Eric Van Lustbader

Literary Birthday – 24 December – Eric Van Lustbader

Happy Birthday, Eric Van Lustbader, born 24 December 1946.


  1. I never used an outline until I started The Bourne Legacy project for which I was required to write an outline. To be honest, I thought I’d hate the idea… Now I’ll never write a novel without first doing an outline. Looking back on it, I used to get bogged down in extraneous characters and situations, especially during the first 100 pages (which I find the most difficult to write) that I would later have to scrap, wasting time and energy, and frustrating me. Now that never happens.
  2. I grew up reading fantasy and science-fiction first, then thriller and spy novels. I was very much influenced first by Ian Fleming and Len Deighton, then Adam Hall and Charles McCarry.
  3. Do you want the short answer or the long one? Short first: Write something heartfelt and compelling. The long answer is: No one really knows. Part of it is talent, no question, but like anything else in life and even bigger part is being at the right place at the right time.
  4. I also think that readers want even more from their thrillers these days: they want to gain insight into history — how we got to this place. I’m extremely encouraged that so many thriller readers want to learn about faraway people and places — things they never knew or were taught in school — as well as wanting to be entertained. This is wonderful for me because my approach to writing has always been that I want the reader to learn as well as to be entertained.
  5. Everything I see, hear and feel is eventually grist for the mill, whether I realise it at the time or not. I think the best writers are also exceptionally well attuned to the zeitgeist — the tenor and the tempo of the times.
  6. As a confirmed conspiracist (something else Bob and I had in common) I’m always on the lookout for unexplained phenomena either in the present of in the past. It’s tremendous fun to spin out hypotheses from this sort of starting point.
  7. I can’t write a scene unless I’ve visualised it. Unless I can actually see it, and that’s why a lot of reviewers have said my books are very cinematic, because I actually do see them before I write them.

Eric Van Lustbader is an American writer of thriller and fantasy novels. He is the author of more than 25 best-selling novels, including The Ninja, which features one of modern fiction’s most beloved and enduring heroes, Nicholas Linnear. He is also the author of two major fantasy series, The Pearl and The Sunset Warrior Cycle, and he writes the new Jason Bourne thrillers.

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 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 23rd December 2019