Leslie Charteris was born 12 May 1907, and died 15 April 1993
Leslie Charteris: On Writing
- Who knows where an idea comes from? The Saint was just originally a character who came to life in my head not so long after I started writing, but he was not the first character I thought of. He was, as a matter of fact, the fifth. I went on and created two or three other characters, each of them in an individual book. And then I suppose I got lazy, or I got the idea that it was better to continue and build up one character than to spread yourself around among a dozen. I looked back over the characters I had created so far and picked the Saint, liked him the best, and decided to go on with him.
- I have never been able to see why a fictional character should not grow up, mature, and develop, the same as anyone else. The same, if you like, as his biographer. The only adequate reason is that so far as I know no other fictional character in modern times has survived a sufficient number of years for these changes to be clearly observable. I must confess that a lot of my own selfish pleasure in the Saint has been in watching him grow up.
- Ever since I can remember, I have been feebly protesting against the criticism most commonly levelled at the Saint stories, which is that my plots are farfetched and implausible. It has done me little good to insist that in truth I have a rather poor imagination, and that therefore I find it much easier to steal plots from the newspapers than to dream them up. Obviously, I give them some artistic distortions and trimmings; but far more often than not the hard core of the story is something that intrigues me in real life. I have even given my sources, sometimes, which is the kind of excuse that I don’t think a writer really ought to make…
- I solemnly assert that even when I do write a story out of pure imagination, my mind works with such a faultless sense of realism that life itself will sometimes be constrained to make my story come true.
- Everything I write is designed to be milked to the last drop of revenue.
Charteris was a half-Chinese, half-English author of mystery fiction, as well as a screenwriter. He was best known for his books chronicling the adventures of Simon Templar, alias The Saint.
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