Book Tour Appearances
Posted: 08 May 2007 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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If you go to one of Elmore’s Book Signing, tell us about it.

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Posted: 13 May 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Greg requested reports about EL appearances.
  After driving over 3 hours up from Connecticut, my wife and I joined a most enthusiastic and warm audience for EL’s appearance at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. Nice production in a grand old theater,—with a 3 man rock group playing a Tarantino-esque music intro a nice touch—EL talked for about a half hour about his work, setting up the story of HONEY with some background, talking mainly about his characters and how they got there from HOT KID and COMFORT. That led to a discussion about how he writes, about how he begins with characters, gets to know them for a hundred pages or so, setting up conflicts among them for the next bit, and then begins working on how to end it all with about a hundred pages left. That led to mentions of other favorite characters in his novels-a bit of rambling perhaps-maybe a bit of confusion for some not wholly familiar with his other work, like my wife, but so engaging and full of humor at the same time it didn’t matter. EL also worked in plugs for some of his films, talked about Hollywood and some of the upcoming projects, seemed more enthused about KILLSHOT than 3:10 TO YUMA. Then he went on to his ten rules of writing. After a short rock music interlude, there was a set up of a table and 2 chairs for an interviewer and EL to talk further about his work and answer questions from the audience, and here’s the spot where the NH folks didn’t do the man justice. They got this local radio personality who admitted first off that she wasn’t familiar with EL’s work and had just read her first, which of course was HONEY. She spent half the Q&A asking about WWII stateside conditions, German POWS, most of the stuff EL had researched-she was clearly more interested in the history of the period than the art of writing. EL fielded her questions well but there was only time for maybe two questions from the audience, (whose questions probably would have been much more interesting and more in EL’s wheelhouse). I can’t say that I heard anything that I haven’t heard or read here about him before that was new to me. I could tell where he was going most of the time and that was fine with me, the joy for me was finally being able to see the guy I’ve been reading and rereading for 25 years—his books have always been an easy gift for my father as well, (now 89, still an enthusiastic reader).
  What came across to both of us was how funny and charming the guy is, I just wish the Music Hall folks had gotten a more appropriate interviewer. But the show was definitely worth the long commute, and even my wife, who admittedly went along just because I was going come hell or high water, thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, and she thought EL was just “great, what a cutie”.
  One interesting coincidence. EL mentioned that during the war one of his jobs as a Seabee was to parcel out beer rations to his mates, that if the beer was Hudepohl beer it was hard to give away. I had never heard of Hudepohl-when I was in Vietnam we had a similar setup but our choice was either Miller or Bud, if I recall. Anyway, after the show madame and I had a bite to eat at a restaurant not far from the Music Hall-it was a funky place offering sandwiches, loud music, lots of young folks. Ad posters on the wall, also old movie posters, porcelain figurines of clowns, watercolors of nuns, Moxie clocks, Buster Brown shoe posters—and there across the bar, lo and behold, a poster for Hudepohl beer.
  One personal note. After the presentation, my wife walked into the theater office and talked the manager into giving her a poster/billboard for the show as a gift for me—still looking out for me after 35 years.

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Posted: 13 May 2007 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for the great report.  Elmore told me about the NPR reporter asking dumb questions.  Too bad.  It happens all too often.  You would think NPR would be more prepared.  Hope you and your dad keep reading.

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Posted: 15 May 2007 05:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Last night I was at the talk/Q&A in Detroit and it went really well. It was billed, as they

all are, I guess, as a reading and Q&A but Elmore didn’t read from Up in Honey’s Room. He

was introduced and just started talking, no interviewer or ‘host’ at all, which was great.

It was really a home-town crowd and it had that feel, Elmore talking as if everybody there

knew him and he knew all of them. He started by saying, “Okay, what’s new?” And then he

talked about what was going on with the movies, 3:10 to Yuma is finished and Killshot is

also finished, he said the director, John Madden, was coming to Detroit to show it to him

this week. Elmore also said that his granddaughter is producing a short film based on his

story Sparks, which is in When the Women Come Out to Dance. He got a big laugh when he

explained it’s about a woman who burns down her house because she doesn’t like the

furniture, left by her husband’s first wife.


At one point Elmore was telling a story and forgot a character’s name. He said, “I’ll tell

you when I remember,” and just kept going. A few minutes later his grandson (looked about

10-12 years old) walked up to the podium and handed Elmore a note. He read it, laughed a

little and said, ‘Right, Juicymouth,’ then went on to finish the story of meeting the real

Juicymouth in New Orleans.


A lot of the stuff Elmore talked about would be familiar to people here, but it was great

to hear it in his own voice. He did talk a little about Honey’s Room, saying how he wanted

to call it Hitler’s Birthday, and how he thought Walter was going to be a bigger character

but he got bored with him. He did say the book was ‘soft’ in tone.

And, just for Djones, he talked about a guy in Florida who uses his books in some English

Lit class and how if he took the class himself he’d probably get a C. He talked about how

the screenwriter Scott Frank has to tell him what the themes are in his books and he said,

“When I find out what they are, I like the themes in my books.”


Then there were the usual Q&A’s. Some stuff about writing. Sometimes I wish he`d just say,

“Follow the 10 rules and keep sending it out,” (worked for me) but people want to know what

kind of pen he uses and real detail stuff. He did say that the 10 Rules are going to be

published as an illustrated book, less than 100 pages, probably in time for Christmas.


It was a great night.


Oh yeah, I’d never been to Detroit before (I live in Toronto) and I have to say, the Elmore

Leonard novels really capture the feel of the city. The 70`s ‘decay’ in SWAG and Unknown

Man and all that, but also the feel in Mr.Paradise, the $400,000 condos in renovated

warehouses and factories by the river and the big houses in the suburbs. And the people. I

was walking around downtown on Sunday and I must have gone back and forth over the same

block a couple of times and a guy came up to me and offered to help me out. He was

friendly, told me his life story and how he ended up in the shelter, but never mind that,

he said, he could hook me up, what was I looking for? It was good, we scored some weed and

a hooker - no I’m kidding, but the attitude had that Elmore Leonard feel. A kind of low-

rent Donnel Lewis.


While in Detroit I also got to have a beer with Gregg and I can safely say this site is in

good hands and he’s going to be researching a lot more Elmore Leonard novels.

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Posted: 15 May 2007 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Johnny Mac delivers the best report ever. Well done. Thanks.

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