I want the reader to stay up all night


Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben

Live Wire

The Myron Bolitar series may indeed be over – but probably not. Harlan Coben is telling.

Which crime novelists have an influence over your work ?

I’m not so much “influenced” as “inspired” – and not just by crime novelists. Whenever I experience anything that moves me – a Woody Allen movie, a Springsteen song, an Ed Hopper painting – it inspires me to give my readers that same emotion.

Deciding whether telling the truth or not, is a recurring theme in Live Wire. Don’t you think that revealing secrets is at the core of crime fiction as a genre ?

Seeking truths is at the core of every worthwhile novel, crime fiction or not.

There’s a clear chain of events in this novel. Was it difficult to organize the plot line that way ?

Writing is always difficult – no part of it is particularly easy.

There’s a very negative vision of the world of sports and
entertainment in your novel. Is your novel a case against them ?

No. As for my vision, I think that different people may come to different conclusions about who or what I’m negative about. That’s the beauty of it. We all come into the reading experience with our viewpoint. I, for example, do not view the book as an indictment of sports and entertainment, but I can see how someone else might.

Do you consider how the reader will react while you’re working on a novel ?

I want the reader to stay up all night, frantically turning pages, lost in the book, thoroughly enjoying themselves. I want them held in suspense throughout — and in the end, I want them genuinely moved, maybe even to tears. I want them to care about the characters and when the book is over, I want them to miss spending time with them.

The reader has legitimate reasons to worry at the end of Live Wire. Has Myron Bolitar become unbearable for you, up to a point where you might decide to stop the series ?

I love Myron. I will always love Myron. But he is not like, for example, Hercule Poirot, a hero who is always the same age with a stagnant personal life. This is where Myron’s personal story has gone – to, I think, a very surprising place. As Myron likes to say, “God plans, Man laughs.” I don’t know where he will go from here. That’s the joy of it. The series may indeed be over – but probably not. At one time I stopped writing him for six books. I may again – who knows? – or he may call out to me next week.