Donald E. Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, has written 23 novels featuring the anti-hero Parker. "The Parker novels suddenly stopped after the sixteenth, in 1974, then resumed, with equal lack of explanation, more than 20 years later," writes Marcel Berlins in his interview with Westlake for the London Times. "The missing years have long puzzled fans."
Westlake explains the gap:
“I didn't know the reason then, but I know now. I didn't want to stop writing about him. I tried the next book three different times, but they all ground down. Now I see what happened. When I first came to New York, no one in my family had ever been involved in any of the arts at all. I didn't know anyone in the publishing world, I hadn't been to any of the right schools. I was a barbarian at the gates. The first Parker novel begins with him walking into New York and creating an identity for himself; saying, goddam it, here I am. That was me. That was 1961. But by 1974 I was successful, making a living, I'd sold movie rights for my books, I had a bit of a reputation, and it was very hard to keep that ‘outsider' muscle.”Read the full interview.