Author Leonard dislikes eBooks, still loves movies

Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:51pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American crime writer Elmore Leonard is revered for his snappy dialogue, so how exactly does he come up with it? By watching the television game show "Wheel of Fortune."

The 85-year-old Leonard, who published his 44th novel this week, said famed writer Ernest Hemingway may be his literary model, but that he turns to the U.S. game show for a window on the American vernacular.

"I listen to the contestants on 'Wheel of Fortune,'" he told Reuters in a telephone interview from his Michigan home.

Leonard's new book, "Djibouti," is set in the Horn of Africa and is populated by pirates, al Qaeda operatives, an eccentric billionaire, a truth-seeking journalist and her sassy assistant.

"I liked the idea of the pirates that get high on (the drug) khat and take hold of a merchant ship and then hold it for ransom. I thought, 'These guys are having a good time,'" he said.

And there was the name of the country, whose port is located near an area where Somali pirates have been hijacking ships.

"Djibouti has been one of my favorite words for a long time. It just has a marvelous sound to it," said Leonard, described by the New York Times this month as "a national treasure" and as the most widely imitated crime writer.

Leonard is already several hundred pages into his next book and showing no sign of slowing down.   Continued...