RARA-AVIS: Re: Author Peak

From: James Winter ( jwinter@one.net)
Date: 25 Nov 2001

<<<Perhaps, Parker has started new series because he realizes he really has written all he has to say about about Spenser, but either financially he doesn't want to stop or has bowed to his publishers who want a long series that will be presold. Maybe he has tried to fully explore Hawk's origins as Robert Crais did with Pike or kill off Susan as Healy did with Nancy Meagher. All we can judge is those books in the Spenser series that have been published.That is why the idea of peak/career as a way to compare authors seemed ideal when I thought of it.>>>

All this reminds me of an article I read in the Cincinnati Enquirer about a year or so back. (I'll have to dig up that link and post it here.) It was an interview with Jonathan Valin. Valin says that, someday, there will be a Harry Stoner novel, but he doesn't know when. He said he'd reached a piont where he starting to repeat himself, and that Harry needed a break.

Unlike Parker, Valin didn't have to worry about his publisher crying over the phone, begging him not to do away with Harry or put him on hiatus. Parker, otoh, said at a recent signing, that what he really wanted to do was write stand-alones like "Wilderness," "Love and Glory," "All Our Yesterdays," etc. Even with his recent western novel, his publishers screamed bloody murder. ("Hey! You're killing the cash cow!") I believe he still likes writing Spenser, but it's gotten automatic.

Unlike a lot of other eyes, like VI Warshawski, Spenser hasn't had a break in years. The result shows. Spenser got really stale after "Valediction," although there were some bright spots. In some cases, he repeats himself or retells old tales. ("Thin Air" sounds too much like "Red Harvest," which I just reread recently.) I haven't read Jesse Stone yet, but the word I've been getting is that it's much closer to Parker's early work than the recent Spensers, at least in quality.

Me, personally, I don't think I'd want to carry a series character beyond 7-10 books, and I'd write something else entirely while I was doing them. That seems to be the best way to stay fresh. That, or, as Elmore Leonard once said, just don't write series characters. At the very least, a writer needs to take time away from a series.



"[For the Browns] With Pittsburgh, it's a rivalry. With Baltimore, it's a JIHAD!"
-Les Roberts

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 25 Nov 2001 EST