Thanks, Mr. L

Elmore Leonard’s life-changing advice.

National Review Online, Elmore

By  Robert Ferrigno

Elmore Leonard was the worst interview of my life. Not his fault. Mine. He didn’t hold it against me; in fact, he gave me an incredible gift, which tells you plenty about the man.

I was a feature writer for a Southern California daily newspaper at the time, and I leapt at the chance to talk to him when he came through on a book tour. He was my literary hero, writing this lean, graceful prose and dialogue that was absolutely true to the little criminals he wrote about — those overeager psychopaths who were just like the rest of us, but freed of the limitations of long-term thinking and responsibility.

The interview took place in his suite at the Ritz-Carlton. I was nervous, too aware of my struggles with my first novel and in awe of him for making it look easy, which is always the hardest part. I taped the interview, to my great regret. I was pathetic, so overwhelmed that my questions tacked from the sycophantic to the rude as I tried and failed to find the right balance. Mr. L remained cordial and polite throughout the ordeal, a scrawny gent calmly smoking a cigarette while I sweated and stumbled.

Near the end, I confessed to my predicament as a writer. Said I had a full-time job at the paper and a new baby at home and weekends were the only time I had to write and I was making no progress at all. I knew his history, knew he must have some kind of method, some secret. He had worked at an ad agency in Detroit while supporting five kids and writing a succession of paperbacks for ten years before he made enough to quit his day job.

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Two-Fisted Fiction from The Man of Steel

Just a reminder, for those of you who haven’t yet downloaded author Robert Ferrigno’s latest book The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Deep in the archives here at punditfromanotherplanet, I found this rare file photo of Robert from the early days.


Before Ferrigno was a Best-Selling Crime Fiction/Thriller Novelist, and Narrative Designer and Content Creator for Game Studios, he was one of the founding Editors of The Rocket, the World’s Greatest Magazine, and a high-flying Features Writer at The Orange County Register

This photo is likely from when he was moonlighting on his first novel, The Horse Latitudes, while still at the Register

—The Butcher


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