I grew up during the Cold War, when everything seemed very tenuous. For many years, right up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, I had vivid nightmares of nuclear apocalypse.
My theory of characterization is basically this: Put some dirt on a hero, and put some sunshine on the villain, one brush stroke of beauty on the villain.
When you write, you take the ball and you hold it up to the light and you turn it slowly, and let people draw their own conclusions. And try to bring empathy to all sides of the equation.
One of the traps or the pitfalls of writing a trilogy - or a triptych, or whatever term you want to use - is that the second book can be a long second act to get you from book one to book three, which borrows all of its energy from the first book.
I'm an ecumenical reader, grew up with all sorts of fiction, teach writing, went to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, so my tastes and interests are broad.
If you write a good action sequence well in a novel, you're already writing it for film, because the only way to do it well is to use some of the same tricks. They're rhetorical, not visual, but it's the same move.
Vampires have always been hot. They are one of our most durable monsters. It's one of those stories that galvanizes us early and it's always going on.
And indeed, I am a warmhearted and thoroughly domestic man who gets up and makes pancakes for his children and kisses them on the head when he sends them off to their day.
If you try to write 1,000 words a day, as I do, after 100 days you'll look up and have a book. It may be a mess, and you may have to revise it 50 times, but you can't revise it if you haven't written it.
The future that I will not live to see is the one my children will live in. That's my immortality. And I shouldn't try to mortgage theirs for my benefit.
One of the things I constantly think about as a writer is the way in which people are full of contradictions - there's all this contradictory information inside a human personality.
I think many years ago I got on a bus in L.A. and drove around to see the stars' homes, but that's the extent of my direct experience in Hollywood.
That literary-popular distinction is, in my view, vastly overstated. At the far poles there are clearly books that are purely commercial and purely literary, written for audiences that want to see the same thing enacted over and over and over again. But the middle is where most people read and most people write.
I came to Houston for a job, the reason most people move halfway across the country with a first grader and a five-week-old. I came here to teach at Rice.
I'm still an English professor at Rice University here in Houston. They've been very generous in letting me on a very long leash to just work on 'The Passage' and its sequels.
Every book has got its challenges. You run into a plot point that you can't figure out, or a scene that you struggle to write and have to write 50 times.
There's an outline for each of the books that I adhere to pretty closely, but I'm not averse to taking it in a new direction, as long as I can get it back to where I need it to go.
I tend to start at 9 o'clock in the morning and write until 3. Those are my best hours. They fit the other rhythms of the world. So I write for six hours, pretty much without any breaks.
I'm a workmanlike writer. I show up every day and treat it like a job. The old rule that writing is like any other job, the first rule is that you must show up. I'm at the keyboard from 9 to 4 every day.
I've never written a movie, I'm not in the movie business. I go out to L.A. and I'm like everyone else wandering around in a daze hoping I see movie stars. I write the novels that the movies are based on, and that feels like enough of a job for me.