Monday, 27 May 2013

Lee Child Interview

This week I'm delighted to share a recent short interview I did with Lee Child.

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.

My thanks to Lee for answering my questions and Chris Simmons at for arranging the interview and allowing me to share it here.

Still to come - David Thomas / Tom Cain.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Future of Reading

An awful lot has been written about the future of reading and I thought it was about time I had my say.

With mobile phones, eReaders and audio books competing with traditional paper books there has been an awful lot, both spoken and written about the demise of the book. Can I just point out that it’s all bullshit. Readers read. End of argument. Sure the delivery platform may change but the desire to read a good story doesn’t.

I’m going to hold up my own son Daniel as an example. He reads every day. Sometimes he’s been known to lay down his Nintendo or Wii and pick up a book. His best friend is also a reader. They swap books with each other on an almost daily basis. I’ve overheard them discussing books on more than one occasion. Daniel received two books from Father Christmas. He’d finished them by the time we’d travelled the hour and a half journey to my mother-in-laws.

Once when we were in the supermarket Daniel wanted me to buy him an ice-cream and some books. I gave him the £4 change in my pocket so he could get what he wanted. Not having enough for both he bought the book.

Sure, he’s grown up watching my wife and I read, but I grew up with my parents reading infrequently, and I have had a book on the go since the age of eight. Daniel is now eight and he reads just as much as I do, has reader friends as I do and as he has grown older his love of reading has grown, as mine has.

So there you have it. As long as there’s young readers there will always be a demand for books. Personally I don’t care what platform my son chooses to read on. I’m just a proud father watching a child expand their mind.

P.S. It’s just a shame he’s gonna have to wait a few years before he can read any of my stories. I might have to write something without violence or sweary words just for him to read.

In other news Crime and Publishment is set to return in 2014 and is promising to be a fantastic weekend of crime writing courses. We’ve been lucky enough to attract such stellar names as Chris Ewan, Zoe Sharp and Michael Malone as tutors. Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights will be teaching attendees how to pitch to a publisher and will also be accepting pitches.

More information on Crime and Publishment can be found here.