Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Tod Goldberg. His critically acclaimed new story collection, The Low Desert, is available from Counterpoint.

 

This is Tod’s third time on the program. He first appeared in Episode 320 on October 12, 2014, and again in Episode 488, on October 18, 2017.

Goldberg is the author of more than a dozen books, including Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize; Gangster Nation; The House of Secrets, which he coauthored with Brad Meltzer; and the crime-tinged novels Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Fake Liar Cheat, plus five novels in the popular Burn Notice series. He is also the author of the story collection Simplify, a 2006 finalist for the SCIBA Award for Fiction and winner of the Other Voices Short Story Collection Prize, and Other Resort Cities. His essays, journalism, and criticism have appeared in many publications, including the Los Angeles TimesThe Wall Street JournalLos Angeles Review of BooksLas Vegas Weekly, and Best American Essays, among many others, and have won five Nevada Press Association Awards. He lives in Indio, California, where he directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

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todgoldbergheadcolorYour last book came out in 2011. It’s 2014. What have you been doing all this time?

Honestly? Writing. And writing and writing and writing. But sometimes, that just means I’m not writing at all, I’m just thinking about writing, thinking about what I haven’t written, thinking about what I’d like to write, thinking about maybe never writing again because, these days, there’s just an awful lot of good stuff on TV and if my choice is to sit quietly in my office writing murder stories or watching an infinite number of episodes of Chopped, well, Chopped wins. It’s a sickness, it really is. I find it profoundly, psychically comforting to watch other people cook food I’ll never eat while I – with absolutely no acuity in the field whatsoever – make snap judgments on the quality, taste, and general success or failure of the meal.

Gangsterland_FINALPrologue

April 1998

When Sal Cupertine was going to kill a guy, he’d walk right up and shoot him in the back of the head. Shoot someone in the face, there’s a good chance they’ll survive. Sal never messed around with a gut shot or trying to get someone in the heart. It was stupid and made a mess. You get told to kill a guy, you killed a guy. You didn’t leave it up to variations in the wind and barometric pressure and all that Green Beret shit he saw on TV. No, Sal knew, you just went up and did it. Be professional about it and no one suffers.