We’re now just days away from the finale of – and this is thanks to you and thousands of your neighbors who attended NWS events – an amazing 2015 Winter/Spring & Summer season.

Harlan Coben – master thriller writer and spinner of boggling plot twists – is coming to the National Writers Series.

Coben will be at the City Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan, on July 9, and I’m excited to be returning as the guest host. This is a rare chance to hear up-close one the world’s best-selling authors talk candidly about his life and work. Coben’s new book, The Stranger, a stand-alone thriller, has kept Jill Tewsley, NWS’s director and an expert, long-time fan of thrillers, reading late into the night. In three words: Don’t. Miss. This. The author you thought you’d never get to meet will be in the room. We’re thrilled to be hosting Coben during the National Cherry Festival week, as part of our annual partnership with them.

Coben also happens to be one of the world’s nicest guys. When I sat down with Gillian Flynn onstage at NWS in April of 2013, she couldn’t say enough nice things about her friend, and she was kind enough to recommend NWS as a place he should visit on his national book tour.

The thing about Coben is that he writes books about the nicest kinds of people getting into the worst kind of trouble. These are people you feel you might meet on Front Street, outside the Opera House…in Traverse City….You feel Coben is writing about your life-minus the kidnapping, the mayhem, the unexpected heroism, the car wrecks, the car chases, the intoxicating sense of mystery. Oh, wait…that’s why we do read Coben: to experience lives not lived, which, if we really did live them, might kill us. That’s the magic of a great writer: to transport us. Harlan Coben is a genius of a storyteller. It may be a cliché, but Jill and I are emphatic when we say, You can’t put his books down.

Coben has over 60 million books in print worldwide, the last seven of which have all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His 2001 novel, Tell No One, was made into the hit movie of the same name. Winners of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards, Coben’s critically acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune), and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

I’ve been a fan since first reading him in the 90’s. Having done the very first interview for NWS in 2009 with Elmore Leonard, and after sitting down with some of the country’s most compelling thriller and espionage writers – Daniel Silva, Gillian Flynn, Lee Child, and Jason Matthews – I’ve long wanted to talk with Harlan Coben. Nobody, I think, writes about the secrets of modern suburban life quite like him. What kind of story is he writing and why do we find it so compelling? In a time when the definitions of privacy are ever-changing, and when the internet is now something we wear on our wrist as a watch, perhaps tracking our every move, Harlan Coben’s new novel strikes urgent, relevant themes. I think that The Stranger is sure to be your favorite summer read.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the event

See you at the Opera House July 9!


Doug Stanton is a founder of the National Writers Series and the author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, both of which have been optioned by film producers Mark Gordon and Jerry Bruckheimer. His writing has appeared in Esquire, Men’s Journal, Outside, the New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and other publications. Stanton has reported from Afghanistan, Mexico, Vietnam, the Caribbean, South America, and around the U.S, and he’s appeared on NBC Nightly News, CNN, FOX, and other national media, and multiple times on The Today Show, Morning Joe, and Imus. He received an MFA from the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, and lives in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan with his wife, editor Anne Stanton, and their children, John, Will, and Katherine.