I spoke with James Sallis for The Daily Beast

I'm a big fan of James Sallis. I'm a fan of his novels, among them "Drive," the basis for last year's movie of the same name starring Ryan Gosling, his Lew Griffin books, The Turner Trilogy. His new book, out this week, is "Driven," which yes, is a sequel to "Drive." The other reason I'm a big fan of Sallis is the sheer breadth of his work. Besides his novels, he's a poet, critic and short story writer, a musicologist, wrote a biography of the writer Chester Himes, and translated Raymond Queneau from French into English.

It was a thrill to talk with Sallis. We spoke about Phoenix and crime, the movies and sequels, structure and the writing life. I'll post some excerpts from the longer interview before it was edited, but this is one of my favorite insights that Sallis offered into his own work from the article:

Have movies had an influence on your work?
As my major influences I often claim bad science-fiction movies of the ‘50s. After that, a steady decade or three of foreign films, especially French. Films made me realize how atmosphere can be created in so many ways—mist rising from a grating, a casual glance, rain running down a window—and how much can be passed to the viewer, or to the reader, nondiscursively; how much space one might leave around the story, the characters, the setting.

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