"I think -- and I hope -- it's better.
Writing is about imperfection, about never achieving your goals.
I don't know any writers who are entirely satisfied with their
novels. That makes them hunger to get it right the next time.
It should, methinks, make them better."
"You've had some great beginnings (Batman
trivia in DROP SHOT or Myron on vacation and hating it in The
Final Detail) -- Where do you get such novel beginnings? Anything
from the Coben household?"
"It's a funny thing. When I handed in
THE FINAL DETAIL, my editor predicted that the first paragraph
would end up in that section of Entertainment Weekly that lists
favorite openings. Voila, it happened. But nothing in my household
makes me do that, except maybe the airplane glue. I'm just trying
to engage you right off the bat. A strange and oft-times contradictory
opening does that."
"Do you push the envelope with humor
in your first drafts that we may not see in the final publication?
And if so, can you give us an example from The Final Detail that
the delete button digested?"
"Which book is THE FINAL DETAIL again?
This is going to sound like a dodge, but I finished that book
a year ago. It's flushed out of my head, especially the stuff
I cut out. The key, I think, is that it's okay to overwrite -
as long as a) you're writing and not merely playing computer
Solitaire and b) you don't fall so in love with your words that
you won't have the discipline to cut and cut big-time later.
It's like trying on clothes at Loehmans. If you bring a lot into the
dressing room, you have a better chance of finding stuff you
like -- as long as you don't overspend. Er, not that I know this
from personal experience mind you. Sheesh, what a terrible analogy.
I'm saving the good ones for the book."
"What makes Harlan Coben laugh? What
is the spectrum of your humor? Were you a class clown in school
or just the silent witty type?"
"No, I was the handsome, debonair type
with the rapier wit and flocks of women. But then I woke up. Let's see... Woody
Allen makes me laugh. Chris Rock makes me laugh. Philip Roth
makes me laugh. The Simpsons make me laugh. Quick wit makes me
laugh. Long jokes and meandering stories do NOT make me laugh"
"Any chance for another series with
one of the many characters from Myrons books? And if so who and
"Chance, sure. Planning it, nope. If
I ever did it... probably Win or Esperanza. They have lives totally
removed from Myron. I might like to explore them one day.
"With controversy surrounding Pro wrestling
these days and with a couple of ex-wrestlers in your books (Esperanza
Diaz and Big Cindy) have you thought about the wrestling world
for a Myron whodunit?"
"Thought about it, sure.
Done it, not yet. In the next book - May 2000, for those who
care -- Big Cyndi actually returns to the ring for the "senior
tour." The commissioner of FLOW (Fabulous Ladies of Wrestling,
for the uniniated) has seen how well the senior circuit is doing
for pro golf and decides to try it out with women wrestling.
So Breshnev's Babe, Queen Qadafi and all your favorite wrestlers
from the old days return. But it's a tiny part of the book. One
scene, no grappling."
"What do you think about and work on
while writing a novel to keep your plots moving long?"
"Simply this: am I moving the story
or am I amusing myself? Did the sentence I just write propel
the story forward or am I just engaging in a solo activity that
begins with an m, if you catch my not-so-subtle drift. That isn't
to say every sentence passes this test. But I'm asking it. I'm
thinking about it. And I'm trying.
"I just finished the Harlan the Whore
Tour for THE FINAL DETAIL and the paperback of ONE FALSE MOVE.
Now I'm back home with the kids and getting back in writing shape.
I'm working on another Myron novel, probably - and I'm going
back to your first question here about trying to improve - the
most ambitious to date. I really whallop the poor boy good in
his one. I think the readers
will be most pleased."