There are many perks that come with this job. First of all, I get to write as often as I like and have it published all over the internet. I get to delve into subjects and topics that I love, be it political or pop-culture related.The biggest perk of this gig, however, is that every now and then I get to connect with talented artists that I truly admire and respect. That is how I was able to have some of my burning questions answered by one of my very favorite authors, Mr. Harlan Coben.
According to Harlan's official website:
With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world...His books are published in 41 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries.
That's some serious selling power! Have I piqued your interest yet? I thought so! Read on for some direct answers from Mr. Coben regarding life, love and literature and prepare to be smitten with this charming man.
First of all, Mr. Coben, I’d like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I know that you’re busy, with a demanding schedule that makes you quite the elusive ninja, so this is very much appreciated. That being said, let’s jump right in, shall we?
PopWrapped:One of my favorite authors once said that the complex and intricate idea for her series came to her fully formed in a dream. Can you explain where your inspiration, specifically for a series that demands continuity like the Myron Bolitar series, stems from?
Harlan Coben:Fully formed dreams? Man, I want her meds. Inspiration is an odd word and doesn’t really apply. You got to sit your butt in a chair and just get to it. Amateurs wait for inspiration – the rest of us just get to work.
PopWrapped:To expand on the first question, can you please explain why in the world you chose to name your main protagonist Myron Bolitar in the first place?
Harlan Coben:I originally thought Myron would be ultra-cool and so I wanted to give him a nerdy name. Myron seemed to fit the bill. I don’t remember where Bolitar came from. Sometimes the answer is simply, “I make it up.” As I get older, I realize that it’s okay to sometimes shrug and admit you don’t know the answer.
PW:And taking it even further, where does the inspiration for your characters stem from? For example: Do you actually KNOW somebody like Win, or is he just some brilliant manifestation of id vs ego?
HC:Win is one of the few characters based on someone real – my college roommate and still closest friend. But mostly again, I just make the stuff up. My friends usually think the cool characters are based on them: “Hey, that guy who gets all da ladies – that’s me, right?” They never say, “That dude with halitosis who wears too much cologne – you got that from moi, no?”
PW:What about Jessica? Have you ever loved and lost as spectacularly as Myron loved and lost Jessica?
HC:Nope. I got to keep my Jessica. [Swoon!!]
PW:When I was discussing this interview with a friend, he told me that he thought you were a brilliant author, but that some of your novels focus too heavily on the relationship aspect. Do you have a retort for that claim?
HC:Sounds more like a compliment. Don’t all good stories focus on relationships? That’s what, I hope, makes my books work. If you don’t care about the characters, it doesn’t matter how great the plot or twists are. I don’t just want to fool you in the end – I want to move you. I want a tear in the eye when you close the book.
PW:Your latest book, MISSING YOU, is written from a female perspective. Being a man, does your process differ when you’re trying to tell a story through the voice of a woman? Is there any sort of special preparation that you undertake to get into the psyche of a woman? Something Mel Gibson-esque, perhaps?
HC:Strangely enough, I found writing from Kat’s perspective in MISSING YOU pretty easy. Well, no writing is easy, but relative to writing about a man, it wasn’t any harder. I’m not sure why or what that says about me, and no, I didn’t do anything special to get into her psyche.
PW:You’ve recently released two books in the Mickey Bolitar series, which branches out into the world of Young Adult. Is there any specific reason you decided to explore the somewhat frightening world of YA?
HC:I have four teens so there’s that. Also when I met Mickey Bolitar in one of my adult novels, I realized the kid had more stories to tell. So that’s what I did. They’re great fun. I’m finishing up the trilogy with FOUND, coming out in September.
PW:Can you give us a rundown of your favorite authors? Perhaps some recommendations for our readers out there?
HC:Philip Roth is my favorite author of all time. If you haven’t experienced him, you should. I hate listing favorite authors because many are friends of mine and then I forget to put them on the list and feel bad.
PW:What’s your favorite Bruce Springsteen song and how many times have you seen him live?
HC:Jungleland. Lost count. Over fifty for certain.
PW: Will we be hearing anything from Myron or Mickey anytime soon?
HC:See above on Mickey. No word on Myron’s return, but he’ll be back. I once skipped six books and went six years without writing him.
PW:Bald men have become quite “in Vogue” lately thanks to characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White; but you’ve been rocking the bald look for years. Tell me: What makes bald beautiful?
HC:Ha! Yeah, it’s sooo hard to be eye-candy. I keep hoping people will respect me for my brains, but no, it’s all about my beauty. I’m more than a pretty face and shaved pate, you know. I have thoughts, feelings…
PW:Are you able to pick your favorite piece that you’ve completed; or is that akin to picking your favorite child?
HC:Yes, all books are like my children – they annoy me and drive me nuts.
PW:Can you tell us something about childhood friend Chris Christie that we likely wouldn’t know?
HC:He’s pretty much who he is, so there aren’t many secrets. Our senior year of high school, he was president of the class whilst (love that word) I was president of the student council. Let’s just say you’d probably have guessed which one of us would end up being governor and which one of us would make stuff for a living.
PW:And finally, please tell me why PopWrapped is the BEST entertainment site on the web.
HC:Because you select the best people to interview?
As you can see, Coben is not only an immensely talented author; he's humble, sassy and downright hilarious. If you've not experienced the glory of Harlan's novels, I suggest you rectify that immediately. While my personal favorite is anything involving the enigmatic Myron Bolitar, his standalone novels and the Mickey Bolitar series are nothing short of brilliant.
Thank you, Mr. Coben, for taking the time to answer my questions. I shall be waiting with bated breath for FOUND and more from Myron and Win. I really miss that lovable psychopath.Keep Up With PopWrapped On The Web!