Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Writing Thrillers is not Child’s Play

So as Lee Child’s 2nd book of 2010 ‘Worth Dying For’ hits the UK no 1 position straight off the bat; The Telegraph has an interesting interview with the creator of Jack Reacher. I also enjoyed his take on the old chestnut of Literary Fiction Vs. Genre as reported by Sarah Crompton -

We are talking on the eve of publication of his 15th novel, Worth Dying For. His last, 61 Hours, was published on the same day as Ian McEwan’s Solar and his comments about literary fiction created a certain flurry. He’s happy to repeat them.

“I think Ian McEwan is a very nice man and a good writer, but somebody who assumes that his book is actually harder than mine to write is just not paying attention. What I said was, I could write their books, but I very much doubt that they could write my kind of book because it is a lot harder than it looks.

“I have a kind of old-fashioned, artisan approach. I grew up in Birmingham, where they made useful things and made them well. I went to university in Sheffield, where they made useful things with a certain amount of pride. There is an awful lot of work and skill that goes into commonplace articles – and I think that the prideful manufacture of quotidian articles is something that should be celebrated,” Child says. “There is a lot more ingenuity and brain power that goes into a Ford Fiesta than a Rolls-Royce.”

It is undoubtedly true that Child himself expends a great deal of ingenuity and brain power on each book. He sees the series, which has fans including
Antonia Fraser and Malcolm Gladwell, as a combination of the Sherlock Holmes tradition of the thinker and pulp fiction.

Though the atmosphere of each novel is dictated by the place in which it is set, all have the kind of suspenseful plot that keeps you turning the pages. Amazingly, Child does not plan any of these in advance.

“I usually have in mind something that is going to trigger something later and it is a question of working towards it, then seeing what happens when I get there. I don’t know what the secret is when I am writing it – it really is a surprise to me. ”

Read the full piece here

Photo © Ali Karim : Lee Child with Agent Darley Anderson

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