In a new interview with The New York Times, mystery writer Robert Galbraith discusses the newest book in his series on detective Cormoran Strike – Lethal White. The fourth of the Coromoran Strike novels, Lethal White, is available starting today in eBook, audiobook and hardcover formats. A few snippets from the interview may be read below:

Some mystery writers are plotters; they outline, they plan, they know exactly where their stories are going. Others are known as “pantsers” (as in writing by the seats of their pants — sitting down every day and just going where the story takes them). Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a planner. “Lethal White” required a spreadsheet that was more complicated than any I’ve created before. It had nine columns, red text for red herrings, blue text for clues, and various colors for different suspects and themes. Before I start each Strike book, I know exactly who did it, why they did it and how they did it.

When I hear pantsers describing the way they work I feel a mixture of admiration and anxiety. I did an event with Stephen King and John Irving a few years back and Stephen described his process as following a thread to see where it leads. When it came to John’s turn, he said he always knew damn well where the thread led before he started following it. I’m somewhere between the two. The initial inspiration may be one simple idea with no start or finish, but I never start writing a book unless I know exactly where I’m heading.

What brought you to writing crime novels?

I always wanted to write classic whodunits in a contemporary setting. What I love about the genre is that the central puzzle can be clothed a million different ways. There’s also something mythic about a lone detective or a duo, righters of wrongs, imposers of order on chaos. I think I’ve incorporated an element of mystery in all my novels. The Potters were variously whodunits, whydunits and howdidits.

At the end of the interview he noted that he has  the plot of the next Cormoran Strike novel planned and teased that his “good friend” J.K. Rowling is writing a brand new children’s book as well as working on the script for the third Fantastic Beasts film.

Filed Under: JK Rowling, Robert Galbraith