Today is a sad day. Elmore Leonard left us. A true icon in the western and crime genres. I learned something, usually many somethings, from each of his books—and I think I’ve read them all.
Many years ago I meet Elmore in Maui and had the opportunity to sit and talk with him at length. Still one of my best memories of the old Maui Writers Conference. One of the things we talked about was character development. I asked him how he created his wonderfully complex and unique characters, asking if he did sketches or character outlines or anything thing like that. He said he took weeks, sometimes months, coming with a name and that once he had the name he knew the character. The simple beauty of this is what he was all about.
I mean Chili Palmer could not be president or a neurosurgeon–he could only be a loan shark. Linda Moon must be a lounge singer; Ray “Bones” Barboni a made man; Dale Crow, Junior a criminal; and Rayland Givens a lawman. Much is in the name and in his hands it was so very true.
I still can’t get my head around the fact that there will be no more wonderful stories from this icon and fear for the future of JUSTIFIED—a show with his fingerprints all over it.