The good people at Desert Companion — the magazine of KNPR in Las Vegas — asked about how hard it is to think about bad, bad things all day long:

September 1 sees the publication of Gangster Nation, by novelist and former Las Vegan Tod Goldberg, the follow-up to his Vegas-set best-seller Gangsterland. What’s important about the setting isn’t just where, but when: September 2001. Obviously, a lot of themes come together in the narrative, but at its most elemental level, it’s about a mob hitman, Sal Cupertine, who’s masquerading as Las Vegas rabbi David Cohen while doing favors for his old masters — and who wants out. Complications ensue. Violence ensues.

What’s it like to climb into the heads of such violent characters for the long period it takes to write a novel? Let’s ask!

How hard is it to get into the violent mind-set required of your crime fiction?

It’s not terribly difficult, because I think the violence in my books has always sprung out of characters involving themselves in situations where their best intentions swing out of their control, so there’s usually a lead up to the violence, an escalation in screw-ups that results, eventually, in someone getting killed. But I’ve made a concerted effort these last several years to not make the violence in my books cartoonish — I try to make it as messy and realistic as possible, both in the violence itself and then the consequences of the violence — because I think there’s a responsibility involved in what I do. I’m not trying to make this stuff look cool.

Read the rest here. 

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