People, in my long experience, want to talk. They may believe they wish to keep secrets, and they may believe that they are capable of doing so. But the truth is that secrets exist to be revealed; and it is usually very easy to find the combination of words that will cause them to emerge.
Same thing for the bad guy. People were really after this guy Radovan Karadicz. But I came up with a combination of several people, who then became The Fox. That's who Simon Hunt and Duck are after. I did that so I could have freedom with what The Fox said and did, so that I didn't have to be stuck. Certain things I wanted to stay to the truth. Certain things I changed, and certain things are the facts.
The 250-page outline for American Tabloid. The books are so dense. They're so complex, you cannot write like I write off the top of your head. It's the combination of that meticulousness and the power of the prose and, I think, the depth of the characterizations and the risks that I've taken with language that give the books their clout. And that's where I get pissed off at a lot of my younger readers.