Donald Edwin Westlake (July 12, 1933 – December 31, 2008) was an American writer, with over a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers, with an occasional foray into science fiction and other genres. Westlake is perhaps best-remembered for creating two professional criminal characters who each starred in a long-running series: the relentless, hard-boiled Parker (published under the pen name Richard Stark), and John Dortmunder who featured in a more humorous series.Read about Donald E. Westlake in Wikipedia
Science fiction is a weird category, because it's the only area of fiction I can think of where the story is not of primary importance. Science fiction tends to be more about the science, or the invention of the fantasy world, or the political allegory. When I left science fiction, I said "They're more interested in planets, and I'm interested in people. "
One of our continuing myths was summed up in Huckleberry Finn: Our escape, what we think of as our escape, is that we can always light out for the territories. Well, we really can't, not anymore, but that's part of the American character - that belief that at any moment, I could just drop the coffee cup and disappear. And it makes for a different self-image and a different story, in a way.
Years ago, I heard an interview with violinist Yehudi Menuhin. The interviewer said, "Do you still practice?" And he said, "I practice every day. " He said, "If I skip a day, I can hear it. If I skip two days, the conductor can hear it. And if I skip three days, the audience can hear it. " Oh, yes, you have to keep that muscle firm.
New York doesn't exactly have neighborhoods, the way most cities do. What it has is closer to distinct and separate villages, some of them existing on different continents, some of them existing in different centuries, and many of them at war with one another. English is not the primary language in many of these villages, but the Roman alphabet does still have a slight edge.