The Travis McGee novels by John MacDonald were big favourites with my Dad, and I learned to love them when I started to read his library books as well as my own.
He’s a wonderful character – one of the cynical and tarnished knights of private investigation, who nevertheless has a sense of honour. He’s also a terrible womaniser – sometimes I am quite surprised, looking back, at what my Dad used to let me read. I remember realising, reading Ian Fleming, that Pussy Galore was some kind of reference that I was missing, and asking him to explain. I don’t actually remember what he said, other than recognising that he wasn’t going to give me a proper answer.
Anyway, I’m making slow but steady progress on the novel – and writing and rewriting the first chapter to try to give my narrator the right kind of voice – the one that everyone loves in my prologue
Then I read about John D Macdonald, and how when he read over the first draft of the very first McGee book, he hated the voice so he trashed the lot and rewrote it.
Then he read the second draft – and decided he had gone too far the other way – so he started all over again.
Writing in the first person, getting the voice right is fundamental. So, I’ll just keep on keeping on…