Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Carrying On A Tradition
I read through the works of the late Robert B. Parker while my first wife, Cynthia, was in the intensive care unit for two weeks before finally succumbing to her stroke. It didn't matter that I was familiar with the story line of every novel. I simply wanted to lose myself in that world for a while.
After Parker's death, his widow and long-time editor decided to continue a line of novels featuring the characters he'd established: Spenser, the hard-boiled but oh-so-gentle private detective; Jesse Stone, the recovering (most of the time) alcoholic police chief; Everett Hitch, the companion of western gunman/lawman Virgil Cole. I understand the economics behind such a decision. Unfortunately, with only a few exceptions (such as Lullaby, the Spenser story written by Ace Collins which I'm now re-reading), I don't look favorably on the result.
Other authors more or less license their name, "co-writing" novels that are primarily crafted by others from concepts the well-known author provides. Again, I haven't been particularly impressed with the results. Why? Because of that elusive quality all writers have to find: their "voice." The others may use the same characters, the same general story arc, but the discriminating reader can tell the difference. What defines voice? If I knew, I'd be teaching other writers how to find theirs. But I don't, so I'll leave it to you to help answer this question.
Do you like the novels written by others who carry on the tradition of well-known authors? Can you tell the difference? What is your opinion about this practice.
I'll choose one comment at random (providing you include your email address, so I can notify the winner) to receive a signed copy of my novella, Silent Night, Deadly Night.
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