* Author of the new novel "L.A. Requiem."
(The Los Angeles Times, June 10, 1999)

Literary Explorations:
Weekends are a wonderful time to search for settings to use in
my books. I was jogging around Lake Hollywood and thought
it a very L.A. kind of place to find a body, so that's what I did
in "L.A. Requiem." I found a park in the mountains above Encino
that had once been a Cold War missile base and thought it a fine
place for a clandestine meeting, so it's in the new book also. I call
these exploratory wanderings of mine "research." My wife calls
them "goofing off." Clearly, she doesn't understand the literary

Inspiration Points:
Whenever I'm running short of inspiration, I enjoy visiting the
former homes of L.A.'s literary legends. I'll cruise James M.
Cain's old place in North Hollywood, Robert Heinlein's home in
Laurel Canyon, then maybe bounce down to La Jolla to pay homage
to Raymond Chandler or up to Santa Barbara for Ross Macdonald
and Margaret Millar. The energy these writers left behind is invigorating.

Finding Fish:
One of my favorite places to shop is Chinatown on Saturday morning.
I go early to beat the traffic, then spend a couple hours drifting between
the fish markets for things that I can grill or use in seafood gumbo. I love
to cook for friends and family and, unlike writing, the creative rewards
are immediate.

Slow Down:
I like to run and go to the gym during the week, but on weekends I take long
walks with my daughter. We'll walk along Mulholland Drive or on San Vicente
Boulevard from Brentwood to the beach or along  Ventura Boulevard. L.A. is
a great driver's town, but I've found that there's more to see if you get out of
your car and walk.

Flying High:
A few years ago I took up flying and am now a private pilot. Early Sunday
mornings are a great time for a short day trip, say, flying north to Mojave
Airport in the Antelope Valley. Crazy, brilliant people are building plastic
spaceships up there. Edwards Air Force Base with all its classified projects
is there. You can get a pretty good hamburger at Fox Field. Any fan of "The
X-Files" would love it.

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