TORONTO Ontario – On October 24th at the 35th International Festival Of Authors James Ellroy read from his latest novel, Perfidia.
He welcomed the audience of over a hundred luminaries as ‘…panty sniffing pederasts and pervs…’ Ellroy was interviewed on stage by best selling novelist, Linwood Barclay.
Here is part of their Friday evening conversation.
They spoke of Glenn Miller between 1938 and 1941 to quote, “What fools mortals be.”
Ellroy said he saw, “History as yearning. Betrayal is a great theme. Graham Greene made a career of it.”
Linwood Barclay “Did you want to look at the history or the characters?”
James Ellroy “Both. In 2008 I was wondering why I didn’t have a girl friend and why women were divorcing me.”
LB ” Are you in the habit of reading your earlier works?”
JE “I re-read the prior works to refamaliarize my self with the characters, timelines and would they be available. There is about two and a half years between books and World War Two is ongoing.”
JE “I see Perfidia as historical romance. I despise nihilism and minimalism. I like 19th century classical romantism. There’s hardly any modern authors that I’ve read.”
JE “I will do what I damn well please. If my character is convincing, I will do it. “
LB “Your mother was murdered when you were ten. Does a book like Black Dahlia bring closure?”
JE “Closure is bullshit. I will never know who killed my mother.”
JE “I love to live history, lie in the dark and yearn. I am a yearning mother fucker.”
LB “Is contentment an aid to creativity?”
JE “Probably not. But for every tragic day (in my life) there were thirty five in the library reading novels. Ross Macdonald, Joseph Wambaugh, Meyer Levin…I rarely read now.”
JE “I write about the secret human infrastructure of large events. May, 1972 brought with it the death of J. Edgar Hoover and that is the end of my chronology. The logical end.”
LB “Your style is varied and has a hard edged tempo.”
JE “Content dictates style. Frank O’Connor said, “If literature can’t be vulgarized it won’t last. I love hipster patois, slang, funny shit…outrageousness in its grandiosity and vulgarity.”
JE “I have no thoughts on the current state of world affairs. I don’t have a cell phone, television, Face Book page…I rarely read books.”
JE “I’m solitary. I’m appalled by social media and devices.”
JE ” I have an office, desk, chair, and note book. Busts of Beethoven. My outline is hand written.”
LB “Are you happy?”
JE “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
LB “Tell us about faith and the glowing door knob..”
JE “In 1975, I was in west L.A. coughing up blood. I was looking at a doorway that had a glowing door knob. I opened the door and went upstairs and laid down on the floor in front of a space heater. I dreied of and slept. After that I sobered up. I’m a Protestant. I’m a religious man. Perfidia is a Christian novel.”
JE “Three hundred pages of notes precede my novel. The book was 700 pages so the notes were over three hundred. I follow my note outline. I write hand in large block printing. I edit constantly. Every word has to be perfect. I don’t use a typewriter. Later then I edit off the gallies. I take a lot of narrative latitude and don’t do a lot of fact checking. I write what I think should have happened. What will be the best story?”
An audience member asked about drugs and writing.
JE “Get sober or forget creativity! Hunter S. Thompson, William Burroughs and Bukowski. I hate Bukowski. Doped up fuck heads.”