Tuesday, January 17, 2017

[Link] An interview with Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark)

Note: Here's an oldie but a goodie,
as the saying goes.

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by Paul Kane

Donald Westlake has also been associated with the cinema. “The Hunter,” one of the Parker novels written under the name of Richard Stark, has been made into a film four times. His screenplay for Stephen Frears’ 1990 film “The Grifters,” still the best screen adaptation of a Jim Thompson novel, was nominated for an Oscar.

I interviewed Donald Westlake in December 2006, following the publication of his latest Parker novel, “Ask the Parrot.” Here is how it turned out.

Paul Kane: Do you see yourself as a crime writer or simply a writer, period?

Donald Westlake: I began by writing everything, genre, slices of life, whatever. Over the course of time, it was mostly mystery stories (followed by sci-fi and humor) that got accepted, and you tend to go where you’re liked. Through the sixties, I said I was a writer disguised as a mystery writer, but then I looked at my back trail and said, okay, I’m a mystery writer.

I began by writing everything, genre, slices of life, whatever. Over the course of time, it was mostly mystery stories (followed by sci-fi and humor) that got accepted, and you tend to go where you’re liked. Through the sixties, I said I was a writer disguised as a mystery writer, but then I looked at my back trail and said, okay, I’m a mystery writer.

PK: What can you do in crime fiction that you can’t do in a straight literary novel? What possibilities does the genre offer you?

DW: I don’t think the distinction between genre and literary fiction is useful. We’re all working with the same two things, story and language, and if you fail with either of those it doesn’t matter what label you put on it.

Read the full article: http://www.compulsivereader.com/2006/12/30/an-interview-with-donald-westlake-aka-richard-stark/