Harlan Coben: 47 million books, and STILL a cool guy

By Sheila English

Harlan Coben has more than 47 million books in print worldwide. He’s a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author who has won just about every thriller award imaginable.

But when I asked him which of those awards was the coolest, he answered:

“The Dagger.”

Why?

“Because, well, it’s a dagger.”

And immediately I liked him! Often we imagine authors to be bookworm-types or stuffy, especially when that author is also a journalist who writes for such magazines as Parade and The New York Times. But Harlan, creator of the Myron Bolitar franchise and numerous stand-alones, is vastly interesting, with a wonderful sense of humor. If you follow him on Facebook, you already know that.

Harlan Coben.jpgHe currently is busy promoting his newest release, CAUGHT, which comes on the heels of his last two No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT.

CAUGHT is a stand-alone novel in which a reporter, Wendy Tynes, has her own show that helps expose and catch sexual predators. After a sting operation, Wendy starts to question whether her latest target, likeable guy Dan Mercer, is really guilty. She gets involved when a 17-year old “good girl” goes missing for three months.

In a recent video interview, Harlan talks about the book. He begins with the “What if . . .” of a story.

I asked which of his many novels he would recommend to someone who has never read him before. His reply?

“TELL NO ONE. No, I don’t think it is my best, but that’s the answer most people give, and the author is the worst person to ask. We are too close to it.”

Of course, to find out which he really thinks is his “best,” you can always ask him at ThrillerFest or drop him a note at his website: www.harlancoben.com

I asked Harlan what he’s looking most forward to at this year’s festival.

“The same thing I always look forward to at conventions: meeting readers and hanging out with my friends and colleagues. Ours is a lonely occupation. I love the opportunity to mingle with others
who ‘get it.'”

So be sure to say “hi” when you see him. But, if you can’t make it to ThrillerFest, you can still catch up with Harlan.

When I asked him where people can interact with him online, he shared this with me:

“Why would you want to interact with me? Trust me, I’m not that interesting. Yes, I have a Twitter and Facebook and web page, but you’re better off just reading my books.”

Well, he might not think he’s interesting, but his nearly 5,000 friends on Facebook might disagree. (http://www.facebook.com/harlan.coben) And, his more than 16,000 followers on Twitter. Of course, they probably wouldn’t be following him if they hadn’t read his books. So perhaps that really is the best place to start.

I finished the interview with one essential question: How important is it to keep your sense of humor as you become more successful?

It’s actually more important to have the sense of humor when you’re not that successful,” he says. “Now, it’s easy. When I was starting off and no one knew or cared–that’s when you need to laugh.

His sense of humor clearly got him through. Here’s hoping he brings it along to ThrillerFest!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheila English chairs ITW’s Social Networks Committee and has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and Newsweek for marketing and book videos. She’s a regular contributor to Future Perfect Publishing, and has written an e-book on marketing with video. She is CEO and executive producer of Circle of Seven Productions and Reader’s Entertainment Group.

HARLAN COBEN’S BOOKS
(From newest to debut)

Caught
Long Lost
Hold Tight
The Woods
Promise Me
The Innocent
Just One Look
No Second Chance
Gone For Good
Tell No One
Darkest Fear
The Final Detail
One False Move
Back Spin
Fade Away
Drop Shot
Deal Breaker

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