Lee Child Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Born in Coventry, West Midlands, England, UK
Birth NameJim Grant
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lee Child was born in the exact geographic centre of England, in the heart of the industrial badlands. Never saw a tree until he was 12. It was the sort of place where if you fell in the river, you had to go to the hospital for a mandatory stomach pump. The sort of place where minor disputes were settled with box cutters and bicycle chains. He's got the scars to prove it.

He survived, though, got an education and went to law school, but only because he didn't want to be a lawyer. Without the pressure of aiming for a job in the field, he figured it would be a relaxing subject to study. He spent most of his time in the university theatre - to the extent that he had to repeat several courses, because he failed the exams - and then went to work for Granada Television in Manchester. Back then, Granada was a world-famous production company, known for shows like _"Brideshead Revisited" (1981) (mini)_, The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Prime Suspect (1982) and Cracker (1993). Lee worked on the broadcast side of the company, so his involvement with the good stuff was limited. But he remembers waiting in the canteen line with people like Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Natalie Wood and Michael Apted. He says that being involved with more than 40,000 hours of the company's programme output over an 18-year stay taught him a thing or two about telling a story. He also wrote thousands of links, trailers, commercials and news stories, most of them on deadlines that ranged from 15 minutes to 14 seconds. So the thought of a novel a year didn't worry him too much in his next career.

Why a next career? He was fired, back in 1995, that's why. It was the usual 1990s downsizing thing. After 18 years he was an expensive veteran, and he was also the union organizer, and neither thing fit the company's plan for the future. Because of his union involvement, he wasn't on too many alternative employers' wish lists, either. So he became a writer, because he couldn't think of anything else to do. He had an idea for a character who had suffered the same downsizing experience but who was taking it completely in his stride. He figured if he brought the same total commitment to his audience that he'd seen his television peers develop, he could get something going. He named the character Jack Reacher and wrote "Killing Floor" as fast as he could (he needed to sell it before his redundancy pay ran out). He made it with seven weeks to spare, and luckily the book was an instant hit, selling strongly all around the world and winning both the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel. It led to contracts for at least nine more Reacher books, which currently extend to 2006.

Lee moved from the UK to the US in the summer of 1998. He lives just outside New York City, with his American wife, Jane. They have a grown-up daughter, Ruth, and a small dog called Jenny. Lee fills his spare time with music, reading, and the New York Yankees. He likes to travel, for vacations, but especially on promotion tours so he can meet his readers, to whom he is eternally grateful.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Webmaven Maggie for LeeChild.com

Trivia (8)

Brother of author Andrew Grant, creator of the David Trevellyan thrillers.
Graduated from Law school at Sheffield university even though he never wanted to become a lawyer.
Fan of Aston Villa football club.
Did not start writing until he was 40 years old.
Never ever pays vehicular citations he receives (parking tickets, speeding) without first contesting them in court.
Is a smoker who started at age 11 and only ever quit once for 10 months in 1985 to save enough money to buy a CD player.
Was fired at age 40 from a job he loved at Granada Television in Manchester (UK) due to budgetary cutbacks.
Always begins writing each new Jack Reacher novel on September 1st as a means of avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination.

Personal Quotes (8)

[on how Jack Reacher got his name] We went out shopping to the supermarket and a little old lady comes up to me and says, 'You're a nice tall chap, could you reach me that can?' So Jane said, 'Hey, if this writing thing doesn't pan out you could always be a reacher in a supermarket.' I thought, Reacher: good name.
Ian Fleming hated the idea of Sean Connery playing James Bond, and of course now, most people think Sean Connery was the best James Bond ever. There is a disconnect between the books and the movies with Bond in stylistic ways. He doesn't sadistically shoot people in the face in the movies. That really is not true with the 'Jack Reacher' movie. Cruise plays it very calm, very quiet, very still - but very, very tough. He's completely uncompromising. They haven't softened Reacher at all.
[on how the Jack Reacher character will eventually end up] When that day comes, it's going to be a difficult decision. In one way I feel he should die. He's a noble old warhorse and, at the end of it, should probably die a noble death. That would be definitive. On the other hand, it might be more suggestive and comforting to the readers if he just, one last time, walks off into the distance and we never see him again. At least we can imagine he's still out there somewhere.
There are many technical reasons why screenwriters generally make bad novelists. The fundamental thing is that it's not about you, it's about the audience. A lot of writers write to impress themselves or their friends or whatever, and when you've worked in the media before, you very quickly understand that that's not what it's about. It's about the audience.
The words 'truly great book' sets a very high bar in the context of the last couple of centuries. Therefore I'd have to pick 'The Lost' by Daniel Mendelsohn. Nonfiction, but only incidentally. It's a memoir, a Holocaust story, a detective story, both a rumination on and an analysis of narrative technique, a work of Old Testament and ancient Greek historiography, and a work of awful, heartbreaking, tragic suspense. A book of the decade, easily, and likely a book of the century.
In television you learn very quickly that this isn't about you. It's about the audience. It's not about being a cool guy, impressing your friends, buying a black turtleneck and a black leather jacket. It's about satisfying the audience, first, second, and third. That's your only responsibility.
[on the filmed version of his novel 'Jack Reacher'] I'm well aware of the alchemy that has to take place, and my observation of the process was obviously intensely personal and self-interested, but also academic in a surprisingly detached way. I found myself agreeing with the choices ninety-nine percent of the time. I would have done it no differently.
[on his choice of what writer he would most like to have met] I'll have to go with the elephant in the room - William Shakespeare. I'd ask him, Dude, did you know how great you were? Were you aware at the time of the sheer incandescent beauty of, say, 'Romeo and Juliet'? Or were you just scuffling along like the rest of us, trying to make a living? And possibly a supplementary: Why did you make 'Richard III' so damn long? Were you getting paid by the word, or what?

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