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Author Don Winslow on How He Boarded the Train to Literary Success

With the release of Oliver Stone’s new film Savages, a broader audience is set to discover the wondrous fiction of source author Don Winslow.

Winslow has already received much critical praise and royalties for a series of books framed around the notorious drug-dealing past of Laguna Beach. Before Savages and the just-released prequel The Kings of Cool, there was the author’s debut 1997 effort. As Winslow explains in today’s must-read OC Weekly cover story by Nick Schou, he cranked out that work from a very unusual perch:

Everything changed with The Death and Life of Bobby Z, which led to a three-book deal that allowed him to become a full-time writer. Winslow wrote the book on the train between San Juan Capistrano and downtown LA’s Union Station, during his commute to and from his day job.

Each leg of the journey took just more than an hour, and Winslow wrote one chapter per trip, two per day. “When I’d hear the conductor say, ‘Union Station, 10 minutes,’ whatever was happening in that chapter, I’d wrap it up,” he recalls. “It worked miracles.”

There is much, much more in Schou’s interview piece about the ins and outs of Winslow’s creative process. The author, a one-time NYC theater manager, Kenyan safari guide and California-roaming private investigator, is a true original. And in this case, Winslow’s evolving body of work has been wonderfully sea salted by Schou’s alt weekly cover story.

[Jacket cover courtesy: Vintage]

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