So we talked last time about you being picked to continue the Spenser series. Can you talk about what it was like to actually write a Spenser book? How did writing it compare to writing the other series?
Writing for Spenser is definitely a different process than writing for Quinn. I imagine it's a bit like Bob writing for the Chandler estate. I know there were huge expectations for him and certainly personal ones writing for someone he admired so much. I am a lifelong fan of the Spenser novels, so it was a natural process getting into that world. Robert B. Parker was definitely the writer who led me to crime fiction.
I have read that you made a point of not trying to write books for the two series simultaneously — was that because they are of such different styles and voice? I also read that you would eat and drink and do the things Spenser would do, like reading the Boston Globe each day. Was that to get in the right frame of mind? Can you talk about how and why you decided to do that?
That's right. I can't write both series at one time. The voices and styles are too different. But when I write Spenser, I am more apt to drink more beer or bourbon. (It's hard work but I do what I can.) Or since I write Spenser in the spring and summer, I do watch a lot of baseball. I always follow the latest in Boston since Spenser is a contemporary character. I want to be up on the latest political and social trends in an evolving city. Spenser and Boston are so intertwined. I'm also in the city a lot which is an absolute pleasure. So many doors have been opened for me knowing that I work for the estate.
Do you have to run the books or individual chapters by the Parker estate or how does that work?
I technically work for the estate. So the books go through Joan and trusted readers. Joan was always Bob's first reader anyway. So it's always been part of the process. I am also fortunate to be working with Bob's longtime editor, Chris Pepe. Chris has been a tremendous asset as Spenser moves forward. It gives a real sense of continuity.