New York Times Best Selling author Harlan Coben, who grew up in Livingston and currently lives in Ridgewood, has set many of his mystery novels and thrillers in New Jersey and New York. His tenth book featuring his character Myron Bolitar, Live Wire, is in bookstores March 22. Coben will appear at . Patch spoke to Coben recently about his writing.
I always like to ask writers about their writing practices or routines. I believe you can be found at the Starbucks in Ridgewood. Is that gathering ideas or actually writing?
Both. Mostly writing. And I don’t really go to Starbucks in Ridgewood very often anymore. I move around.
Do you share work with fellow writers? What do you take from that if you do?
Never. I have many writer friends. We talk about almost everything but writing.
You set your novels in and around our hometowns. What are the constraints of writing about a real landscape?
The same constraints, I guess, as when I write about any place – be it Livingston or Newark or Paris.
Likewise, are there characters whose resemblance to actual people are more than coincidence?
No. My books are works of fiction. That means I make stuff up.
How did growing up in Essex County influence you as a writer?
I consider the suburbs of Essex County the bastion of the American dream – where people work hard and raise families and try their best. It is where I grew up. It is a part of me. In short, it influences every word.
I've interviewed a number of writers lately who identify themselves as Jersey writers, even Essex County writers. Do you?
What's your unfulfilled writing goal?
One of my dreams was to write a book for Young Adults. That dream comes true in September when my first YA novel, Shelter, comes out.
To what writers do you look to for inspiration?
Many things inspire me. A great novel, sure. So does a Hopper painting, a Springsteen song, a Woody Allen movie. I rarely look to other writers for inspiration.
Collaborative writing – good idea? Bad idea? With whom would you care to collaborate?
Writing is a solo activity for me, but I don’t judge. To each his own. And maybe one day I’ll change my mind.
When you run into classmates from Livingston, how do they complete this thought: "I thought you would turn out to be/do..."
“A tap dancer.” I’m joking. “Anything but a writer” is more apt.
What's next for you? What's next for Myron? Happy endings?
Myron comes back in Live Wire (released March 22nd). Happy ending? Well, read it and find out for yourself.