coben: TV work is my side job, my main work is to write novels: Harlan Coben on books, writing, and life

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There is hardly a mystery or thriller lover who has not heard of Harlan Cobain. A popular author of worldwide bestselling thrillers and creator and executive producer of some fan-favorite web shows, such as Safe, Stay Close, The Stranger and The Innocent, Cobain’s thrillers have been published in 45 languages ​​and over a dozen. It has become a bestseller in many countries.

In a recent conversation with author, columnist and Times of India executive editor Binita Daura Nangia, Cobain talks about her book, the writing process, her life and much more.

Harlan Cobain with books, writing and life

The conversation began with Binita Cobain being asked about the mystery behind writing a novel every year since 2010. In addition, she has written 33 books, 75 million of which are still in print.

To this, Cobain responded, “With TV, production and book writing, you just have to manage your time better. One of the funny things is that they feed each other. So as a novelist, I’m an introvert at heart. I spend most of my time I work in a room. TV opposite – it’s very collaborative. The two activities feed each other.

“When I’m alone in a room for a long time, I’m happy to go on set, talk to other actors and creative people. But when I’m on set for three days or more, I start to lose my mind. I’m in my room. I want to go back and work on my novel, “he added.

Since Cobain is also involved in film and television, Vinita asked him if it interfered with his writing. In response, Cobain emphasized the fact that his main job was to write novels, and that this was his only priority. “It hasn’t happened yet, and if it does, I’ll cut one or the other. The TV job is next to mine, my main job is writing novels. It’s still always a priority,” he said.

Talking about common things, many complain, such as “lack of time to write”, Cobain noted that this is not true. According to him, everyone has more time than they think, and when someone says they don’t have time to write a book, he doesn’t believe it. “They have time, they have other priorities that are more important than writing a book. You can wake up an hour earlier, you can sit at a desk in your lunch hour, you can skip that TV show – whatever, You can always find more time, “Cobain said.

When Vinita was asked if she drank while reading books by other authors, Cobain had an interesting response. “I don’t know a musician who doesn’t listen to music. I just read a little slower. As a writer, what makes me page is guilt, anger and self-loathing. Whenever I’m doing this guilt in my head. There’s that I have to write, ”he shared.

As the conversation progressed towards Cobain’s journey as a writer, he said he had “excessive imagination” as a child. “When I was in college, I had some idea of ​​what I wanted to write as a novel, even though I didn’t take any writing classes in college. So I wrote a novel in my senior year, which wasn’t good. Seeing that, I started writing on my own. ”

In a curious turn, Cobain reveals that he considers himself one of the few writers who advises others to do less research. “Research is more fun than writing,” said Cobain. “So instead of researching first, I suggest you write first and think about research later. Research won’t stop you from writing. Does. ”

In this regard, Vinita emphasized that this could be the reason why Cobain’s stories go fast and the reader or viewer wants to know what happens next. “When I read or watch one of your shows, it feels like I’m living in that world, and every time I get out of it for my food or work, I want to get back into it. , He mentioned.

Furthermore, speaking of his writing process, Cobain said that his method “does not have to be a method because I keep changing it.” He explained with an example, “Before Kovid, I almost always worked out of the house. A few years ago, I bought an Uber from New Jersey to New York. I felt guilty for spending too much money on an Uber so I started. Write back. And I wrote really well. So for three weeks I took Uber wherever I went and finished The Stranger! ”

“The main advice I give people is that if it helps you create pages, it’s good. If it doesn’t, it’s bad. So I do whatever it takes to create pages,” Cobain added.

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