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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Harlan Coben at Barnes & Noble

Harlan Coben at Barnes & Noble
Going to see author Harlan Coben speak is like going to a neighborhood party and hanging out in the corner with the funniest guy on the block. Although he has authored 24 books, he is the down-to-earth guy you'd see shooting hoops in the driveway on your way to the grocery store.

He started out the evening promising to keep it short so we could all go home to watch the new reality show, Splash. This show that has such 'celebrities' as Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and comedian Louis Anderson in a diving competition was comedic fodder for much of Coben's night.

Coben's newest novel is Six Years, a stand-alone mystery (he authors the popular Myron Bolitar series) about a man who six years ago watched the only woman he ever loved marry another man. He recently saw that the man died and while attending the man's funeral, sees that the widow is not his ex-love. And the widow was married to the deceased man for twenty years. How is this possible?

Many people ask where Coben gets his ideas, and he replies with "what if?" For this novel, he was listening to his mellow playlist on Spotify, and he heard a heartbreaking song about a man who watches his love marry another man.

He talked about going to art fair and seeing a painting by an artist that he just had to have. He made the woman in the novel an artist and the painting he bought plays a big part in solving the novel's mystery. The actual artist was in the audience, and Coben pointed her out.

Coben jokes that he became a writer because he is so unqualified to hold an actual job. He talked about the hardest part of writing, which to just actually sit down and write something. Stop daydreaming and wondering why Burger King doesn't sell Mountain Dew or try to remember the name of the dog on Petticoat Junction. (Answer- the dog was called simply "Dog")

Not a big fan of research, Coben claims that it takes time from the actual writing, it is an excuse not to write. He believes that when you do too much research, you feel it necessary to add things to the book that slow down the plot.

Writing is three things according to Coben- "inspiration, perspiration, and desperation". He also said that the insecurity about the next book being a success never goes away. Every good writer wonders if this book is any good, even if they have sold millions of books. He claims that "only bad writers think they're good."

Six Years looks like another winner from Coben, and on the day of publication it was announced that Paramount Pictures bought the movie rights and Hugh Jackman is attached to star in it. (Yay!)

I always have to prepare to read a Harlan Coben book. I have start early enough in the day so I am not up until 3am finishing it in one sitting, as has happened more a few times in the past. I'll post a review when I finish.

Harlan Coben's website is here.

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