Each season we announce our new titles individually, each in their own post, to give you a little extra background...Posted April 2nd
On the Spenser series
They Like the Way It Sounds
INTERVIEWER: Why do you think your work is so popular?
ROBERT B. PARKER: I dunno. I think people just like the way it sounds.
That’s a wonderfully quotable exchange, and I wish I could be sure I was quoting it correctly. I wasn’t there when these words were spoken. It was passed on to me second- or third-hand, but what I heard rang a bell, and I can still hear the echo.
Because I believe he got it right. Why is everything Bob Parker wrote so popular? I think we just like the way it sounds.
Ruth Cavin was a great mystery editor who left us too soon, although not before she’d lived ninety-two years. She stressed the great importance of the writer’s voice. It was, Ruth said, as unique as a thumbprint, and the chief factor in the success or failure of a piece of writing. And it was inherent in thewriter. You couldn’t learn it. You couldn’t do a hell of a lot to develop it or refine it. What you had to do was find it, which was task enough.
And what you found might or might not be worth the effort.
We think of voice more in connection with the performing arts. An actor has a voice, and it amounts to something rather more than pitch and register and tone; it’s what makes us listen intently or puts us to sleep.
“I could listen to him read the phone book,” we say with admiration.
A musician has a …
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