Joe Wambaugh is one of my all-time, favorite authors. Out of circulation for many years, his first new book in more than 10 years, Hollywood Station, is due out next month. In this LA Times interview he discusses his motivations and methods. Here's just a sample:
And so I began interviewing police officers, 54 of them this time, over dinner and drinks, usually four at a time and segregated by gender so that women would feel freer to complain about male cops and vice versa. For fellow writers interested in my method, I can tell you that female officers are cheaper dates. It takes, on average, 2 1/2 drinks to get male cops talking freely. Women will unload after smelling the cork. And the women are not afraid to express powerful emotions, the stuff of storytelling.
Read the whole thing!