The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Picture of Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg

Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty, 2018

Tod Goldberg is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including Gangster Nation, Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize, The House of Secrets, which he co-authored with Brad Meltzer, Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, two collections of short stories, and the popular Burn Notice series. His short stories, essays, and criticism, have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Black Clock, the Normal School, Las Vegas Weekly, and, recently, Best American Essays. In addition, he is also the co-host of the immensely popular podcast Literary Disco along with Julia Pistell and Rider Strong. He holds an MFA fiction and literature from Bennington College and founded and directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside. 

Selected Media

"Behind the story of Gangster Nation with Tod Goldberg." Terry Ambrose (Sep 7, 2017).

"Gangsters, rabbis, and September 11, 2001 might seem like an odd combination, but they all play a part in New York Times bestseller Tod Goldberg’s latest funny noir thriller Gangster Nation. Like the first in the series, Gangster Nation is about a  guy in a bad situation because the choices he’s made haven’t turned out well. And isn’t that always where a good story starts?"

"Writers Resist: New York Times Instant Bestselling Author onTod Goldberg on Joining the Company of Lions." Suzanne DeWitt Hall, The Huffington Post (Jan 30, 2017).

"The morning after the election, I flew to Reno, NV, where I was being honored by the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame with their Silver Pen Award. My wife doesn’t like to fly, so she left early that same morning to make the 8 hour drive from our home in Palm Springs to Reno, so I was on the plane by myself. It was nine in the morning. The flight, a connector through Phoenix, was half-full. I hadn’t slept the night before, or at least I didn’t think I had, and as I sat there watching people board around me, everyone looked the same: drawn, weary, sad. There was a couple sitting across the aisle from me, an older man and woman, and they had the newspaper with them. The woman started to read it and the man said, “I can’t. I just can’t.” And then both of them started to cry. And then I started to cry. And then looking around I saw that even more people were crying. It was like that in the airport Phoenix, too. People staring at their phones, crying."

"The Royal Plaza Inn." Tod Goldberg, Angels Flight Literary West (Feb 24, 2017). See also "The Salt" from The Nervous Breakdown.

"I’m on the phone one night with my older sister, Linda, and somehow we end up commiserating about the shotgun vacations we took with the strange men our mother dated.
You know these places.
It’s not like where I live now, where everything is just right.
You’ve been. You know. Everything was cockeyed. That was something people used to say.
Up the coast you’d go. Gold Rush towns. Evergreens. Ponds with no fish, but you’d try to fish."

"Tod Goldberg: The TNB Self-Interview." Tod Goldberg, The Nervous Breakdown (Sep 28, 2017).

"Q: What have you learned from writing a sequel?

I’ve learned that it’s harder than I thought. I’ve written series fiction before – I wrote five Burn Notice books – but with a character like Michael Westen, who was fixed in place in the books, it was essentially a process of finding new stories to tell without fundamentally altering the character in the least [ . . . ] But with Gangster Nation, all of the characters from the previous book (that are still living) are in the midst of some profound personal changes, the timeline has jumped forward two years, and the plot – while still hinging on the key plot point that a Chicago hitman is pretending to be a Las Vegas rabbi – has moved forward on several different fronts."


Literary Disco.

"We're Julia, Tod, and Rider -- three good friends who also happen to be huge book nerds. [ . . . ] We're writers, but we've always been readers first and foremost. Since the three of us have been talking and arguing about books for years, we decided to start recording some of our conversations. And since 2012, we've been doing just that. You can read about our humble beginnings on The Rumpus. or you can simply go back to the first episode and begin binging."