Sunday , September 20 2020
"Crossing the characters over from one book to another seemed like a good idea at the time."

An Interview With Mystery Writer Robert Parker

This is the first of a two-part feature.

This week we have an interview I conducted in recent days by email with mystery writer Robert Parker. A week from today I will submit for publication a review of his three last books as well as thoughts on his career in recent years.

In addition to his famous Spenser novels, Parker has started up two new series.
Last month his first young adult book, Edenville Owls, was published. Blogcritic Mel Odom gave it a positive review. He also had a new book, High Profile, published in February, and his next one, Spare Change, comes out on June 5.

I have been able to interview many of my favorite authors for Newsvine and for Blogcritics, but since Parker's writing means so much to me I don’t think I have ever been as nervous or excited as I have been with this interview. I have struggled, in reviews, in explaining why I'm such a fan. I have even been known to suggest I share some qualities with Spenser.

Scott Butki: In recent years you have started two successful new series, one featuring Sunny Randall and one featuring Jesse Stone. Why did you decide to do that?  

Robert Parker: It takes me about three months to write a book, so I had time. In Jesse's case, I thought it would be interesting to try another character, different than Spenser, younger, less evolved, of the law, rather than outside it, told in the third person. In Sunny's case, I was asked by Helen Hunt to create a character for her to play in a series of movies. I created the character, but the movies didn't materialize.  

Where do you see these series going over time? 

I have no idea where the series will go, or if they will go. I don't plan ahead. When I start a book I don't know where it's going, let alone a whole series. I just plow along.  

I've enjoyed how in some of your books you've had characters cross over from one series to another. What made you decide to do that?  

Crossing the characters over from one book to another seemed like a good idea at the time. People in the same line of work  in a relatively small geographic area, often cross paths, I think. As I said above, very few decisions are made in advance.  

What would you like to be known for?

I know its kind of corny, but  I'd like to be known for being Joan Parker's husband, and David and Daniel Parker's father. Everything else is just noise. 

What question are you most tired of being asked? 

I never tire of questions about me.  

What question do you wish interviewers would ask but they always neglect to do so? 

I'd like interviewers to ask me how I maintain my movie star good looks. But they never do.  

What made you decide to write a novel aimed at a younger age?

My publisher asked me to write a YA novel. So I did. Get 'em young I suppose.  

I have read that you do not rewrite, instead writing ten pages a day. Have you ever regretted not going back and rewriting anything?

One of the many reasons I don't rewrite is that one is never fully satisfied. If I reread the manuscript 20 times, I'll rewrite it 20 times. It can become endless. And the 20th draft is no better than the first one, just different. No, I don't regret not rewriting anything.   

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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