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A year in the life of a thriller writer Lee Child

13th October 2019

With Child by Andy Martin – a year in the life of thriller writer Lee Child.

Lee Child

With Child is a fascinating read for all the many fans of Lee Child / Jack Reacher. It picks up where Andy Martin’s first book, Reacher Said Nothing, left off. Andy sat alongside Lee for the year it took him to write Make Me (Jack Reacher 20) in his New York apartment. With Child is the story of the year that follows the launch of Make Me.

It covers the trial and tribulations of the publicity events, Lee’s obsession with its place in the charts, the reaction of his fans, and – tangentially – the writing of the next book, Night School (Jack Reacher 21). Lee has a ritual he follows for writing a new book (at the rate of one per year). He sits down in his New York apartment on the 1st September and starts writing… the book is completed in April or May of the following year. He is very superstitious. He almost missed the 1st September date at the start of Night School, delayed by a fault on a plane when he was flying back from Ireland – he made it just in time, getting home to write the first two words before midnight on the 1st. You can absolutely sense the angst… He has to be in his apartment to write – he can’t function in an airport lounge of on a flight.

With Child is, though, above all about the launch marketing of Make Me. Andy accompanies Lee on trips to TV studios and print media outlets for interviews. They attend numerous book signings across the States, in Europe, and in South Africa. Lee is unfailingly polite with both ‘dumb’ interviewers and with the many strange readers that he has. Some are really weird… He is the consummate professional. Throughout the period Lee is obsessed with the charts. David Lagercrantz had just published The Girl in the Spider’s Web (the first of his continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series…) and there was a battle for top spot – which Lee won.

With Child is a fascinating look into the world of publishing and promotion of a book – plus a fascinating look into the mind of one of our premier thriller writers.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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