10 Weird Questions with Harlan Coben
Best selling author Harlan Coben sat down with us to discuss what inspires him as a writer as well as his love of Julie Newmar. You can check out his work on his official website and also be on the lookout for his next novel, Missing You, coming soon!
1. So what are you up to right now?
Writing a novel called Missing You. Or trying to write. More like, I started to try to write and then decided to do this interview instead. I call this “procrastination.” Children, don’t try this at home. I’m a professional.
2. What authors would you say had the biggest influence on your or inspired you the most?
Big difference between influences and inspires. Anything great inspires me. A Hopper painting. A Woody Allen film. A Springsteen song. Certain episodes of The Sopranos. A Philip Roth novel. When I get that experience, that high, it makes me want to up my game and maybe give that to a reader. Come to think of it, those are influences too.
3. Do you ever subconsciously find yourself basing characters off of people you know or family members?
Not often. My friends always think the cool stud characters are based on them. None of them ever say, “Hey, that guy with halitosis and a small wee-wee – that’s me, right?” Characters are mostly imagined. I may spot a stranger and invent an entire life for them – a spouse, a job, a tragedy, a hope, a dream. That’s mostly how it’s done.
4. What are your top five favorite movies of all time?
Wow. In no particular order…
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- Annie Hall
- Stranger on a Train
…damn this is hard.
5. Did you enjoy writing as a kid?
Not really. It always makes me roll my eyes when writers start up with the “I always knew I’d be a writer, as a six-year-old I told stories on the playground and the kids would gather around me, blah blah blah.” I also don’t buy it. I always loved story. I’m not sure I loved – or love – writing. Oscar Madison once said, “I don’t like writing – I like having written.” That.
6. What’s the strangest celebrity encounter you’ve ever had?
The answers are all humblebrags, so I will simply say this. Three of my childhood fantasy women – Tina Louise “Ginger, Julie Newmar “Catwoman, and Yvonne Craig “Batgirl” – read my books. High five! #Winning.
7. Are there any TV shows you’re keeping up with right now?
My current favorites include Dexter, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write. Just write. Don’t check your Amazon rankings. Don’t listen to other writers. Don’t worry about how it will be published or marketing or any of that. Just write.
9. Who are some of your favorite accounts on Twitter?
This question could only get me in trouble because I will leave out favorites. Let’s limit this to humor. I think Danny Zuker (confession: we went to high school together) is simply the best on lots of levels. I marvel at what he does on Twitter. Others who make me laugh include NachoSarah, Tweet of God, Matt Roller, Andy Levy, Rob Fee (sorry), Jacy Catlin, Jenny Johnson, Guy Endore-Kaiser, The Nuzzy, and The Guy. I’m leaving a lot out, but I need stop procrastinating.
I also – and I don’t think I’m alone here – follow some people because, well, they are just so lame. I love them for the lameness. I follow others because try as you might, if you tweet enough, eventually you open your own can of crazy. You see the real them. It’s a wonderful moment when a tweet lets you see behind the facade.
10. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been ridiculously lucky, and all answers again sound frighteningly immodest. I’m also not a guy who dwells much on past accomplishments so by the time this is published I hope something happens that might change my answer.