John Banville: The first paragraph is the absolute.  For me, it’s the essential.  One of my books — I can’t remember which — I spent, I think, three, maybe four, months writing the first paragraph.  Sometimes I was just writing the same paragraph, trying to get the tone, because tone is everything.  Now don’t ask me to explain what tone is.   But I have to hear the voice.  And every novel has its own voice and its own tone.  Once you get that, then you’ve got it.  And curiously, it has a lot to do with getting the names of the characters right.  If you’re going through Henry James’s notebooks, you see a long list of names, possible names.  Now, how do you know when a character’s name is right?  You don’t.  But somehow it makes a chime.  It just sounds — it feels right, and that is very important for me.