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Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich lives in New York City, where he is an editor at The Paris Review. He is the author of San Francisco Noir and The Mayor's Tongue is his[…]

Rich wrote his novel in secret.

Question: How do you write?

Nathaniel Rich: I wrote a big part of- of The Mayor's Tongue before I started working at The Paris Review. I did a lot of the editing while I was there, but basically I write at night if I don't go out and get too drunk, or I write- and I write on the weekends a lot. And, you know, with The Mayor's Tongue it was not an ideal situation because it was written over five or six years and there were a lot of stops and starts.

There was a- a year-- you know, at one point there was a- a year that I just took off early in the process. And when I was writing- when I was-- for a year and a half I lived in San Francisco between jobs when I was writing a book on Film Noir called San Francisco Noir, and I was writing that book in the morning, and in the afternoon I'd write the novel, but I wouldn't tell anybody about that. But that was when I did-- I was- I felt like I was wasting my- I was sort of screwing around, but I- I- actually that was definitely the most productive year in my life, or year and a half. And I wrote, you know, most of- I wrote one book- a short book on Film Noir and most of the novel in that period, and it's something I miss, but it's- my job is such that, you know, we're a literary quarterly so it's not- it doesn't have the same demand that a- a newspaper would have or even a monthly magazine. So I do have some time to myself to- to write as well.

Recorded On:3/17/2008