Los Angeles-born author Bret Easton Ellis speaking at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
Los Angeles-born author Bret Easton Ellis speaking at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. Doug Eaton

Lighter side to Bret Easton Ellis

DESPITE writing novels with dark themes and horrific scenes, Los Angeles-born Bret Easton Ellis does not seem to be a writer that takes himself too seriously.

On the last day of the Byron Bay Writers Festival, and during his conversation with presenter Simon Marnie, Easton Ellis seemed more interested in taking in the crowd that had come to listen to him speak on his novels American Psycho, Less Than Zero and his latest work, Imperial Bedrooms.

“This is my first time at a writers' festival,” he said.

“I've been asked lots of times but this is the first one I've agreed to go to.”

When asked what was his process when writing Imperial Bedrooms, Easton Ellis said that quite often it's difficult to remember.

“It's not a logical process when writing a book,” he said.

“It's more of an emotional one.

“People assume I am more of a serious literary figure than I really am.”

He also suggested that due to the macabre topics in his novels some thought he wore a cape and drank blood.

“All I really want to talk about is Delta Goodrem,” Easton Ellis laughed.

Easton Ellis did, however, manage to share his techniques on preparing to write a novel.

“I do know where the story ends before I begin it,” he said.

“I know the first and last sentence of the book before I start writing.”

On the topic of censorship Easton Ellis claimed there was no area in which he wouldn't go.

“If I felt it was authentic to the book, I'd do it,” he said.

“Censoring yourself as a writer in case you offend your readers ... you may as well be in advertising.”

Despite this Easton Ellis found it amusing that his novel American Psycho is sold in Australia in a plastic wrap cover due to its restricted status.

“It's cute,” he said.

“Kind of reminds me of a little lunch sandwich.”

When writing the book, Easton Ellis said it was never meant to be a movie.

“It was written to be a literary experience,” he said.

Writing for Easton Ellis is cathartic and his latest work Imperial Bedrooms, a grown-up sequel to Less Than Zero, was written through some of his darker years, he said.

“Oh yes, my princely problems, a relationship going bad, a film deal falling through,” he said somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

“It was a bad time and Imperial Bedrooms came from all those things.

“I feel things that bother me have somehow lifted once I finish a book.”

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