Lee Child, author of The Jack Reacher series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |March 19, 2010

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks


author of

The Jack Reacher Series,

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Coventry, England, raised in nearby Birmingham, England – a huge manufacturing city – schooled there and then at Sheffield University.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, loved. At eighteen, laid. At thirty, paid. Because basic necessities always seemed important.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I had no strongly held beliefs – still don’t … I’m open to experience and constant verification.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Da Vinci’s Last Supper (great talent, poor application, both instructive), John D Macdonald’s The Lonely Silver Rain (my introduction to a seminal series), Led Zeppelin’s first album (taught me that not being first into a genre doesn’t hurt.)

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Actually very few artistic endeavours are open to me – I have no aptitude for most of them. Words on the page are all I can do.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The title is “61 Hours”, and it’s the 14th in the Reacher series … set during a horrible South Dakota winter in a small town which has big trouble coming.

(Visit Booktopia’s LEE CHILD author page for the latest Jack Reacher titles)

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A sense of satisfaction, that their time was well spent.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Anyone who produces a good solid book once a year.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My goal is relatively modest – to please most of the people most of the time.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Ignore all advice. There’s room for only one mind on your side of the transaction, and it needs to be yours and yours alone.

Lee Child, thank you for playing.

You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher – It’s not how big you are but how big you feel (in your heels)

12 Comments Share:

About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • Alex

    April 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Hey Lee, Thanks for coming to Australia – I trust it was a visit that provided you with lots of opportunities! Even though I didn’t get to see you (Sawtell is lovely this time of year! sugget you put it on your itinerary for next time), my good friend Michelle was kind enough to visit your Camden appearance and now has your autographed latest release – her way of getting me to travel 900kms to see her! She’s going to read it after starting her readership with “Killing Floor”! She’s sure to be another fan. Travel well – I’m off to Halifax N.S (and maybe a side trip to NY) in July with another of your fans – my 13 year old son Joel!

  • June 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    haha. man Lee Child is a knob. i read his books as a teenager and liked them, but he has huge tickets on himself, doesn’t he?

    like this: http://thescrivenersfancy.com/scarcely-relevant/2010/05/26/child-abuse.aspx

  • June 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Lee Child is my favourite author. I really enjoyed reading his answers and in particular loved his answer to question 10.

  • Lorraine Talbot-Smith

    September 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I love Lee Child books and I love Jack Reacher but why oh why has the role of Jack been given to the horrible Tom Cruise. He is about 2 feet too short, completely the wrong body and he’s Tom cruise for goodness sake….Aaaargh

  • derek

    December 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    couldnt think of anyone worse to play jack reacher than tom cruise…what are you thinking???

  • julia elbe

    August 9, 2012 at 12:47 am

    how can you let tom play the Part of jack so wrong

    • max

      October 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

      this is one movie I wont be whatching.I think Child sold out for the big dollar. Tom Cruise SHEEEEEESH!!!!

  • John Dobson

    July 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Just found this site better late than never eh!! Been dying to leave a thought about the movie. Not that Lee Child would ever read it. Obviously doesn’t care enough about what he wrote to see it through with some integrity. Still I love the Reacher books read them in a day or two. Couldn’t wait for movies to start coming . But WTF were you thinking Tom bloody Cruise you have got to be kidding me. Could you have found a more polar opposite???
    Made even worse by his acting, trying too hard to look tuff, ends up looking like a sulking schoolboy, what a wank.
    Did you actually think of the description of Reacher, look at Tom Cruise and say wow I’ve found him????
    Sold your integrity down the road, along with your credibility.
    Enjoy the money

  • John Dobson

    July 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Just left a post, then noticed his byline.
    I’m a naturally belligerent person. Show me a challenge, and I’ll beat it or die trying.
    Didn’t stand up to the one challenge you needed to! Find an actor who matched Reacher’s description.

  • Margaret

    July 13, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Hi Lee, I have read a couple of your books and would like to read more, I have been informed by friends that have read your books that they are to read in order of you writing them, is this correct? if so I will have to get the first book you wrote and start from there,
    many thanks

  • Barry MILLER

    May 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Unfortunately I agree with most of the opinions concerning Tom Cruise portraying Jack Reacher. Cruise is totally miscast and definitely nothing like Reacher. I have nothing against Cruise and in some movies he is Ok but NOT as Jack Reacher.

    Finally, I love your books and also those by Vince Flynn, John Grisham and Jeffery Archer. You are definitely one of my favourite authors. Cheers,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *