Kaufman began the novel after his most recent screenplay, which he undertook at the age of eighty-six, came to nothing. His alliance with McSweeney’s was a product of circumstance. “My literary agent, who was younger than me, had died suddenly, and I had nobody,” Kaufman said. He is now writing a second novel. “Years ago, I was working in Italy, and Charlie Chaplin and his family came from Switzerland,” he recalled. “We were at a beach north of Rome, and it was a very foggy day and the beach was lousy. At about three o’clock it cleared up, and Chaplin said, ‘I’m going back to the hotel. Unless I write every day, I don’t feel I deserve my dinner.’ That made an impression on me.”
From Michael Korda's Another Life: A Memoir of Other People:
Korda, an editor, had gone to visit the best-selling novelist R. L. Delderfield:
Delderfield apologized for keeping me waiting, but he always worked until four on the dot, he said. He believed it was important to treat writing like any other job and put in a good day's work. He was particularly happy to see me here today, he went on, because it was something of a red-letter day. In what way? I asked. Delderfield beamed. At exactly three o'clock this afternoon, he said, he had finished his new novel. . . . I nerved myself to ask, If Delderfield had finished a new novel at three what had he been doing from three to four? Ah, Delderfield said, just what he always did. As soon as he ripped the last page of the novel out of his typewriter, he put a fresh piece of paper in, typed page one, chapter one, and started a new novel. Time and tide, he said, in his soft countryman's voice, waited on no man.