Interview With The Author: Charles Salzberg

by John Dwaine McKenna

We’re talking with Charles Salzberg, the creative genius behind the always entertaining antics of Henry Swann, one of the best Private Eyes to come a-sleuthing since Sam Spade was messing around with Mrs. Archer.  Thanks for agreeing to an interview with The Mysterious Book Report.  Our readers and fans are eager to hear your thoughts, writing tips and opinions, so here’s the first question:

Why do you write?

Because it’s one of the few things I can do fairly well and because, by this point in my life, it defines me.

Where do you write? 

I write on my computer at my desk. I wish I could be one of those people who

write in a coffee shop, or under a tree in the park, but I’m easily distracted and so I’d never get anything done.

Do you plot-outline or wing it?

Totally wing. Not only don’t I know what’s going to happen on the next page, I don’t even know what’s going to happen in the next paragraph.

Do you read your reviews? 

Never. (That’s a total lie. I read every one of them, though if it looks bad I skim it.  And I only believe the bad reviews, not the good ones.)

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can as often as you can and never, ever give up.

Where do you get most, some, or any your story ideas from?

      I hear voices from beyond that offer me ideas. Oh, wait, that’s probably the TV. I get most of my ideas from stuff I read or hear about.

Do you use long, detailed and in-depth descriptions of your characters and their environs? 

No. If I did, I’d probably bore myself to death. But seriously, I rarely describe my main characters. I’d rather the reader imagine what he or she looks like.

Do you have any other comments, suggestions, tips, anecdotes, quotes or inspirational material you’d like to share? 

This quote from the poet Muriel Rukeyser “Live mercifully, write mercilessly.” 

Where could you be reached on the World Wide Web?, Facebook: (Charles Salzberg and Charles Salzberg Author) Twitter:  @Charlessalzberg.


Many thanks, Charles, for sharing your knowledge with all of us, and please, stay in touch.  We’d like to know if and when Goldblatt ever comes clean!

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     Bio: Charles Salzberg, a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer, is author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, Swann’s Way Out, and Devil in the Hole, named one of the best crime novels of the year by Suspense magazine and Second Story Man, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Crime Novel of 2018. He teaches writing at the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member, and he is on the board of Mystery Writers of America, MWA-NY.