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Elmore Leonard: I hated the film adaptations of my books

I MET ELMORE LEONARD, who died on August 20 at age 87, only a couple of times, interviewing him on his book tours, but he was a memorable guy, totally unpretentious about his massive accomplishments: 45 novels, including many best-sellers, almost a dozen made into movies and TV shows, and a reputation among the literati as one of the great writers of dialogue in our time. He wanted his books to be fun, and he succeeded. He also had fun talking about his characters, particularly the wild ones, and he was always happy to explain his famous “rules for writing,” especially “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” When I spoke with him in 2000, he had just published Pagan Babies, a comic novel on the unlikely subject of genocide in Rwanda.

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JON WIENER: The story of Rwanda is a horrible one, but it’s not very well known. How did you get interested in it?

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