“As we’ve found with movies and TV shows, the most popular books set in each state can be pretty surprising. For every obvious To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s the unexpected appearance of a lesser-known novel, like Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress in Maryland.”—Kevin O’Keeffe at .Mic
“It might sound cheesy, but I think writing is a kind of a journey. For me, especially if I’m working on a novel, it takes at least a year of fumbling around before I really get anywhere. As you try to imagine yourself into this world, it’s a process of writing stuff, throwing it out, writing, throwing it out. You’re trying to create this place for yourself inside your head; it’s very hard to get to that place, and it takes a long time to get there. But then, finally, there is the sense that maybe you’ve arrived, though you’ve had to discard a ton of stuff along the way.”—Anna North at The Atlantic
“LA today is too explicit. There are too many people. There are too many cars. There are too many people walking down the street checking their text messages or their emails. There’s a giant safe-sex billboard a couple of blocks from where I live with a picture of a condom with the words ‘Why worry?’ emblazoned on it. That’s too explicit for me.”—James Ellroy at Vice
“Masterpieces, by their nature, pierce. They jar and unsettle. If something in a literary masterpiece upsets you, should the masterpiece really be banished? What will you be left with when all of them are gone?”—Peggy Noonan at Wall Street Journal
“Avoid your own ego. If you are self-publishing, don’t think that your first draft is perfect. Get Beta-readers, get content editors—oftentimes fellow authors will do you a favor. Then pay a copy-editor. Make your work as pristine as possible. After all, it’s going to have your name on it.”—Laurie Stevens at Bad Citizen Corporation
“(Pitch sessions are) an evil born of writing conference and writers’ understandable eagerness to get in front of as many agents as possible. If querying is a numbers game (it can seem that way) then meeting with as many agents as possible at a writing conference seems like a good idea.”—Janet Reid at Jet Reid Literary
“A younger person is interested in themes of fiction, the meaning of life. I’m 62. I don’t need to think about the meaning of life. I got it.”—Eric Bogosian at The Boston Globe
S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published in 2016.