10 Questions for Elmore Leonard

His hard-boiled novels (Get Shorty, Rum Punch and his latest, The Hot Kid) are beloved by readers and Hollywood alike: 17 of his 40 books have been made into movies. Even at 79, Elmore Leonard is back at his desk every morning, scrawling in longhand--no computers, please--his daily quota of pitch-perfect dialogue. He spoke to TIME's Philip Elmer-DeWitt from his home outside Detroit.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE CALLED THE GREATEST LIVING WRITER OF CRIME FICTION BY THE NEW YORK TIMES?

I don't know what that means. There are any number of people who write better in a conventional sort...

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