James Ellroy Wakes Up in the Middle of the Night to Write

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By Dianna Dilworth Comment

jamesellroyEvery good writer has their own way of setting aside time to write. For James Ellroy, this means waking up in the middle of the night.

In a new interview with ShortList Magazine, the author of The Black Dahlia revealed that he goes to bed at 8pm, wakes up sometime between 1:45-2:30am and works for a couple of hours before going back to sleep again. He also writes again in the afternoon.

“I know how to exploit what’s been given to me: early parental dysfunction, my mother’s murder, all my crazy sh*t,” he explained of his writing in the interview. “The most startling moment I’ve had as an artist was in New York in 1985 while writing The Black Dahlia, and in a heartbeat the structural entirety of LA Confidential came to me. I then realised that whatever I could conceive, I could execute. So I’ve executed ever more grandly throughout my career.”

Ellroy’s new novel Perfidia is slated for publication in the UK this fall. The novel is set in LA during the Second World War. “It seamlessly takes the quartet and trilogy, adds four novels, and makes my oeuvre as a historical novelist one inextricable 11-novel whole,” he told ShortList Magazine.