Not really Hard Boiled I know, but Lee Child does pay his
dues to Alistair MaClean, who was even less hard boiled
JACK REACHER IS BACK IN 'ECHO BURNING' Lee Child in
Lee Child kicked off his 'Echo Burning' Book tour here in
Manchester, where he worked for Granada TV. It was held in
Waterstones in Deansgate, a three storey bookshop, with a
GREAT crime section, incl. US editions.
He was on at 7pm, and decided just to do a Q & A, as he
felt his Transatlantic accent did not do Jack Reacher
justice, so he opted not for a reading. The Q & A was
just over an hour, and he talked about his influences,
acknowledging a huge debt to the late great Alistair MaClean,
as well as Ross Macdonald. He also said he was a big fan of
Dennis Lehane, and mentioned that he had got friendly with
Dennis. He also mentioned that one of Dennis's brothers who
he hangs out with, actually prefers the Reacher novels to the
Kenzie/Gennaro series, which riles Dennis Lehane no end. He
says his daughter loves Cornwell, and that she has read a few
of his books, but perfers Cornwell.
On getting published, he acknowledged 'Luck' as the big
issue, as he had lost his job, and decided to write a novel,
namely 'Killing Floor' . He wrote half, then packaged the
first 3 Chaps, and synopsis, and carefully selected an agent
from 'Writers and Artists' yearbook, and wrote in his letter
that the book was done.
He got a letter 24 hours later asking to see the rest. He
panicked, rang them back, told them that he wanted to 'Tidy
up the last half' and requested two weeks, which he got. He
worked frantically for the 2 weeks and delivered the book,
and as he said, the rest is history.
He felt that he had been niave, and that if he knew then,
what he knew now, he would not have risked it, writing
'Killing Floor' in the kitchen, after losing his job.
However, never did he feel, that it would not be published,
so perhaps his niavity helped him be so self confident, plus
he acknowledged a huge slug of luck in timing.
He mentioned that all his books have been optioned, but no
action as yet from the film studios. He also mentioned that
he met Clint Eastwood recently, but Lee's brother is hot for
'Hugh Jackman' (aka Wolverine/X-Men) for the Jack Reacher
role, while Lee is rather fond of Bruce Willis. This was
greeted with some hidden derision.When asked who he felt
would be ideal, he replied 'Bruce Willis head and Arnold
Swarzenegger's body' and this raised smirks.
Someone asked about how many drafts he does, and he said that
he only really does one now, but he constantly polishes the
books, so that his morning is spent polishing the previous
day's work, while the afternoon is pressing onward.
A future book will have flashbacks to Reacher's brother (who
was biffed in Killing Floor), and he is considering setting a
Reacher novel in Europe, to see if Reacher can stand some of
the British 'Stuffy-ness', and how he would react when told
he can't take off his jacket when eating in the Ritz, as
ocurred to Lee recently when he took out his Agent and
All in all a very enjoyable evening, with wine, cheese and
books !!!, Lee was extremely approachable, allowed me to take
photo's and he signed vast piles of books. There were approx
70-80 in Waterstones reading room.
Lee Child is funny, personable and a good speaker, and will
be back in the US next week on his signing tour. Echo Burning
is #8 on the bestsellers in the UK.
He seems very settled in America now, but then again, his
wife is American, and he has been spending the last 27 years
crossing the atlantic.
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