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Stephanie
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Questions for Harlan

Post your questions directly to Harlan here.

Please note that this thread is appropriate for those who have finished the book.
Stephanie
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names

[ Edited ]
Harlan,
Loved the book, was intrigued by the names. I am new to your books but sure this wont be the last now. Anyway, I found a lot of the names very apropos to the characters themselves. Do you pick names for a particular reason? Like, Paul- Cope short for Copeland, he is the one trying to "cope" with all this. Flair, for the gay attorney, that like Paul himself says, isnt sure if thats his real name (but fits his personality). Muse, (to comtemplate thoughtfully or ponder on) for the woman who is his chief investigator. Chamique, who Paul admits, her very name unfortunately wont help (stupid prejudices). Mort, to me just fits the annoying attorney lol and Cingle Shaker for the drop dead looker of an Investigator, best at getting to the men? OH man that name really cracks me up. So how did you come up with the names?

By the way, thank you for your thoughts about the dust covers for us :smileyhappy:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 05-08-200708:16 PM

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/ Cal and Jim

Harlan,
When I read about the boys using the names to each other of Cal and Jim, over and over and Paul talking about them almost posing her and it being something right there out of his grasp, I thought right then, check the movies they have watched! Later I read yes, it was the porn they had watched. I thought this right off because of some previous real cases where this was the case, including the Gainsville Florida college girl murders back in the early 90s. Did this play into your idea for this spin? Not those murders in particular, but that, that has often been found to be true on crimes that have an "acting out" aspect to them?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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atlreader
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Re: Questions for Harlan

Harlan,

Three questions about your craft and THE WOODS:

In the discussion B&N hosted on JUST ONE LOOK, you wrote about how hard you work on your plots. And in THE WOODS, I loved how you intertwined the secondary story - of Cope's court case - with the main story line in such a way that this subplot impelled the action of the primary plot. Wow. Consequently, I'm curious: was figuring this book out any more difficult or challenging than any of your previous independent works?

Secondly, I am always amazed at how your pacing, the rate at which the story tumbles out of the pages, manipulates my heart beat, the rate of my breathing. Sometimes, as I'm hurtling toward your denouement, like in THE WOODS, I think that my heart is going to thump right out of my chest. And after I close the book, it takes me a long time to settle down. Is this something you consciously work to achieve? Or are you confident enough in your style now that this just flows for you?

Finally, I was thrilled when I opened THE WOODS and found you were once again writing in the first person. One of your stengths, one of the things that sets you apart from so many authors is the way you allow us into the heads of your male protagonists. I love the uncertainty, the struggle, the fear, the courage, the love with which you imbue them. I love the way they confront the ethics of their situations and wrestle with their own morality.

You've commented in this forum before that your characters evolve from your stories, and that you work harder on your plots. But to me, your characters give your books a humanity and a spirit that elevates them above the mere mystery. Is it easier to express yourself in the first person? Or does it make it harder to separate yourself from your character?

Thank you,

Shawn
An Atlanta reader
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HarlanCoben
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names

Great question on the character names.

Most of the time, names just "pop" in my head. I've even changed them when they don't work. The lead character in THE INNOCENT was named Jeff Hunter for about fifty pages when I realized he wasn't "a Jeff", but "a Matt." It is just feel.

I also donate character names for charity. In short, if you bid enough money, I will use your name in a book. You might have a big part but most likely, it will be small. That said, Loren Muse was a name someone bought with a donation. So that one I can't take credit for.
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HarlanCoben
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Re: Questions for Harlan/ Cal and Jim

No, I never heard of the Gainsville case. The truth was, I first had an inkling about this idea years and years ago when, uh, hmm. Well, let's just say it's not based on any real case. I never get my ideas from the headlines. They always come from my real life. That was true with the rape case in this book. Thanks!
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HarlanCoben
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Re: Questions for Harlan

I'm hitting "quote post" but then I get the entire post, so I don't know how to do this.

Altreader asked several questions about the pacing and the characters. Please don't misunderstand. The characters are as important -- probably more so -- as plot. But the process of developing them is organic. That is, for me, the plot is the thing to worry about and how the character react to that will help define them and bring them to life.

In THE WOODS, I really wanted everyone to be gray. I never like black and white anyway, but this time around, I especially didn't want that. No one gets out of that nigh in THE WOODS unscathed. I like that.

I hope this helps answer your questions?

Harlan
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cindersue
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names


HarlanCoben wrote:
Great question on the character names.

Most of the time, names just "pop" in my head. I've even changed them when they don't work. The lead character in THE INNOCENT was named Jeff Hunter for about fifty pages when I realized he wasn't "a Jeff", but "a Matt." It is just feel.

I also donate character names for charity. In short, if you bid enough money, I will use your name in a book. You might have a big part but most likely, it will be small. That said, Loren Muse was a name someone bought with a donation. So that one I can't take credit for.




Never heard of that kind of donation. That's an awesome idea! Supposedly one of my ancestors was a good friend of Shakespeare's. He used "Lord Curtis," our family name, in one of his plays. There's that name again, Kiakar! :smileywink:
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names

What a cool way to get in a book Harlan lol. This poor mutt on SS wont be in one soon I guess, but i love the idea :smileywink:. When you talked about using Jeff Hunter in the one book, (I am planning on reading that book too, sounds interesting, so this will answer the same question about that book too), I thought of Jeffrey Hunter the actor (from way back in my childhood) and I thought oh no, Jeff Hunter out of the grave, off of the screen and on the pages! LOL
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan

[ Edited ]
Harlan,
you can hit quote post, then highlight what you want to take out and cut it so you have just a part of the question there or what its about and from who, or you can cut and paste into your message, the part that post that you just want to use, like i will do here after i put a line under this to seperate it from this. But a lot of these questions, the way you phrase your answers and who they are to,is very easy to follow. Not to name names EVER lol, but the last author lead one i was in, the author there was stuck at first too and we just found posts around like "no that wasnt what i had planned at all" and " oh yes, you got it right on there" nothing more, and we were all asking huh? who and what are you answering??? lol, this posting is tricky at first but you are doing great with it I think, you havent lost me yet!
_________________________________________________________________-
Harlen wrote:
I'm hitting "quote post" but then I get the entire post, so I don't know how to do this.

Message Edited by vivico1 on 05-09-200712:13 PM

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/ Cal and Jim


HarlanCoben wrote:
No, I never heard of the Gainsville case. The truth was, I first had an inkling about this idea years and years ago when, uh, hmm. Well, let's just say it's not based on any real case. I never get my ideas from the headlines. They always come from my real life. That was true with the rape case in this book. Thanks!


The true answer of a suspense writer LOL!!! Tell us enough to say,ohhhh tell me more! hehe. I wont ask then, cause I am laughing at that last word...Thanks! like thanks for the question and not asking more hehe. Oh, where i could go with that answer lol :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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retiredrita
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Re: Questions for Harlan

I know you will be asked a lot about this, but are you going to write anymore about Mr. Copeland. I really liked this character, his personality, his humor, his way of dealing with the people around him. I suspect a lot of your fans want Myron back, and although I like him as well, I really warmed up to Cope, his investigator and a few of the other characters.
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Andeka
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Re: Questions for Harlan

What album was "Back in Your Arms" from?? I don't recognize that one... or "Drive All Night" {and I was calling myself a Bruce fan?!?!?} :smileywink:
Wordsmith
kiakar
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names



vivico1 wrote:
What a cool way to get in a book Harlan lol. This poor mutt on SS wont be in one soon I guess, but i love the idea :smileywink:. When you talked about using Jeff Hunter in the one book, (I am planning on reading that book too, sounds interesting, so this will answer the same question about that book too), I thought of Jeffrey Hunter the actor (from way back in my childhood) and I thought oh no, Jeff Hunter out of the grave, off of the screen and on the pages! LOL




I have heard recently of alot of authors doing this. It is really awesome for those that have lots of money to donate to charities. maybe I will win the lottery and will have my name up in one of them delicious novels of someone!
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Character names


kiakar wrote:


vivico1 wrote:
What a cool way to get in a book Harlan lol. This poor mutt on SS wont be in one soon I guess, but i love the idea :smileywink:. When you talked about using Jeff Hunter in the one book, (I am planning on reading that book too, sounds interesting, so this will answer the same question about that book too), I thought of Jeffrey Hunter the actor (from way back in my childhood) and I thought oh no, Jeff Hunter out of the grave, off of the screen and on the pages! LOL




I have heard recently of alot of authors doing this. It is really awesome for those that have lots of money to donate to charities. maybe I will win the lottery and will have my name up in one of them delicious novels of someone!


You win the lottery and I will write a book where you ARE the main character, and you can be anything you want to be in it LOL!! But on a serious note, i think its a great idea.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: Questions for Harlan/Skokie

Why did you pick Skokie? Was wondering if you have ever been to Skokie? I grew up around there and thought it was interesting that Paul's parents started out there.
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Wrighty
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Paul


retiredrita wrote:
I know you will be asked a lot about this, but are you going to write anymore about Mr. Copeland. I really liked this character, his personality, his humor, his way of dealing with the people around him. I suspect a lot of your fans want Myron back, and although I like him as well, I really warmed up to Cope, his investigator and a few of the other characters.




I agree about Paul! He was a great character. He certainly was damaged and he came across as a bit aggressive and harsh (appropriate for a lawyer) but knowing his thoughts and feelings made him very endearing, very human. His sense of humor was the best! Do you share his quick wit and sarcasm? It's also obvious you are a parent (in a good way!). No one could write those scenes between Paul and his daughter unless they had been through it themselves. Been there, done that and it's really funny now. :smileyvery-happy:
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan

Harlan, this was so well written and paced that it played out visually in my head the whole time. Would you see this as a movie? I think it would make a great one. The way your characters play off each other and yes the quit wit, at times cutting lol, would be great on screen. I thought about what kind of movie since much of what we read is in Paul's thoughts. I can see it as an old film noir where the main character does voice overs of his thoughts but those are too dark for the humor side of things in this i think. I know it could still be done as a movie with all his thoughts brought out anyway. Forgive me if this is a "duh" question but has any of your work been turned into a movie? This is my first Harlan Coban book but wont be my last! I hope you do another bookclub in here for us. Thanks, Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Harlan/ Cal and Jim

Ok, i have to mention this because of your great choice of character names and also your comment of
"The truth was, I first had an inkling about this idea years and years ago when, uh, hmm. Well, let's just say it's not based on any real case. I never get my ideas from the headlines. They always come from my real life." about the boys and the video playing into it.
So,your choice of the name for this video?? Harlan, I dont know porn movies other than hearing the names Debbie does Dallas and Deep Throat from ages ago, so was the title for this porn movie a real one guys would relate to? I have to tell you too, there are parts of your book that are so funny that one shouldnt be taking a drink of pop, or anything, when you read them! I about choked laughing at this name,well the whole darn scene quite frankly. CINGLE SHAKER (still cracks me up for a name for miss killer bod evidently) bringing into court a video named "Romancing the Bone"! Porn titles do seem to have one thing, rediculously funny titles!

Also the whole set up there " I Looked back at Cingle Shaker. So did everyone else. Cingle smiled and waved as though she were a celebrity in the aundience and had just been introduced." LOL! What a court scene! I get the feeling everytime Cingle walks in a room its like she is a celebrity being introduced lol. I can hear the gasps in the jury when the video title is announced tho Flair even found it amusing. I hope you know I will never see the movie Romancing The Stone again and not think of this lol. So give, is that a flash from the past or did you just have some fun coming up with that title. This is the fun of books...words chosen.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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HarlanCoben
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Re: Questions for Harlan



retiredrita wrote:
I know you will be asked a lot about this, but are you going to write anymore about Mr. Copeland. I really liked this character, his personality, his humor, his way of dealing with the people around him. I suspect a lot of your fans want Myron back, and although I like him as well, I really warmed up to Cope, his investigator and a few of the other characters.




I have never brought back a lead other than Myron Bolitar, my series creation. I don't plan to but what with Cope's job, I wouldn't be surprised to see him return.
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