Friday, July 26, 2013

Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman's latest novel is Flashpoint.

From his Q & A with J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet:

JKP: Like your fellow mystery writers Dorothy L. Sayers and Philip Kerr, you started out doing advertising work. Can you tell us what you did in that field?

EG: I started out as a copywriter in Des Moines, then worked by phone and mail for a small group in Chicago, then went back to Cedar Rapids and worked there for three different agencies, and finally had a three-person shop of my own. I worked for a time out of Chicago producing commercials.

I should say here that in my 18 years of editing Mystery Scene I probably talked to 50 writers who were or had been in advertising, and only three or four of them had anything good to say about the experience. I met some decent, humane people, for sure, in the business, but more often than not I met people who saw advertising as this great romantic calling. I worked for two weeks for a creative director who said that if you didn’t own a Porsche after two years of working for him you weren’t doing your job. A deep thinker, obviously. He just couldn’t believe I was walking away from such a very nice salary. That was when I started writing political speeches. I’m sure I learned things writing copy. Brevity if nothing else.

JKP: In what year did you stop drinking, and why?

EG: In May of 1974. One Friday night I got into some drunken, angry scene in a restaurant and was reminded of this by a young woman who called me at 2 a.m. She said she’d gotten my name off a toilet wall. I still have no idea who she was. Or why she called. I remember, being semi-sober by then, telling her all sorts of lies about myself. We must have talked for half an hour.

When I woke up the next morning one of the first things I thought of was going to a pawn shop and buying a gun. I really was at the end. My life was completely out of control. I’d realized that for years, but for some reason that morning I couldn’t handle it any longer. I’d destroyed a marriage, been a terrible father, had turned myself into both a demon and a public joke--and knew I couldn’t go on. I rented a rustic cabin far up on the Iowa River. I stayed there and got clean. I walked a lot and cried a lot. I was terrified of...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue