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Author Daniel Nieh and looking towards the L.A. Times Festival of Books

Join a conversation with author Daniel Nieh as he talks about mystery thrillers, international intrigue and attending the book festival for the first time.

photo of a box with books stacked on top

The LA Times Festival of Books returns to USC this weekend! Trousdale is expected to be filled with over 150,000 people eager to dive into the different worlds of literature. Over 300 exhibitions and more than 500 authors will be in attendance including author Daniel Nieh (knee-aye). He will be at the festival for the first time with his most recent book Take No Names. This heist thriller comes out in paperback in a couple of weeks.

Although he has been to two other book festivals, Nieh explains the significance of this book festival. A festival that allows for readers and authors to connect on a personal level.

Daniel Nieh: It’s an opportunity for people who maybe mostly spend their time writing in a little, you know, tree house or cave or whatever to get out interact and learn about readers and what they’re interested in and opportunities for readers to interact with writers. And everyone gets together and socializes at the same time. You know, it gives us authors a chance to talk about our work and the platform other than social media, you know, and it gives people who want to buy books the opportunity to kind of browse in a way that you can still do in a bookstore.

As well as connecting with readers, Nieh emphasizes the excitement that comes with connecting with fellow authors.

Nieh: To see just this packed room full of people who are just stoked on books on a Saturday morning is a wonderful feeling for a writer. So I don’t think I’ve changed individual things that I do. But when I go to a book festival after spending, you know, months and years on my own wondering if anyone’s ever going to read this writing, if people are excited about books when there’s always Netflix, you know, it’s a really great feeling to just feel the enthusiasm at book festival.

Nieh also dived into his passion for writing and what motivates him.

Nieh: To me when I write. I’m just trying to tell a story that is interesting, exciting, and emotionally resonant to me personally. So in many ways, I’m just trying to write a book like the book I would like to read or have. Say No Names, I was thinking about that joy of reading feeling when you’re dying to know what happens next. And you get to the end of the chapter and like, you know, you should go to the gym or even like, the bathroom, but like, you’ve got to read that next chapter and it’s just like downhill skiing. Like, you just it feels like you lose yourself in a story. So that’s the kind of experience I’m trying to offer through this book, because I remember, you know, reading exciting page-turning thrillers that I lost myself in.

When asked about his goal while writing a book, Nieh mentioned writing a book that reminds him of how he fell in love with the pages.

Nieh: I remember, you know, reading exciting page-turning thrillers that I lost myself in. It’s so hard these days to lose track of time, and I’m trying to write a story that allows readers that experience.

To hear more about Take No Names, catch Nieh at his mystery thriller international intrigue panel on Sunday from 10 to 11 a.m. For Annenberg Media I’m Andie Kalinowski.