I am little behind in my blog posting, but I promise that I will catch up. Funnily enough, I did not stay up too late after the Dagger nominations were announced. I managed to get to bed around 12:30am. For me that is incredibly early especially since there were loads of people that I really wanted to talk to. Unfortunately, no matter how much the spirit was willing the body was sadly weak! I missed the first panels but was determined not to miss the Lee Child interview. A number of interesting interviews were due to take place alongside Lee Child’s. P D James was being interviewed by Barry Forshaw and Sue Grafton by Maxim Jakubowski. Luckily not all at the same time. That would have been disastrous! Peter Guttridge was interviewing Lee. I did actually tweet during Lee’s interview, however, it was a very interesting interview and once Lee got going, he was a mine of information. The room was full.
Of course (and I for one was not very surprised) when Peter started by asking him about Tom Cruise and the Reacher movie. The film is due to be released on Boxing Day this year. Lee explained that the film had been in the works for quite some time and there had been a number of actors interested in the film aside from Tom Cruise. Keanu Reeves had also been interested in playing Reacher and had pitched for it. He also described the rather surreal breakfast (actually, he had three) that took place at the Beverly Hills Wilshire Hotel when they began to seriously discuss the making of the film. There had been (and most of us I am sure were already aware that there had been) a lot of feedback online about the fact that many fans were unhappy about Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher. This had included a Facebook page denouncing it.
He took his daughter to the first read through of the film that took place in Pittsburgh. His daughter is a film buff and had been a tad upset when he stopped working for Granada. He believes that as a movie it will be a terrific crime film. It is going to be 120 minutes long. Lee Child jokingly promised that he would not hold a gun to anyone’s head and force them to go and see the film, neither would he come to anyone’s house and steal their books. When asked about how many films could be made he commented that with his background in television that he felt that he did not want the series to be more than two or three and that he hoped that no more than three Reacher films would be made. As it is, the film company are themselves cautious about claiming that it is a series. One Shot is the first film, Bad Luck and Trouble is the third and with the second, there is a bit of a stumbling block. Could possibly be Hard Way or 61 Hours. Lee said that when he wrote 61 Hours it was the last book in his contract and that he never assumed that the contract would be renewed. That is why 61 Hours as far as Lee was concerned could also be seen as a self-contained book.
One of the questions he was asked was whether in the light of Tom Cruise (and bearing in mind what happened to Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse) playing Reacher would he change Reacher. Lee stated that despite the casting of Tom Cruise, he would not be altering Reacher nor would not be shrinking him.
Lee also revealed some interesting titbits of information about Reacher as a character. He found out that Reacher is the best person to have an affair with, as he will not stay around afterwards to complicate your life. He also has a feminine sense of justice. He finds it extremely liberating that he has no job or no location. He sees Reacher as a western hero a lá Zane Grey. He also felt that there was a strong element of Mystery in the Reacher books.
A little known fact about Lee Child is that he is a life-long member of the National Trust! Sue Grafton was a massive influence on him. His new book the Unwanted Man is due out in August and there will also be another e-book entitled Deep Down as well later on this year. Lee also revealed that he did indeed have a cameo in the film. In due course, look for him playing a desk sergeant who gives Reacher back the only permanent thing that he carries with him – his toothbrush!
The other interview that I attended was the Sue Grafton interview. Like the Lee Child interview, the room was full. I did manage to spot a number of ladies wearing some rather fetching t-shirts that stated "I Learned My ABC's from Sue Grafton". In her interview with Maxim Jakubowski, Sue Grafton stated that her father CW Grafton who also wrote a number of crime novels gave her some very good advice and that was her minor characters were important along with punctuation and spelling. Her father’s first novel The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope won the 1943 Mary Roberts Reinhart Award. She also stated that she felt that sometimes a writing schedule was not always good for a marriage. She confirmed that she wrote the plotline for A is for Alibi during her divorce, which had been rather acrimonious. A is for Alibi is not her first novel. She had written a number of earlier books that had not been published in the US. A couple have been published in the UK. Sue Grafton explained that she had also worked in Hollywood as a film and series scriptwriter. She adapted two Agatha Christie novels, The Caribbean Mystery and Sparkling Cyanide. As a result of her work in Hollywood she is determined not to sell the television or film rights to her books and has forbidden her family to do so either. She also feels that it is crazy for authors to write two books a year. She spoke to her publishers about this and they accept that this is not something that she would be doing. She has seen good fine writers who do not know when to quit. She was asked if she would right anything else and she admitted that she would be tempted to do so if she felt worn out by the current series. Sue Grafton was asked that whilst she has made it clear that she would not sell the film or television rights she does not in fact not have any specific female actress in mind to play Kinsey Milhone.
Some things you may or may not know about Sue Grafton. She admitted that not only did she have a devious and dirty mind but that she was not good at being a team player or a good sport. She had been in the US edition of the Office. She needs a shifting cast of characters to keep her fresh. Whilst she loves computers she is not very good on them. She only takes five days off in between books. She hates the letters that she receives from people telling her that she got something wrong in her writing especially as she knows that she has made it up. With regard to Kinsey Milhone, she likes the fact that she has to do her sleuthing the old fashion way. She has no mobile phone or internet to use. Listening to Sue Grafton talk was amazing. She has a very dry wit and a really lovely sense of humor!
The final panel that I managed to attend before the last panel of the day which was on The Killing and David Hewson (whose new book is an adaption of series 2) was that between Paul Doherty and Philip Kerr: Masters of the Timeless Crime. They were being interviewed by Peter Guttridge. Both of them write historical crime fiction. Paul Doherty is in fact quite prolific. Philip Kerr's new book involves Nazi's and the SS. Whilst doing research the information that he found out the way the Nazi's lived made one think of the television programme of Downtown Abbey and the SS. He stated that he had always wanted to write about the Nazi's and the ordinary man but that there was not much information around. Paul Doherty's new book is called the Midnight Man and it deals with the 1303 theft of the Crown Jewels and how the Midnight Man deals with it. The Midnight Man is a mixture of gothic and mystery. Paul Doherty also stated that unlike what people thought, serial killers were not a recent thing but had been around for ages. It was also clear that men were more visible as killers as opposed to women. Philip Kerr also stated that as he had once been a lawyer he now had a horror of them. Both Paul Doherty and Philip Kerr agreed that for some reason people were fascinated by Henry VIII and Nazi's. They also both agreed that multiple sources were needed for research to ensure that facts were right. Paul Doherty was asked what he was working on at the moment and he informed the audience that he had just finished a novel on the last days of Henry VIII.
Saturday was rather a strange day. We had such lovely weather that it was a shame to be in doors. I did in fact manage to seek sometime outside and spent it in the pleasant company of Thalia Proctor who is desk editor at Little, Brown.
The only other thing that I had to do was to go and get all dolled up for the gala dinner. Somewhere there are some photo's of me dressed up in all my finery. They were taken by Ali "snapper" Karim and I am sure that they will surface at some stage.
My last post will cover the gala dinner, the last day of the conference and what happened on Criminal Master mind! Stay tuned.