Sunday, November 15, 2009
ROGUE MALES: SUBJECT #6, ELMORE LEONARD
(Author’s note: Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life, is a collection of author interviews. It includes Pete Dexter, James Ellroy, Daniel Woodrell, Kinky Friedman and James Crumley. Rogue Males also features an account of a trip to the desert to interview crime fiction greats Ken Bruen and James Sallis about the craft of writing. During the next few weeks, I’m sharing a little background about each of the 16 writers featured in Rogue Males.)
Rogue Males opens with a section called “The Legends” focusing on James Crumley and Elmore Leonard.
Across the spectrum of writers spotlighted in Rogue Males, Elmore “Dutch” Leonard is the true veteran with a fiction career extending back to 1953 — the year Argosy published Leonard’s first Western short story.
Leonard continued to work in the Western field, juggling low-paying fiction writing with his day job in advertising.
In 1969, Leonard switched genres — moving to crime fiction with his novel The Big Bounce.
Yet Leonard’s crime fiction breakout novel didn’t come until 1995 with the release of Glitz, the novel that transformed Leonard into a 32-years-in-the-making, overnight sensation.
The interview in Rogue Males was conducted the day after Leonard’s 82nd birthday.
Elmore Leonard interview excerpt: “My editor will tell me more and more books are sounding like mine and that I’ve opened the door for a certain type of writers. It’s funny though, because when I’m sent a manuscript by the publishers, there’ll be a reference to the fact that this guy supposedly sounds like me. I don’t see it at all.”
NEXT UP: STEPHEN CANNELL