Has the demon dog been tamed?
Pre interview research showed James Ellroy to be an interviewee to be feared. Profanities, walking out and right wing comments were sporadic and all completely possible. This alpha male, genius writer was reputed to be quite a handful. On his tour around France to publicise the French translation of his book, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women he stopped off at France 24. The memoir tells of half a century looking for 'Her.' The search started even before the murder of his mother, Jean Hilliker, when he was ten. It was wide and took him through two divorces and many relationships and liaisons.
I had nine minutes to interview him – nine measly minutes to talk about 50 years of life, nine minutes which could seem mammouth on television if America’s greatest crime writer lived up to his reputation.
I asked him about his dark public persona and descriptions like 'Ellroy is both a romantic loon and a macho feminist.’ He said it was fun, it sold books and he liked it. I even asked him as a man who considers himself an excellent reader of women, prophetic when it comes to tall red heads, to sum me up. A risky question. He smiled and said that he couldn’t. Since he’d met the love of his life, the Erika from the final chapter of his book, his pursuit and analysis of women was over. No swearing, nothing controversial, only sincerity and intelligent answers.
The Hilliker Curse might be a book about Ellroy’s obsession with women but it's also a love letter written by a man who believes he has now found the one. It sounds like a cliché but could this be the trusty story of the wild, lost man who has been tamed by a good woman?
A Minute with James Ellroy
For me Paris is…. Book tours for Rivage!!!!!
My first thought when I wake up…. Where is Erika Schickel?
If I wasn’t a writer I would be….the right-wing dictator of a banana republic.
My motto for life is….Let it all hang out.
My main vice is…. Workaholism.
On my gravestone they will write….He was a baaaaaaaad motherfucker!