Mystery writer Harlan Coben invites you to his house
This month, as Harlan Coben releases "Missing You," a thriller about how Internet dating hooks a New York police detective into a dark conspiracy from her past, the best-selling writer is using technology to talk to faithful Salt Lake City readers.
In the past, he's visited three bookstores to promote each of his annual releases, but his mystery novels are so popular, he could travel year-round just to meet readers. After all, Coben is the first writer to have won the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony awards, and has more than 60 million books in print. His last six novels all debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list.
For this release, readers at The King's English Bookshop and 12 other bookstores will have the chance to virtually visit Coben's New Jersey home via two private webcasts on Tuesday, March 25.
"I can only travel so much, yet I love to support independent bookstores when I can," says Coben of why he agreed to the webcast.
"My hope is to take a lot of questions," he says. If readers are interested, he'll offer a tour of the various rooms in his house where he writes. He might even introduce his dogs, a bearded collie named Jersey and a Havanese named Laszlo, recently featured on the author's Twitter stream.
Last fall, the Salt Lake City bookstore held a Skype chat with Montana writer Ivan Doig, who picked up his computer and pointed it out the window to show readers the view from his writing desk. The success of that event prompted the store to jump at the chance to join the webcast with Coben, which will be streamed in HD via the Ustream video platform.
"We love having authors visit our store, and we understand Salt Lake is not Los Angeles or New York City," says Anne Holman, manager of the bookstore. "If this format works for our customers and the publishing houses, we might do this with big-name authors all the time."
Peter Marchese, co-owner for Playback Producers, is coordinating the event for Dutton, the New York publishing house. The webcast is designed to offer something that's equivalent to or better than the thrill of shaking a favorite writer's hand at a reading.
Such as visiting Coben's house. "He's going to provide a snapshot of his life, even more personal than standing in front of an audience at a bookstore, because he's going to bring them into his world," Marchese says.
If readers support virtual readings, there are plans for more events with Dutton authors, and the webcasts will be posted on YouTube. "I think it really might be the new way that bigger authors go on tour, if it is a success," Marchese says. "A lot of it will depend on buy-in from readers, and what we can provide that is unique for people attending these events."
Come on over to Harlan Coben's house
The mystery writer invites readers for a live UStream visit to his New Jersey home to promote his novel "Missing You."
When • Tuesday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.; live stream will begin at 8 p.m.
Where • The King's English Bookstore, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
More • Signed copies of the novel will be available for $27.95
Info • 801-484-9100