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Thursday, June 16, 2005

elmore leonard

10 Questions for

ELMORE LEONARD

Another good feature by Time's Philip Elmer-DeWitt, putting good questions to Elmore Leonard (also on his official web site, so the man's got an alert webmaster!) and getting shrewd and funny answers.

I promoted 'Dutch' in his Secker & Warburg UK editions (the nickname dates back to high school days) and he was the nicest gentlest author imaginable.

Hard to believe, but the rarified London literary scene of the 1970s still hadn't caught on to the man and it was often an uphill struggle to get the national press to even assign his novels to a reviewer.

Hombre was before my time, although I'd seen the Paul Newman and I'd moved on by the time Penguin Books finally got the message through to British readers some time in the early 1980s.

The titles I worked on were Unknown Man #89, Stick, Fifty-Two Pickup ... and I seem to recall a review list for LaBrava. Oh, and that Annie Leibowitz author pic up there is the one that *everyone* knew once Penguin got its act together.

As far as mega PR was concerned, it was lucky 'Dutch' wasn't over for the sole costly purpose of watching me fail to drum up a storm. But we did the rounds and and he pretended polite pleasure with the attention he got - as I tore my hair out at the lack of good manners (interviewers not bothering to read the book) or feebleness of the questions.

The answers he gives to Time are pretty close to what he came up with in our own between-interviews chats, except of course for the marvelous quip about The Big Bounce.

Here are my favorite questions and answers - in fact, there are no *bad* ones so I urge everyone to read the whole piece.

There, I've spoiled it for y'all by spilling the best bits.

Great writer; wonderful man.


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