Lenny Kleinfeld began his career as a playwright in Chicago, where he was also a columnist for Chicago magazine. His articles, fiction and humor have appeared in Playboy, Oui, Galaxy, the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. In 1986 he sold a screenplay; he is now twenty-five years into a business trip to Los Angeles. Shooters And Chasers is his first novel.
Can you sum up Shooters And Chasers in no more than 25 words?
What was your motivation for writing it?
I have no other marketable skills.
How much difference does an editor make?
Depends on how deranged he or she is.
How much difference does a good cover make?
Same as a good costume does for an actor.
How important is a good title?
I'm not qualified to answer that one; ask Will or Harry.
What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given?
Make it shorter.
What's the best piece of business advice you've been given?
Be born with a trust fund.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Being born with talent but without a trust fund.
As a reader, how would you describe your taste in crime fiction?
As a writer, how would you describe your ideal reader's taste in crime fiction?
What makes you keep reading a book?
Being unable to sleep when flying economy class.
What do you look for in a good book?
Techniques I can steal—I mean learn from.
Ever tried your hand at screenwriting?
I wrote a screenplay and Michael Douglas bought it. After which I sold or was hired to write five more. None ever got produced.
Little-known local cultural eccentricity: In Los Angeles County, the term "First-time novelist" is Latin for "Screenwriter over 50."
Ever tried your hand at poetry?
Just once. Bernie Sahlins, the gentleman who owned the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago, hosted an annual stag dinner and limerick contest. Attendees would all address the same topic. The winners would be judged by a professional writer, who was also expected to contribute a limerick.
The year I was the judge the Cold War was still raging, and the topic was "Post-World War III Humor." My contribution:
An archbishop survived the big blast
Though his manhood a green light now cast
Till he met a young nun
With huge glowing buns
And she brought him to Critical Mass
That was a quarter of a century ago, and in all that time not one poetry journal has requested a submission.
How do you feel about reviews?
One way or another, every review provides a good reason to open a bottle of wine.
Shooters And Chasers by Lenny Kleinfeld