This is one of the best photos of DeMille. A man very comfortable in his own skin.
The deep red walls of Nelson DeMille’s writing room are left over from the previous tenant and he hasn’t gotten around to changing the color, even though he hates it. Neither has he bothered to replace a couple of adjustable leather chairs that are stuck in a low position. After sitting in one, he mumbles a reminder to himself.
DeMille has rented this third-floor space with its serene view of the Garden City Library’s green lawn for at least five years. It’s where he does all his writing these days. “If I’m here, I’m not doing anything else. There’s only one thing to do here and that’s write.”
The multi-roomed office below it, which he’s had for many years and shares with two assistants, is for the more mundane tasks of a best-selling writer, like dealing with foreign rights, e-book royalties, movie rights, advertising and promotion. “You’ve got to treat it as a business,” says the author of 17 novels (plus 10 early true-crime paperbacks that he doesn’t count), starting with By the Rivers of Babylon in 1978 and including The Gold Coast, The General’s Daughter, Night Fall, The Gate House, The Lion and his newest, The Panther, his sixth book starring NYPD Detective John Corey.
The small office building is in the heart of the village shopping area, steps from the Long Island Railroad tracks and just a few blocks from his home, a Tudor Revival mansion he designed for himself, his wife Sandy and, since 2006, their son James. DeMille has two other children, Alexander, 32, and Lauren, 34, with a previous wife. Born in Jamaica, Queens he grew up in Elmont, graduated from Hofstra and has lived in Garden City since 1975. Along with his friend Susan Isaacs, who lives in Sands Point (and is also part of a group of top mystery writers who meet regularly at Michael’s restaurant in Manhattan), he is probably the most famous non-East End novelist residing on Long Island.