When Swain (The Night Monster) appears at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 23, the Odessa resident will participate in a panel on the emerging industry of e-books. Swain, 54, will bring his personal experiences to the table. This month, he's releasing his first four e-books — Wild Card, Jackpot, The Program and The Man Who Cheated Death.
What's on your nightstand?
I read eclectic things. Writers are like musicians. What they tend to like isn't what everybody likes. I've got Tom (T.J.) Waters' Prior to the Snap. It's about intelligence gathering in the NFL. It's a very smart book on how teams go about finding each other's weaknesses. I'm also reading Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by James McManus. He points out that the game of poker is uniquely American, and I'm actually going back and re-reading parts. I even refer people to it, especially young people. Poker is a game devised by crooks and criminals. He points this out with incredible language.
Do you stay away from reading mysteries and thrillers because that's your genre?
I always am reading a mystery. I think the best in the field is Michael Connelly. I save his books, and I just got one Harry Bosch book that he wrote early on, The Black Ice from 1993. It's pure pleasure. His books have a structure I marvel at. He reminds me of why I got into mysteries.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer