A great interview with Harlan Coben over at ITW's THE BIG THRILL PAGE--here's the link:
I dislike books that start with a client coming to the P.I.'s office with a case. Far too many books have started like that for the past 50 years or more.
Have to agree with IJ about the client coming into the private eye's office (Hope it's not a blond with long legs), but I've been reading a lot of Coben's thrillers the last two years. I started because he's such a big seller, I figured I'd learn something about writing popular fiction, but I find them very entertaining, HIs formula is pretty simple: create characters the reader cares about (see Jude's 250 words about suspense) and then run them up against some bad people. He also does something I've loved since first reading Ross McDonald decades ago -- weave an old mystery with a current one.
Thanks for posting the interview. He's a Jersey boy, too!
Ross MacDonald was my first PI read, devoured every one of his book. Absolutely one of the best.
My favorite bit of Coben's piece "Just shut up and write."
I'm just like him--a Jersey boy who writes in coffee shops. The only difference between us is a few (million) sales.
HC was the guest of honor at the Crimebake a few years back, and he gave us some advice on dealing with editors that was worth the price of the conference:
"If an editor wants you to make a change that you can't go along with, change something else and say, You know, your suggestion got me thinking ... "
Oh, that's great. I bet it works, too. I've had my problems with inept editors.
David: Thanks for pointing me to this link. Harlan Corben is a level-headed writer who I connect with. On my way to check it out.
I agree, Mark. Corben's always been a favorite of mine.