Walter Mosley on Writing a Book

From a interview with novelist Walter Mosley:

Walter Mosley’s The Awkward Black Man is available now, so we asked him some questions about audience, interviews, and writing advice.

Who do you most wish would read your book?
I once explained my audience by saying that I imagined being on a train or a bus sitting side by side with my favorite older cousin, Alberta Jackson. I’d be telling her stories about Easy Rawlins or his murderous friend Mouse. She’d be all excited and worried about Easy.

Sitting behind us is some person we don’t know and aren’t thinking about. That unknown person is my audience. They’re eavesdropping on my story and responding in ways I have no idea of. That way my writing, storytelling cannot be swayed by opinions external to the world I’m talking about.

What time of day do you write?
First thing when I wake up in the morning.

How do you tackle writer’s block?
I start writing something else.

Which books do you return to again and again?
One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Stranger, The Simple Stories, and about a thousand poems. I’m also a sucker for the first hundred issues of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Right after I signed the deal to publish Devil in a Blue Dress my friend Frederic said to me, “Start writing a new book. Finish that before this one comes out. Doing so you will have finished what you wanted to write without worrying about what everyone else loved or hated.”

What was the first book you fell in love with?
Winnie the Pooh. Because it took me away into my own imagination.

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