Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Novel Is like a Sausage - You Don't Want to See How It's Made ; Harlan Coben Is the Hit Man Who Is Always on Target with His Bestselling Thrillers. MARION MCMULLEN Finds out about His Latest Book and His Move into Television

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Novel Is like a Sausage - You Don't Want to See How It's Made ; Harlan Coben Is the Hit Man Who Is Always on Target with His Bestselling Thrillers. MARION MCMULLEN Finds out about His Latest Book and His Move into Television

Article excerpt

THINKING about murder, dead bodies and conspiracy theories is an occupational hazard for Harlan Coben.

"I'm really good with deadlines," says the American writer, "and I think about plots all the time. It's just how my brain works."

He chuckles: "Friends are used to being out with me and seeing me look off to the side and just go 'Oh, he's off in fiction land.'" The 54-year-old is one of the world's most successful authors and his page-turning thrillers have sold 60 million copies and been translated into 43 languages.

"I didn't know there were that many languages around," he laughs. "It's such a cool thing. I normally get one or two copies sent to me. It drives my wife mad because they are stacked up all over the place, but there are books from Slovenia and in Thai and Indian. It's pretty special to me to think that books I've written in New Jersey are being read in all these countries."

His latest thriller, Fool Me Once, is out this month and begins with special ops pilot Maya seeing an image captured on the nanny cam of her two-year-old daughter happily playing with husband, Joe. The only problem is Joe was brutally murdered two weeks earlier.

"I knew the beginning and I knew the end when I started writing," explains Harlan, "but I knew nothing about what was going to happen in between."

Harlan regularly tops the bestselling list and now his novels are being snapped up by TV and film companies.

So when did he feel he had become a success? "I'll tell you when it happens," he jokes. "Writers by their very nature are very insecure and are driven by that insecurity. There are milestones like topping the New York Bestsellers List for the first time or the first award, but I still worry about each book. I think you have to otherwise you might as well just phone it in."

His novel Tell No One was made into a French film starring Kristin Scott-Thomas and was a box office success. The English- language remake is now in development at Universal Studios with Liam Neeson heading the cast, while No Second Chance is being made into another TV series in France.

Paramount are making thriller Six Years with Hugh Jackman in the lead and the film rights to Missing You have also been bought. …

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