Lydia Davis, Clarice Lispector, Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, Javier Marías, and Thomas Bernhard have been important more recently. And of course I am always conscious of the distant greats—for me a constellation of Melville, Kafka, Dostoevsky, and Proust—to whom I return over and over without ever quite being sure of how their influence operates.

When and where do you write?

I usually write at home in my study, which has a view of communal gardens. The cherry trees are just now coming into bloom (late this year), and there is a large horse chestnut where crows have been nesting. When I’m actively working on a book I try to keep bankers’ hours, nine to five, five days a week, although teaching means that the scheduling is frequently interrupted and I have to snatch time whenever it appears.

What are you working on now?

There’s a novel about Hollywood in the 1950s that I plan to revise this year, and I’m doing preliminary work on a follow-up to I Am No One. I can’t say yet whether this will be a sequel in any ordinary sense, but it will have the same narrator.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

When I’m in the midst of a project I sometimes go through periods of not being certain how to proceed, but this usually means that I need to give myself time to think through problems of plausibility or structure. With I Am No One there were two long gaps: three months from first having the idea to knowing that I was ready to start writing the book, and six months between finishing a first draft and really seeing how the book needed to end. Between books there are lulls, and during those stretches of time it is often difficult to see how fragmented bits of writing—short stories, memoir, essays—will coalesce into anything. It requires faith that all the parts will fit together again, and also a determination to think in a writerly way even when nothing publishable is being produced.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Read and write every day, eat well, sleep and nap and daydream, take all things in moderation, and be good to the people who can be trusted to pick you up when it seems as if there’s nothing left but doubt.

Patrick Flanery was born and raised in the US and now lives in London. He is the author of the novels Absolution (shortlisted for the IMPAC International Award, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, and the Flaherty-Dunnan Prize) and Fallen Land. His third novel, I Am No One, will be published by Tim Duggan Books/Crown in July 2016. His work has been translated into eleven languages and he is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Reading.

Tuesday
Jun072016

Kit de Waal

How did you become a writer?

I became a writer late in life. I’m nearly 56 and until I was 40 I didn’t really give it a thought, not seriously. Then I had a child that was sick and lots of time at home on my hands and just had a go.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

There were no teachers who believed in me but my mother always told us we were beautiful and clever and could basically do anything we wanted. So when I did think of becoming a writer I didn’t really have any doubt that I could do it. I did have doubts about other people liking my writing but not that I could get down, learn the craft and get something published, however small.  Apart from that, my inspirations and encouragement have all come from other writers, specifically Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola, Arnold Bennett, Graham Green, Patrick Hamilton, John le Carré - all men which isn’t something I like to boast about it’s just true.

When and where do you write?

I write at home usually. I’m not one for coffee shops unless I’m writing about a coffee shop and go for authenticity’s sake. I write late, starting around 9 pm and working until 4 a.m. I’m wrecked the next day but that’s just too bad, the night is my best time, everything is quiet, people are asleep, the world doesn’t know you’re watching and is likely to let down its guard.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a collection of short stories. Still scoping it out, still thinking about characters and lives and secrets. Soon as I have a grip on someone, I’m going to wrest them on to the page.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

No. But I suffer doubts.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Value your life experience. Value what you have to say. Value your voice. Imitate other writers while you’re learning, deconstruct their books and learn from them. Then break out and be you. There’s no substitute for the authentic self.

Kit de Waal is published in various anthologies (Fish Prize 2011 & 2012; ‘The Sea in Birmingham’ 2013; ‘Final Chapters’ 2013’ and ‘A Midlands Odyssey 2015) and on Radio 4 Readings. She came second in the Costa Short Story Prize 2014 with ‘The Old Man & The Suit’, second in the Bath Short Story Prize 2014 with ‘The Beautiful Thing’ and second in the Bare Fiction Flash Fiction Prize.  She won the Readers’ Prize at the Leeds Literary Prize 2014, and the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction 2014 and again in 2015.  Her first novel ‘My Name is Leon’ will be published by Penguin in June 2016. She lives in Leamington Spa, England with her two children.

Tuesday
May312016

Shobha Rao

How did you become a writer?

The question is not how. The question is why. It is always why, because if you know the why, you will always figure out the how. So, why? Because I wanted to live. And I saw no other way than to write. To let it out. To fill the emptiness. To wake up in the mornings, or afternoons, or the long, long night of what is called childhood, and make myself brave enough to live. That is why. 

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

I learned English at the age of seven, and I have never - not for a single day - been less than amazed by its power. Maybe all language has that power, but English happens to be the one I’ve known, embraced, fought, alienated, and tried to woo back with promises of love. And in these efforts, Laura Ingalls Wilder was my first weapon. Then I climbed the library shelves and found the rest.

When and where do you write? 

In a perfect world (and by that I mean the one dictated by whims that have no basis in reality), I would write from nine p.m. to three or four a.m., just before the sun begins to consider wandering across the bar to our damp and desperate bodies, hunched on red barstools. As it is, I write from late morning to early evening, in my dining room.

What are you working on now? 

A novel about one woman’s journey from innocence to evil, or maybe from evil to innocence. So basically, what everyone is working on. 

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? 

I like that it’s called writer’s block. It conjures up images of colorful wooden playthings scattered across a room carpeted in beige. The blocks could be words, and we are the baby: staring at them, alone, trying to figure out how to stack them. I suppose the answer is yes, but then again, I like the staring, and I like the alone.

What’s your advice to new writers?

My advice to new writers? I am a new writer. Every time I see a blank page, I am a new writer. So I have very little advice, except, maybe, that our only job is to fight oblivion. We won’t win, but we have to fight. And how much heart we put into that fight, knowing we will lose, is the measure of our lives.

Shobha Rao is the author of the collection of short stories, An Unrestored Woman, published by Flatiron Books. She is the winner of the 2014 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, awarded by Nimrod International Journal. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and is the recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation fellowship. Her story “Kavitha and Mustafa” was chosen by T.C. Boyle for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories 2015. She lives in San Francisco.

Tuesday
May242016

Adam Hochschild

How did you become a writer?

I began as a daily newspaper reporter, with dreams, not fulfilled, of becoming a novelist. I began to find my voice doing magazine-length articles and personal essays, then have spent most of the last 35 years writing nonfiction books.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

The best teacher I ever had was Prof. Albert Guerard, who taught a justly famous course on the modern novel. He was particularly interested in the process of how a writer finds his or her right voice and subject matter. Many writers have inspired me: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Orwell, the list could go on for a long time. A particular favorite of mine, not so well known: Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet novels about the last days of British India.

When and where do you write?

Whenever I can! I used to think that writers could only work in a quiet room, in the morning, with no distractions. But once I had children, I realized you have to seize every moment you can. Before they get up, when they’re sleeping, on airplanes, wherever.

What are you working on now? 

Some articles and book reviews while I try to figure out what my next book will be.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? 

Not really. But I have terrible subject-matter block. Sometimes it takes me a year or two to figure out the subject for my next book. There are many things I’m interested in, but figuring out how to write something different from the book or books that made me interested is always difficult.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Don’t quit your day job—now, or possibly ever. Be relentless in asking others to read what you write, and give you frank and honest feedback. Any time you encounter something that moves and inspires you—book, short story, article, radio piece, film—go back over, take it apart, figure out how it was put together and what you can learn from it.

Adam Hochschild’s writing has usually focused on human rights and social justice. His books include King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, which won a J. Anthony Lukas Award in the United States, and the Duff Cooper Prize in England. Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves was a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. For the body of his work, he has received awards from the Lannan Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. His Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 appeared in 2016.