The author of eight novels and more than a hundred and twenty short stories, author Doug Allyn has been published internationally in English, German, French and Japanese. More than two dozen of his tales have been optioned for development as feature films and television.
Mr. Allyn studied creative writing and criminal psychology at the University of Michigan while moonlighting as a guitarist in the rock group Devil’s Triangle and reviewing books for the Flint Journal. His background includes Chinese language studies at Indiana University and extended duty USAF Intelligence in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Career highlights? Sipping champagne with Mickey Spillane and waltzing with Mary Higgins Clark.
His first published story won the Robert L. Fish Award from Mystery Writers of America and subsequent critical response has been equally remarkable. He has won the coveted Edgar Allen Poe Award twice, ( nine nominations) seven Derringer Awards for novellas, and the Ellery Queen Readers’ Award an unprecedented eleven times.
ALL CREATURES DARK AND DANGEROUS: THE COMPLETE DR. DAVID WESTBROOK MYSTERIES
Dr. Dave Westbrook, a small town veterinarian, is often bitten by Boxers, clawed by cats, and trampled by trotters, but the most dangerous animals of all walk upright on two legs.
In cooperating with the local sheriff, Dave sees the dark and violent side of pets and their owners. And when it comes to killing, the human race could give lessons to lions.
What we do. What they do. By Doug Allyn
The last time I spoke with Robert Parker, turned out to be the very last time we would ever talk. Life’s like that sometimes. A smorgasbord of surprises, some of them not so easy to swallow.
But that night was a pure pleasure. A brief conversation at the Edgars banquet, between two guys who knew each other to say hello to, but that’s about it.
Bob had chosen one of my stories for a Year’s Best anthology, and we talked about that, then I mentioned that my favorite book of his, was Love and Glory.
“Wow, haven’t heard that title in awhile. It only sold six copies and I think my mom bought two.”
(Love and Glory is a college romance about a blue collar kid who falls for a girl who’s much too good for him. And wins her in the end.)
I asked if he’d talked to my wife for his research. He laughed and said that Joan gave him all the input he needed.
“The truth is, not counting MacBeth, most guys marry women who are too good for us.” And I agreed.
“But I still loved that book, and I’m glad you wrote it, even if it wasn’t a big hit.”
“No problem, I never expected it to be…”
And there was a pause, as we both considered what he’d just said. And then we both laughed at the same time.
“What?” I said. “You had doubts it would sell, but wrote it anyway? What’s up with that?”
“It’s a truth about this business that I picked up early on. We do what we do, they do what they do.”
I must have looked baffled.
“What we do, the writing, is an important part of the trade. But it’s not the only part. Publicity, marketing, and the freakin’ phases of the moon all affect the way a book sells.”
“Probably,” I agreed.
“Oh, it’s true all right. And what I realized was, that I couldn’t really affect the way a book sells. I couldn’t write a hit book. All I could do was write the very best book I could. So that’s what I do. But whether it’s a hit or not? That’s not up to me.”
“That part’s what they do,” I nodded, getting it. “That’s a dangerous philosophy.”
“It’s worked pretty well for me,” he grinned. “So far, anyway.” We shook hands and said our goodbyes. As it happened, for the last time.
But gone is not forgotten. I’ve often mulled over that talk. And what it meant.
For openers, I reread Love and Glory, to see if it was as good as I remembered. I liked it even better than before. Hell, a roughneck kid who falls for a girl who’s much too good for him?
That’s my story too. No wonder I like it.
So why didn’t more people buy it?
Damned if I know. Phase of the moon? Bad cover? Pick one, or make up your own reason.
Bob’s point was, if you can’t affect the outcome, why make yourself crazy worrying about it? “We do what we do, they do what they do.”
Does that mean a book like Love and Glory is a failure?
Hell no. Bob Parker had a good time writing it, this reader loved it and I’m sure many more will discover it over the years.
But just in case it does remain overlooked, he dealt with many of the same universal issues, (mismatched love and the frictions thereof), in every Spenser, Jesse Stone and even his westerns.
He kept on doing what he did. Better than anybody.
And that’s all any of us can do. Our very best.
“We do what we do, they do what they do.”
And then we do it again.