Lee Child - A Quick Interview

Here at Crimesquad.com, our intrepid reviewer, Graham Smith managed to track down the great man himself and put some questions to Lee Child who appears to be a huge industry in one body! Also it has been recently announced that Lee Child is to be this year's' recipient for the CWA Diamond Dagger joining a long list of crime writers including Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Reginald Hill, this year's Theakstons Crime Writing Festival Chair, Val McDermid and last year's winner, Frederick Forsyth. Here we put a few quick-fire questions to Lee.

1) You have just been awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger for your contribution to crime fiction. How did it feel to be honoured in this way and how do you feel joining such icons of the genre who have previously won this award?

I assumed they had confused me with someone else, or maybe all the other candidates had died. It’s a very prestigious award and a huge honour, and I’m not worthy of it. I’m just a hack and a scuffler, and to be compared to the previous winners is absurd. They’re my heroes, and occasionally to be in the same room as them is a thrill. To be on the same award list as them is amazing.

2) Being upfront and honest from the start, I should say that I haven’t yet got to see Jack Reacher despite having read ‘One Shot’ years ago and all of your books as they came out. My reticence in this respect is because I’m a reader not a viewer. From the feedback you’ve had do you find that readers have gone to see it because of their following of Reacher or that they have been readers like me who have not yet put a book down long enough to watch a film? (I should say at this point that the casting of Tom Cruise did not affect my decision in any way as the Jack Reacher in my head looks nothing like any actor I’ve seen).

Anecdotally I think readers are basically fans of storytelling, so most of them like movies too, especially those movies that set out simply to tell a good story, which I think “Jack Reacher” does. Some Reacher fans stayed away, because they wanted to retain their personal vision, but most went and most of them liked it.

3) Your background in TV is well documented. Your own journey saw you fired from Granada TV and yet you end up with one of Hollywood’s top A listers starring in a film based on one of your books. Would you describe the premiere of Jack Reacher as the highpoint of your writing career and how did it feel to have that experience?

Well, my attitude is that books are books, and movies are movies – in other words, they’re parallel events, not sequential. So as a writer, no, the highlight would be my first number one, or maybe a year like 2008 when I was number one in hardcover and paperback in the US and the UK, or 2011, when the four number ones were simultaneous. That’s cool. The London premiere was fabulous and glamorous for sure, but it was the movie people’s night, not mine.

4) I’ve read articles on the Worldwide Web of Lies which said there won’t be a Jack Reacher sequel. Can you tell us the truth, will there be a sequel and if so which book is it based on?

The truth is … we don’t know. The movie was extremely profitable, so numbers-wise the incentive is there, but there are hundreds of moving parts, and anything can happen. My personal guess is yes, there will be a sequel – certainly the “no sequel” report was wrong and misquoted. Which book? Probably one of the rural, back-of-beyond stories, to contrast with the urban feel of the first one.

5) Coming back to the books, in ‘A Wanted Man’ and ‘Worth Dying For’, Reacher for once had a destination. ‘Never Go Back’ is released later this year. Will Reacher make his planned rendezvous or are there more obstacles in his way?

Yes, Reacher finally gets there. But – no surprise - he finds big problems waiting for him.

6) What are you currently working on and what else does 2013 hold in store for Lee Child and Jack Reacher?

Right now I’m co-writing a TV pilot with my daughter, which is a total delight. In September I’ll start the 19th Reacher book – assuming I’m offered a new contract. I never take anything for granted.

Photo courtesy of Jonny Ring.


Other events: