Guest / Limited Access /

James Lee Burke is the author of numerous novels. He grew up in Texas and Louisiana and now splits his time between the two states, where his latest novel is set. In the Moon of Red Ponies follows the transplanted Texan attorney Billy Bob Holland to Montana where his nemesis Wyatt Dixon, who Holland once sent to prison, is on the loose and harassing Holland's loved ones.

Burke's work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. The Lost Get-Back Boogie was nominated for a Pulitzer. Two of his novels, Heaven's Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures.

The Moon of the Red Ponies has been nominated for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. But you are a role model for the writer who starts fast and then hits a roadblock. You had a nearly 15-year dry spell where you received more than 100 rejections. What kept you going?

I'd published three novels when I was a young man and it was remarkable to have done as much as I did. I thought my career was well established. I wrote a novel called The Lost Get-Back Boogie, and I thought I would just published, and that did not happen. I stayed out of hardback print for 13 years.

The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times, and that's when I met my current agent, Philip Spitzer. He was driving a cab in Hell's Kitchen [New York City], and he took my account. He was my cousin Andre Debusse's agent and Andre, at that time, did not have the recognition that he has today. But Philip kept the work under submission all those years and Louisiana State University Press published it.

I really learned an old lesson that I had learned as a young man: You do it a day at a time. You write as well as you can, you put it in the mail, you leave it under submission, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhy It's Hard to Learn from African Christians
Subscriber Access Only Why It's Hard to Learn from African Christians
New research spotlights what the continent’s believers (and those worldwide) are missing.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickMy Immigration Status: Beloved
My Immigration Status: Beloved
In Christ I am more than the ‘crime’ I committed at age 5.
Comments
Christianity Today
James Lee Burke is a Cowboy with a Conscience
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.