Saturday, July 20, 2013

James Crumley

From Laura Lippman's interview with James Crumley for Crimespree, issue 15 November 2006:

LL: When did you discover a love of books, when did you first think about becoming a writer?

JC: I taught myself to read. I started my first novel when I was about twelve. It was a detective novel, written under the influence of Mickey Spillane books that my aunts who were my age had hidden under their mattresses. In college, I majored in eight different things before I got a degree in history. When I got into the writing program in Iowa, I hadn’t actually graduated [from Texas A&I]. But I’d been in the Army and I knew how bureaucracy worked. I got into graduate school and they didn’t catch up with me for six or eight months. I finished my undergraduate degree with correspondence courses from Texas A&I while I was in graduate school in Iowa.

LL: How did you like Iowa?

JC: Iowa? It was like heaven. It was the first time that I ever got to hang around people who read and write and talked about shit. Iowa was really good for me. Dick Yates was there . . . Kurt Vonnegut. I was the youngest of the bunch.

LL: How did you even hear about Iowa, know to apply there? I can’t imagine a lot of people at Texas A&I in Kingsville were talking up the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.

JC: There was some guy in Kingsville, Texas, and I heard he was a writer, and I took some shit to him, and he said: “Maybe you should read some modern poetry before you try to write some.” I read everything I could find, then took him some more poems, and then he said: “Maybe you should try fiction.” After my second story, he said:...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue