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Comment from the book world in April 2024

April 2024

On literary snobbery

15 April 2024

‘I always quote Kurt Vonnegut. He said in the early part of his career he was dismissed as a science fiction writer and that critics tend to put genre books, including sci-fi, in the bottom drawer of their desk... It's true. I get the New York Times every Sunday. In 37 novels, I've never had a stand-alone review. I'm always in the crime round-up. But I don't really mind because on the back pages in the bestseller lists, I'm always very well represented. I've had editors and publicists say, "Sorry about the New York Times" but I've gotta be honest: I don't care...

The crime novel is just a framework to tell any story you want to tell and the reason you're in the bestseller list is the readers know that. There's aways the thing about, "When will the next Great American Novel be published?' Well, there won't be a next Great American Novel that does not have a crime in it" ...

I've sat next to people on planes reading my books and I learnt early on not to say anything. I once said to this lady, ‘How do you like that book?" and she said. "It's just something to pass the time." Now I keep my mouth shut.'

Michael Connelly, author of 40 novels, many featuring his character Harry Bosch, which have sold over 84 million copies worldwide, and also executive producer of the Bosch & Bosch: Legacy, Lincoln Lawyer and Ballard tv series, in The Times.

'I recommend you know where you're going'

1 April 2024

'Some writers start with a sentence and have no idea where it's going. Others know every character's biography. I'm in between. I know the beginning and the end before I start. I recommend you know where you're going. You're a lot freer to twist and turn if you know your destination.

Always ask "What if?" What if you put spyware on your kid's computer, discover something and then your kid disappears? What if you saw your dead husband cuddling your child on your nannycam?'

Harlan Coben has over 80 million books in print. He has written 35 novels including Win, The Boy from the Woods, Tell No One and a young adult series, and is the creator and producer of several Netflix tv dramas and two French mini-series. This excerpt is from the Sunday Times' Culture.