John Banville: I have this very rich, poetic voice that I hear myself reading in. I do it with this sort of cadence — vroom! — chanting it. I’m not aware I’m doing it. That’s for the rhythm. I mean rhythm is almost as important as tone. I’ve been planning — for the past week, I’ve been planning, writing and rewriting the first sentence of my next book over and over again. I sent my wife three separate versions of it by email last night, asking her which sounds best. And I’ll be doing that for weeks and weeks and weeks. But when I get that sentence right, then I’ll know that I can get going on the first paragraph. And when I get the first paragraph as near to right as I can get it, then I’ll be on my way. I just ask her opinion. She has perfect pitch as far as my work is concerned. One of my books, I remember, she took me away for a weekend after I had given it to her to read, and she said, “You can’t do this, you know. You can’t publish this. You’ll disgrace yourself.” I started blustering, and she said, “Bluster away, but you know yourself it’s not right.” And of course it wasn’t, and I had to go back through it, like clawing sort of grass out of a pond, getting rid of the awful stuff that was there to leave the clear water behind.