"Dialogue is easy and it chews up a lot of pages," he says. "Describing a room is hard and it slows everything down and it doesn't chew up many pages.
"It's a hell of a lot easier to say 'he said, I said, he said', than to say 'the room was of carved oak, with a patina of blah'. Still, Joan [Parker's wife] is always reminding me to make it more full - don't be so spare with just the dialogue. She says some of the best stuff I do is atmospheric background. I'm good with rain, you know…"
He emits a chuckle from deep in his throat. "Heh… hard not to be good with rain…" Parker takes three months to write a novel. "They bring out three a year and I write four a year, so I'm five or six ahead. If I were to drop dead as we speak there would be books being published well into 2009.
"I do first draft. I don't revise. I don't reread. I send it in. They edit it - and it's valuable if they do, or I'll end up spelling 'cat' dee-oh-gee… heh, y'know, sloppy. But they don't make any significant changes."
Monday, March 03, 2008
In The Daily Telegraph, Sam Leith meets American crime writer Robert B Parker.