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Q&A with Bret Easton Ellis

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Q: We have to start with the most obvious question: the main character in Lunar Park is Bret Easton Ellis, author of Less Than Zero, American Psycho, etc… People are going to question just how fictional the novel is. What is your intention? How much of Lunar Park are we to believe is true?

A: My intention? My intention was to write a book that I thought was interesting, meaning there was no intention at all.

The genesis for the book began in 1989 and changed a lot in the ten years before I began writing it. I first wanted to write a book that, I suppose, paid homage to a genre that meant a lot to me growing up (Stephen King was an idol of mine) and which was concerned with a house that was haunted. And it was really that simple.

Bret Ellis was not the main character at that point, though the narrator was a writer and he was married and he did have children. And as I thought about the book—and as my own life became more complicated with age and experience—I realized that the book I had been planning was really about what it meant to be a writer.

Sure, it was a ghost story and there were monsters and demons and I enjoyed playing with the traditional trappings of the genre, but I was also at the stage where the process of writing began to matter to me as material—and I think this happens with most writers.

And that was a big jumping off point and energized me when I was having problems with the outline of the book.

I don’t want to demystify the events that take place and I don’t want to have to clarify which things are autobiographical and which things are less so. But it is, by far, the “truest” book I’ve written, in terms of the majority of events that happened.

It’s up to each reader to decide how much of Lunar Park actually occurred.

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