In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

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  • Mr. Capote I have a few questions regarding In Cold Blood
  • Sure, I'm happy to answer any questions
  • What is the first step in producing a "nonfiction novel?"
  • Then one morning in November, 1959, while flicking through The New York Times, I encountered on a deep-inside page, this headline: Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain.
  • The difficulty was to choose a promising subject
  • Why did you decide it had been the subject you had been looking for?
  • I didn't. Not immediately. But after reading the story it suddenly struck me that a crime, the study of one such, might provide the broad scope I needed to write the kind of book I wanted to write. Moreover, the human heart being what it is, murder was a theme not likely to darken and yellow with time
  • How much research did you do other than through interviews with the principals in the case?
  • Oh, a great deal. I did months of comparative research on murder, murderers, the criminal mentality, and I interviewed quite a number of murderers--solely to give me a perspective on these two boys. And then crime. I didn't know anything about crime or criminals when I began to do the book.
  • What has been the response of readers of "In Cold Blood" to date?
  •  The letters are not fan letters. They're from people deeply concerned about what it is I've written about. About 70 percent of the letters think of the book as a reflection on American life, this collision between the desperate, ruthless, wandering, savage part of American life, and the other, which is insular and safe, more or less. It has struck them because there is something so awfully inevitable about what is going to happen: the people in the book are completely beyond their own control.
  • Plimpton, George. “The Story Behind a Nonfiction Novel.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Dec. 1997, In-text Citation
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