The author probably best known for his detective novels featuring private eye Easy Rawlins appeared at the Off the Shelf literary festival.
New Yorker Mosley is a prolific writer whose work spans genres from science fiction to non-fiction.
He read from new Easy Rawlins novel Little Green, in which he plucks his hero from the brink of death.
He admitted that he almost left Easy at the bottom of a cliff where he landed up in Blonde Faith.
He said: “In my head it was getting stale. I don’t imagine a book, I find it. I didn’t know he was going to be dead until just before I wrote it. All of a sudden he’s over the side of a mountain. It felt really good.
“About five or six years later I thought I can move Easy along in history to a time period that is almost modern, to Sunset Strip and the hippie movement. I felt I was able to look at the world in a different way.”
Mosley spoke of his frustration at dealing with TV and film producers who want to tone down the racism that is portrayed in his work.
As a black man in 1950s LA, Easy comes across racial prejudice – sometimes threatening his life – all the time.
Mosley points out that he is one of the few US authors to give a voice to black male heroes.
He said the election of President Obama has given young people hope that they could do it too but nothing much has changed in a country where millions of young black men are in the prison system.
He spoke of his anger at “immoral governments and corporations”.and likened present-day capitalism to white sugar. “It tastes pure but it will kill you.”