interview: Author Peter Lefcourt

Written by Darlyn At Saturday, June 30, 2012
What did it mean to become American in the mid-20th century? Peter Lefcourt goes beyond assimilation to take a nostalgic and dramatic look at what makes us truly American in AN AMERICAN FAMILY. Lefcourt reaches back to his own family and memories to inform this saga. “Though this is not an autobiographical novel, it is, in a larger sense, a ‘cultural autobiography’ – specifically, that of Jewish-Americans born in the 1940’s. Our experiences are similar to that of all immigrants – Italian, Irish, Vietnamese, Iranian, etc. – as we all navigate the tide of our new culture.”

To celebrate the release of AN AMERICAN FAMILY, here's some interview I have with him and wanted to share with all all of you ;p

D: Is there a specific element in your writing that you find most challenging?

PL: Writing is not easy and never gets any easier, no matter how much you do it. There is nothing that requires more concentration, patience and inner self-criticism than writing. The more I do it, the more I edit. As the zen proverb goes, words are the enemy of the writer. Trust the music, not the notes.

D: Which author inspires you most?

PL: Patrick O’Brian. The twenty novels in the Aubrey-Mathurin series are consistently readable, absorbing and enlightening. I have read all of them at least twice, and some three or four times.

D: What is your guilty pleasure?

PL: Chocolate and champagne every Sunday afternoon with my wife.

D: You’ve had a long, successful career in Hollywood— what was your favorite project?

PL: “Beggars and Choosers,” the two-year Showtime series that I co-created (with the late Brandon Tartikoff), wrote and produced, 1999-2000. The show was a satire on the television business, a subject I know very well; it was a lot of fun to write about the universe and people that I was familiar with. Moreover, Showtime gave me a great deal of creative freedom. That, and the collaboration with some very talented, co-writers, directors, and actors – made the experience particularly rewarding. It’s not often in Hollywood that creative egos merge and work well together, and “Beggars and Choosers” was clearly a lovely exception. 

D: Do you prefer writing screenplays or novels? 

PL: Novels, because they are yours and don’t have to be shared with directors, actors and producers. And because with novels the writer’s voice still matters. However, occasionally the loneliness of writing books gets to me, and I seek out and enjoy the collaborative experience of screenwriting. HHHooooo

Book Excerpt
His fraternity brothers were in a rowdy mood. There was a keg party scheduled at the house that Saturday night, and the prospect of getting laid was in the air. The brothers lounged around the tables bragging about all the sex they were going to get. Michael filtered it out. Most of it was bullshit. The more you talked about it, the less you got. He had a girlfriend, Naomi Berks, whom he had met last spring and with whom he’d been going steady ever since. They’d been doing it pretty regularly in his room beside the kitchen, but he didn’t have to talk about it. It was nobody else’s business. He was taking Naomi home for Thanksgiving next week. She was from Shaker Heights and had never been to New York City. His sister Elaine had volunteered to share her room. On the phone, his father had asked, Mickey, is this the one?
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About the Author
Peter Lefcourt
Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are “Cagney and Lacey,” for which he won an Emmy Award; “Monte Carlo,” in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental “Danielle Steel’s Fine Things,” and the underrated and hurried “The Women of Windsor,” the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family. He is a 30 handicap golfer, drinks too much good wine, and has never been awarded the Nobel Prize for anything.

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