Friday, April 6, 2012

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard's latest novel, his 45th, is Raylan.

From the author's Q & A with Megan Abbott at the Los Angeles Times Magazine:

Who did you read when you were starting out?

Hemingway, [but] I never cared for the man. I used to read a lot of him till I learned he had no sense of humor.

Did you read many of the hard-boiled masters?

Never read Chandler. Not much Hammett. James M. Cain was an influence way back. Spillane, I haven’t read in 40, 50 years. I remember his first books, thinking, Man, this guy is good. And I met him—good guy. But he remained the same. His books never changed.

While Spillane is often accused of sexism, you seem to love women.

Years ago, a reviewer for the Detroit News said my female characters were like Spillane’s. After that, I paid more attention. I don’t think of them as women. I think of them as a person and go from there. Sometimes female characters start out as the wife or girlfriend, but then I realize, “No, she’s the book,” and she becomes a main character. I surrender the book to her. A few years ago, my researcher gave me this photo: a female marshal in front of Miami’s courthouse—this Colombian drug trial. It was her and another marshal, and she was just standing there with a shotgun, hip cocked and angled, holding it half up. And I thought, She’s a knockout. And she’s a book.

Is a lot of you in Raylan?

I...[read on]
See--Elmore Leonard's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue