The opening of a book has to accomplish many objectives, the chief one being to hook the reader so she reads on, and that makes it tough to write. I end up writing my openings a zillion times and tweaking words endlessly. In Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller, set in the gang underworld of Los Angeles, I decided I had to introduce the reader to my protagonist Mags’s world first because it’s a subculture most are not going to be familiar with. I also am partial to openings that seem like, well, openings. I like to start with a paragraph that has a little majesty to it because it heralds the start of a grand adventure I will take you on and that deserves a tiny bit of pomp. From there on, I ease the reader into this world and the story of Mags.