LIVINGSTON, NJ - Author of 23 mystery novels and former Livingston resident, Harlan Coben paid a visit to Heritage Middle School Tuesday afternoon.
The visit began with Coben signing over 100 of his most recent young adult book, "Seconds Away" and "Shelter" for the 7th and 8th grade students in the library. As he signed each book, Coben had a short conversation with each student.
8th grade student, Jack Feinberg, expressed to Coben how much he enjoys the author’s books.
“He has stories that are suspenseful and have good plot twists with great endings,” Feinberg told The Alternative Press.
Coordinator of the event, Christine Maccarella said that Coben was added to the Livingston Hall of Fame in 2010. She also explained how popular Coben’s young adult books are with the students.
“The kids love how he always mentions Livingston landmarks in his books,” Maccarella said.
After the signing was over, everyone proceeded into the auditorium where Coben incorporated humor and a few comments about his old stomping ground to engage students before he began explaining the process of how he writes a novel.
“The last time I was on this stage was 35 years ago when I ran for treasurer,” Coben said.
He explained that friend and New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie sat next to him in homeroom at Heritage and in high school, Coben was the president of the Student Council while Christie was president of the senior class.
Coben explained that the secret to all fiction writing is to ask “what if.”
After developing a solid idea for the book, which can take as much as three months, Coben said, you then have to create the lead character. Coben added that he always knows the end before he begins writing.
He also suggested to the students to rewrite their work.
“I always re-write. As long as you get something down, you can re-write it,” Coben said.
In one of his final thoughts before he began answering student’s questions, Coben said, “Writers are always insecure and always have doubts but if you have a dream, you have to have desperation for it.”
Coben resides in Ridgewood with his wife, Anne and their four children.