to eat anywhere I haven't tested myself. I go to these places.
LBF: You're obviously having a terrific career and enjoying it.
PM: I'm having a wonderful time. I feel very, very lucky. I can
live where I want to live, write where I want to write, and peop
publishing. True publishers of the old school, which are fast
disappearing. I learned about writing, and the whole business.
CW: What is the difference between the "old school" of
publishing and the new?
JC: I don't think the Buracks, or the rest of us, w
of my novel.
LBF: A great title.
RB: Brown became suddenly a ghostly presence in my life, at
the same time very tangible and real, because these were the hills
he walked over, the place he lived, and the place where he ran
slaves north into Canada. It's f
novel. Of course, I didn't know then that it would be published. I
could have used Phyllis Dorothy James or my married name,
Phyllis Dorothy White, or I could have P.D. James, and I wanted
my maiden name rather than my married name. I thought it was
AR: It was first published in India. I was very keen for it to be
published in India first.
LBF: In Hindi?
AR: No, in English. There are more people in India who speak
English than there are in England. It's the only common language.
LBF: Your use of lang
writing solely about a male barrister, but of course I do explore the
lives, the motives, the compulsions, and the professional concerns
of the male barristers who are in chambers with her.
LBF: When you have as complicated a story as A Certain Justice,
Beverly Hills, and Forest Lawn, etc. I walk about New York to look
at the streets and buildings that Fm writing about, I read the gossip
columns, and I formerly did public relations work for various
charities, so I absorbed a lot of information that I put
changing with this book, and the scale of my career, in a sense,
changing. It won't have much effect on my writing because it's
happening to me in my middle fifties. Had it happened to me in my
middle thirties, it could have had a disastrous effect on me,
LBF: Do you work at night, during the day? Do you work every
PDJ: Once I begin writing, as opposed to plotting and planning,
I do try to work every day. Whether I'm feeling like it or not, I get
up early and write. I move into the world of the book,
houses or galleries or wherever the art was kept. That proved to be
slightly more complicated, but I think I've come up with a fairly
plausible way in which to persuade the rich, the wealthy and the art
collectors of this world to open their doors to peop
along with each other. You always see that two of them are going
to bump heads. You wonder which one might kill the other and be
left then for the main character. I'm never sure myself, until I get to
the scene where it's going to happen. Then I realize,
Catherine Pigora Juue Anne Peters Deborah M. Prum Colleen
Mariaii Rae Dan Rafter Ian Rankin James A. Ritchie Peter
Sagal Christopher Scanlan William Sciioell Bob Schultz
Barbara Shapiro Sidney Sheijxjn Jennifer Shepherd Linda Simon
Alison Sinciair Eliza
LBF: You have a lot of rough-edged stuff in your books. How
much were you involved in?
RB: You mean troubled, turbulent youth? I grew up an angry
boy and became an angry young man, in some ways
self-destructive. Someone once asked me, "I
Do you speak Hindi, Bengali? Urdu?
AR: Almost all educated Indians will speak at least two, if not
three, languages. I speak three: Hindi, Malayalamwhich is the
language we speak in Keralaand English.
LBF: And what language do you think in?
AR: I think an
I'll just keep it by the bed, so if it happens again, I'll still go
down, but at least I'll have something in my hand.
LBF: When you are not writing or reading Dorothy Sayers or
Evelyn Waugh, do you read any contemporary work? Whose books
and let them do all the work.
A CONVERSATION WITH JOAN DIDION
By Lewis Burke Frumkes
Lewis Burke Frumkes: Joan Didion is one of our finest
writers. Her newest book, The Last Thing He Wanted, is a thriller,
quite different from her earlier novels, like
CW: That helps, certainly. Do you ever get writer's block? What
is your "cure" for it?
JC: Sometimes. Lying down and watching old sitcoms or going
someplace different, like a museum, or buying something. Out of
the writing life for a while usually cures i
American Ambassador by people who wanted to increase American
LBF: Your husband, John Gregory Dunne, is also a writer. Do
you ever edit each other?
JD: He reads everything I write. I read everything he writes. We
might make suggestions of whe
LBF: They were wonderful models! There is something about
mystery writingyou are a charming, intelligent woman, and yet
you also love murder and gore. What, do you think, makes a writer
in this genre so in love with crime? Is it the murder, is it the
company business. Long may it wave!
CW: We love the Internet, too! Now, for the aspiring authors out
there . . . how useful are writers' groups and conventions ?
JC: Conventions are great fun. Writers get a chance to meet
fans, and fans get a chance to se
trying to be poetic in describing the weather. I avoid the difficult
things in writing prose.
LBF: Do you always write that way?
EL: In studying Hemingway, I came upon this technique: letting
the dialogue pull the story as much as possible. I've always be
A Scandal in Bohemia
Pray do so. I shall be all anxiety.
Then, as to money?
You have carte blanche.
I tell you that I would give one of the provinces
of my kingdom to have that photograph.
And for present expenses?
The King took a heavy cham
that I may have a future as a writer.
I left advertising at a time when my contract was coming up for
renewal, and started ten years of acute financial shortage while I
was working on my writing and doing everything that struggling
writers do to get on. A
key when someone passing said:
Good-night, Mister Sherlock Holmes.
There were several people on the pavement at
the time, but the greeting appeared to come from a
slim youth in an ulster who had hurried by.
Ive heard that voice before, said Holmes, starin
While some of the more established markets may seem difficult
to break into, especially for the beginner, there are thousands of
lesser-known publications where editors will consider submissions
from first-time free lancers.
All manuscripts must be typed
EL: When I began to study writing, I studied Hemingway,
Steinbeck, and Richard Bissellhe wrote 7 U2 Cents, which became
the play The Pajama Game. I loved Hemingway for his dialogue, but
I realized I did not share his attitude about anything
JD: When the rhythm comes and you go into overdrive. When a
book starts to move and you know you can go with it. Between
then and the time you finish it is a good period.
A CONVERSATION WITH PETER MAYLE
By Lewis Burke Frumkes
Lewis Burke Frumkes: Fm g
yourself, your household, and the effect which this
advertisement had upon your fortunes. You will
first make a note, Doctor, of the paper and the
It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27, 1890.
Just two months ago.
Very good. Now, Mr. Wilson?