I get a lot of ideas on the freeway, with the landscape flying by. I write things down on Post-it notes and stick them on my computer. I'm making notes all the time about a body of little thoughts and riffs that I'm constantly reshaping, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm watching TV. All these Post-its are sitting on my computer.
The better the view is, the less I'm focusing on what I need to do. I used to face palm trees and a pool; now my office is painted dark like a cave and I draw the curtains.
"North of Montana"
Generally, I get inspired by swimming with the masters at the Palisades Y in the Temescal Canyon. It's so beautiful there in the morning. It's freezing when you start, but then a hawk lands on the telephone pole and the sun comes over the rise and warms the water. By the time the workout is over, you feel like you've survived something, like you can face the blank page.
I also get inspired by doing the research and talking to people who have knowledge of what I'm talking about, coming face-to-face with people who do what my characters do, basically human contact. I like talking with cops; they're real-world people.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
How to Get There Here is how to find the events and places mentioned in the accompanying article. All are in Los Angeles unless otherwise noted:
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be held Saturday and Sunday on the UCLA campus. Children's events will occur on The Times Storytelling Stage and the Target Stage in the Children's Quad on the half-hour from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Sunday. Events for teens will take place on the Etc. Stage in Perloff Quad, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. both days.
Central Library, 650 W. 5th St., (213) 228-7000
Eagle Rock, 5027 Caspar Ave., (323) 258-8078
El Sereno, 4990 Huntington Drive, (323) 225-9201
Pio Pico-Koreatown, 695 S. Serrano Ave., (213) 368-7282
Westchester, 8946 Sepulveda Eastway, (310) 645-6082
Pages Books for Children and Young Adults, 18399 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. (818) 342-6657
Storyopolis, 116 N. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 358-2500
Children's Book World, 10580 1/2 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 559-2665
Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110
Dutton's Brentwood Books, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. (310) 476-6263
Borders, 1415 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 393-9290
Barnes & Noble, 111 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 585-0362
Barnes & Noble, 1201-3 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 260-9110
Barnes & Noble, 10850 Pico Blvd., Westwood. (310) 475-4144
Borders, 100 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale. (818) 241-8099
The Getty Center, Getty Center Drive, Brentwood. (310) 440-7300
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 857-6000
--Compiled by Michele Botwin