Elmore Leonard is one of America’s greatest living crime novelists. His novels are so packed full of action and smart dialogue that they are often difficult to put down. Here is what everyone should know about Elmore Leonard, celebrity author.
Elmore Leonard was born in 1925 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father’s position as a site locator for General Motors facilities required his family to move around frequently. In 1934, when Elmore Leonard was nine, the family finally settled in Detroit, Michigan.
The 1930s were an interesting time, when real-life gangsters such as Bonnie and Clyde ran wild on the streets. The period was responsible for inspiring Elmore Leonard, and luckily for his readers, that inspiration lasted an entire lifetime, and still burns in him today.
In 1934, Elmore Leonard graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. Nicknamed “Dutch,” Elmore Leonard caught his first break in the world of fiction in the 1950s, when his pulp western novels were published regularly.
His strong narrative and realistic dialogue move his stories along quickly. He has said that when writing, “I leave out the parts that people skip.” He has also said that “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” In fact, Elmore Leonard’s essay “Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing” remains popular among both professional and novice fiction authors today.
Most of Elmore Leonard’s novels are set in Detroit, Michigan, and that has earned him the moniker, “the Dickens of Detroit.” The 81 year old author continues to live in Oakland County, Michigan, with his family today.
Many people best know Elmore Leonard from the novels that were adapted into screenplays. In 1997, Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch was transformed into Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. Other popular films based on Elmore Leonard novels include Get Shorty starring John Travolta and Danny DeVito, its sequel Be Cool, and Out of Sight starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. One of Elmore Leonard’s most famous novels, Killshot, is currently in production and will star Mickey Rourke.
Elmore Leonard continues to produce sizzling stories with crisp, cool dialogue even today. He has clearly influenced many modern writers and will continue to do so for a long time to come. Martin Amis once told Elmore Leonard at a Writers Guild Theater event in Beverly Hills, “Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy.”
Thanks for reading what everyone should know about Elmore Leonard.