James Ellroy Confidential. Exclusive meeting with him in Madrid

All photos in this article are by (c) Mariola DCA. Fnac Callao. Madrid. September 20, 2019.

It lasts for me literary hangover. Not every day you meet one of the greats among greats, not only of the crime novel, but of the contemporary world. Y James Ellroy It has not only given me lots of moments of intense and fascinating reading, but also good friendships and a lot of influence on my writing style and learning. Last Friday the 20th he was in Madrid, first stop of his European tour presenting his latest novel, This storm, second title after Perfidia from his 2nd trilogy of the Los Angeles Quartet.

This is one chronicle of what we live a few lucky readers who attended a exclusive encounter with the huge (in every way) Los Angeles writer. What we asked, he answered, commented and barked in his usual line of histrionics, posed pose, oily voice and with a talent without equal to count the darker perspective of la American history of the mid-XNUMXth century.

Histrionic by definition (but not so much)

Are already various items dedicated here the Devil Dog and his novels, like this, this o this. So I get to the point of the meeting last Friday afternoon where some of his readers were able to ask him and talk to him about everything what we wanted. Well, not the same.

So to Geek more than geek shift (almost serial killer, as Ellroy himself called it) that always appears in these cases they stopped him the moderators when crossed the line with a theme of religion. And he took a blunt fuck off out of here with included growl from the writer. But that was already when the staff had let go and we had seen the strange traces of the individual.

James Ellroy (Los Angeles, 1948) is a character himself. With his imposing, intimidating physique and well-studied histrionics, right out of the box He had made it clear that he passed from responding on politics from now or before, racism o religion between something else. Was there to talk about their books and get everyone to read them, that they leave jobs, life, children, wife, husband, lovers, whatever, to start reading. And so on earning money to live the high life, with luxury cars, women, good food and good drinking. Even if you only drink water now, you don't have to remove a past full of alcohol and drugs.

The long hour of talk passed us in a sigh environment relaxed, entertaining and complicity. And the shame and fear left us, among other things because we already know the myth of those supposed bad ways. It is more the facade than the reality.


And without further ado, with the help of a interpreter, we go to the questions we wanted to ask you, such as:

Creation of novels


Which reduces to the search always of hook the reader with the topics that can most touch his most sensitive, morbid or interested chord with the darker side of history and human nature. So violence, tabloid journalism, crime, police investigation, universal feelings and instincts like love, desire, anger, horror are the most powerful engines shared by all societies. And that sells. Even if he is not at all trying to ridicule the traditional novel.

And the definition he gave in the form of a headline was this: «The great novels are the result of a single mind, a single heart and a single soul », and they have no comparison with for example movie scripts or for television series. That is why later, when asked if he considered that there could be good novels written by more than one author, answered that No..

Routines as a writer

Drafts of more than 100 pages to plan the novel that later write by handas it passes computers. Two cafes now write, rewrite and write more until it is finished and a personal assistant dumps it into a computer file.

Language and style

If there is something that characterizes Ellroy, apart from his long and complex plots, it is that style. sometimes telegraphic and always incisive, cutting, hyper-condensed and truncated. With profusion of alliterations o Ellipse and with some very elaborate structures. He commented that land he loves the English language and especially American English that, at the same time, has so many influences and mixtures of others.

Your respect for real police work

To top it off is a passionate about police investigations with their abbreviations, its jargon or his way of writing Reports that so much translates in their stories. And to the question of why there are so many characters, normally policemen, who abuse the alcohol or drugs, he replied that of those he knows personally one third are alcoholics. But it has a absolute respect for the work they usually do. Yes, which to the he likes to create they are almost always worst of the guild.

About Us This storm

Better read Perfidia before, he recommended when asked if you could read this new novel independently. A) Yes the characters are known that already appeared in the first LA Quartet (Dudley Smith, Buzz Meeks, Sid Hudgens, etc.) and that in this 2nd trilogy they are younger and takes them back to the WWII years.

Movies and TV series that you like

Fat stick for The wire, the tv series, which he did not like at all. Badly written and misleading, he commented bluntly. However, spoke wonderfully of the killing, on the point of view and the way of narrating of the Nordics.

He didn't like it either in its day the film adaptation that signed brian palm about The black dahlia, with which we all agreed. And, although he doesn't like Quentin Tarantino either, if except Once upon a time in Hollywood, for the portrait so successful that it seemed to him about that place that he knows so well.

Colleagues you like: classics and contemporaries

Commented that Don Winslow has not been read, for whom they asked, but yes Likes Don DeLillo and Pound. Or classics like Ross MacDonald (the creator of the detective Lew archer), though he branded it as pretentious and overly cultivated, and James M Cain, (author of the postman Always calls two times). And he highlighted above all Dashiell hammet and promoter of the noir genre.

Non-fiction works

That you plan to publish. Some articles about Reports real of murders and about the actor Sal Mineo and the circumstances of his death, which will also include a short novel. "That will be my farewell to journalism," he said.

Rock, sons and Bob Dylan

The most questions anecdotal were those of why does he not like rock or has not had children. To the first, he literally answered that it is rock is "shit" and then, with more sarcasm, that you have to be orderly people, dress like him, etc.

To the children, who have always had more money to spend in the good life. And to what of what did you think that they would have given him the Nobel a Dylan also said that "Go shit" and what for that he deserved it so much more Philip Roth, for example, may he rest in peace, or the.

Bud White, Russell Crowe and Sterling Hayden

I end up with my particular dialogue half shaky with Ellroy. Because I only had the courage to give you my most devoted thanks for my three characters favorites of the immense gallery that has: Pete bondurant, America y Six of the greatsy Dudley smith y Bud white de LA Confidential.

Immediately he angled my gaze And he told me that of course, he was talking about the movie, right? I admitted it and immediately commented that thanks to her I had been hooked on her novels and devoured almost all of them. Ah well then great he replied. And yes, already, to Bud White did Russell Crowe, although if it had been possible, my choice to interpret it would have been Sterling hayden».

And I'm already on the verge of fainting from hearing him mention another of my most admired classical actors. "Man, of course," I pointed out, "is that if that movie had been made in the years 50, Hayden would have been the ideal». Anyway, I couldn't have a better answer.

Relaxed and very accessible

Which shows that the poses are the poses. Because in the signatures and greetings Ellroy could not be closer, cordial, friendly and in a good mood.

He spoke and posed with everyone in photos and videos, He was interested in the comments made to him, shook all hands and said a few words while he signed us. He sent me home, it was very hot there, he said, while I could only babble thank you and thank you more for your books. So i finish with this short video of his speech and that time with the readers.


Read Ellroy now. Grrrrr ...

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