Harlan Coben Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben

An interview with Harlan Coben

What is the order of the Myron Bolitar novels?
Deal Breaker, Drop Shot, Fade Away, Back Spin, One False Move, The Final Detail, and Darkest Fear. After that, we have Tell No One, Gone For Good and No Second Chance.

Will you write another Myron Bolitar novel?
There is an old Yiddish expression: Man plans and God laughs. So yes, I plan on bringing Myron back, but I really can’t say when. I won’t force it. When I finish a book, I am the emptiest of vessels. If the next story that comes to me will work for Myron, then he’ll tell it. If not, then he’ll stay silent. My guess is, Myron and the gang will return, but in a very different way. It’s difficult (and probably bad) to go backwards.

Where and when were you born?
January 4, 1962 in Livingston, New Jersey. Yes, that’s the same town where Myron Bolitar and Will Klein were born and raised. I still live in New Jersey.

Where did you go to school?
Livingston High School class of 80, Amherst College class of 1984.

Are any of the characters based on real people in your life?
Not really, no. Win is loosely based on my college roommate, though in real life, he is less, er, psychotic than his fictional counterpart.

Where do you get your ideas?
It’s a corny cliché, but anything can stimulate an idea. The hard part is, recognizing which ideas will work and developing that idea into a workable story. An idea is not a plot. An idea is not a novel. Turning it into a story… that’s where the real work comes in. 

What about the books Play Dead and Miracle Cure? Did you write those?
Yes, in my youth—my early to mid-twenties—I wrote Play Dead, a novel of romantic suspense, I guess, and Miracle Cure, which is more a medical thriller. They are currently out of print. I have the rights back and right now have no concrete plans to re-release them. But one day, they’ll be baaaack.

What’s up with Hollywood? Any word on movies or TV shows based on the books?
Hollywood is a tricky animal and one a novelist is best keeping at arm’s length. At the same time, I’d love to see something made. We’ll try to update you on the latest rumors. Go to www.harlancoben.com for more information.

Will you come to talk at our school, library, conference, etc?
Because of time constraints, family obligations and workloads, the number of appearances I do is limited. If you wish to make a request, you can send it here: appearances@harlancoben.com

Our book club is reading one of your books. Any suggested questions?
Actually, here is one where I’d love your help. If someone has some helpful questions, I’d be happy to post them here. I can tell you that the themes I love best involve family—the ties and bonds we all know. I enjoy stories where the past reverberates and sends shock waves to the present. I enjoy novels about old secrets and missing people who may still be alive, about loss, about redemption. That should get your started!

How can I get an autographed copy? Can it be personalized?
The best way is to come to a book-signing, of course, but I realize that this is often difficult. What you can do is order a copy from Bookends in New Jersey, telephone 201-445-0726 or email Bkends@aol.com. Tell them what you want and they will do their best to take care of you. Yes, I will personalize, write Happy Birthday or Happy Mothers Day or whatever. I try to stop in to the store and fill the orders once a week or so.  Unfortunately, I cannot accept books sent to my home or publisher. Thanks for understanding.

Do you have a favorite book of the ones you’ve written?
I’m going to trot out another cliché. The books are like my children. It’s hard and probably wrong to pick favorites. 

Do you outline? Do you know the ending before you begin?
I don’t outline. I usually know the ending before I start. I know very little about what happens in between. It’s like driving from New Jersey to California. I may go Route 80, I may go via the Straits of Magellan or stopover in Tokyo… but I’ll end up in California.

Do you read and reply to every email yourself?
The answer is yes and a slower yes (yeeeeeeeessssss?). I read them all. I am waaaay behind in answering them.

How do I get published?
My advice would be to NOT try to market or sell your novel until it is done. I mean, completely done, done done, fully-finished and ready to go, and a few other redundant phrases like that. Sorry, for obvious reasons, I can’t read manuscripts or recommend an agent. I do suggest that you find an agent. There are many sources for that (the Writer’s Market is one). Then write the agents a fabulous one-page query letter that reads like the greatest flap copy in history. Make them hunger for more.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

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