The interviews with a dozen Northern California authors will be of interest to apprentice novelists, students of contemporary literature, and Bay Area narcissists for whom any detail about their comer of the world is sacrosanct. The question-and-answer sessions with the novelists were mostly tape-recorded Paris Review fashion. We learn their writing habits, how they got started, what drives them on. Long-established writers like Kay Boyle, Wallace Stegner and Jessamyn West appear, as well as such newer faces as Peter Beagle, Leonard Gardner, and Don Carpenter. Whatever their proximity, their settings are diverse; Ernest J. Gaines, for instance, has kept to the struggle of the blacks in Louisiana, his home state, while Evan S. Connell, Jr., dwells on the upper middle class in the midwest of his birth. It's hard, in fact, to spot any Northern California characteristics they share, but they all have thought about their craft and talk about it with aplomb. The interplay of the replies is interesting. Several complain about how hard it is to write, and then Herbert Gold comes along and says they've left out part of the story: they are masochists who enjoy their agony. The comments of James Leigh, Gardner, and Carpenter should tempt anyone who hasn't discovered their novels to check them out.