Reading Matters

Five things about novelist Amor Towles

Five things to know about Amor Towles, author of “A Gentleman in Moscow,” and the bestselling novel, “Rules of Civility.” Towles will speak at the 46th Annual Queens Books and Author Luncheon on March 7. His new novel is about a Russian aristocrat living under house arrest in a luxury hotel for more than 30 years.

1. Towles is an ardent Led Zeppelin fan, according to The Writer magazine.

2. He is a former investment executive who retired in 2013 thanks to the success of his first novel, “Rules of Civility,” a novel that took seven years to complete.

3. Towles told The Writer: “I almost never start with inspiration. If you start to write a scene or an idea, if you can stick at that for 20 minutes, eventually you can get ost n the process and the creative function takes over. The imagination suddenly kicks in. You almost have to dive in and start to work, and eventually, if youget in the groove, you can flourish.”

4. Towles does not share his work while writing his first draft, he told the Wall Street Journal. When he’s completed that draft, he gives copies on the same day to the following: his wife, his New York editor, his London editor, his agent and four friends. He asks for feedback within three weeks. He then uses that feedback to begin revising. For both novels, he revised the initial draft three times over three years.

5. As a boy of 10, Towles told the Wall Street Journal, he threw a bottle with a note into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of summer. A few weeks later, there was a letter waiting for him on New York Times stationery. Harrison Salisbury, the managing editor of the Times, had found the bottle, and he and Towles ended up corresponding for many years. Salisbury makes a cameo appearance in “A Gentleman in Moscow.”