Though many petitions to ban the book saw Ellis dropped by Simon & Schuster, the resounding controversy convinced Alfred A.Knopf to release it as a paperback later that year.Ellis also wrote the screenplay for the critically derided 2013 film The Canyons, an original work. Ellis stated, during the initial release of his third novel American Psycho, that his father was abusive, and he became the basis of that book's best-known character Patrick Bateman.Later, Ellis claimed the character was not in fact based on his father, but on Ellis himself, saying that all of his work came from a specific place of pain he was going through in his life during the writing of each of his books.Ellis became a pariah for a time following the release of American Psycho (1991), which later became a critical and cult hit, more so after its 2000 movie adaptation.
2008's The Informers, based on Ellis's collection of short stories, was critically panned.
Ellis claims that while his family life growing up was somewhat difficult due to the divorce, he mostly had an "idyllic" California childhood.
Ellis was educated at The Buckley School in California; he then attended Bennington College in Vermont, where he originally studied music then gradually gravitated to writing, which had been one of his passions since childhood.
He commented: "if people knew that I was straight, they'd read [my books] in a different way.
If they knew I was gay, In a 2011 interview with James Brown, Ellis again stated that his answers to questions about his sexuality have varied from interviewer to interviewer, and he cited an example where his reluctance to refuse the label "bi" had him labelled as such by a Details interviewer.
In later years, Ellis' novels have become increasingly metafictional.