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Ten Minutes with Lee Child

There’s always time for a quick catch up with Lee Child. We’ve headed into our evidence room and pull out some more information on the man behind Jack Reacher – best-selling author and crime writing legend Lee Child.

We spent ten minutes with him at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and found out some interesting Lee Child facts. Here’s the interview in full:

What are your favourite books?

I’ve always said there are only two kinds of books, ones where you get annoyed when you’ve got to stop reading them and the other sort when you don’t really mind. That can be anything; it can be non-fiction, it can be history as long as it’s well written with an interesting story well told. I remember reading A Place of Execution by Val McDermid and I was reading it on Christmas day waiting for our daughter to get off work and come and join us for Christmas and I was annoyed when she showed up because I had to stop reading it. It’s that X factor that some books have and others don’t. I read Blood Harvest when I was on vacation in France and was reading it when we had a day to go out to a fabulous restaurant for dinner and I was kind of annoyed that I had to go.

There are some books that are so satisfying that you have to give yourself a few days break.

That’s how I knew I was going to be a writer. I found a book on a plane, someone had left a paperback book in the seat pocket. I started reading it, it was really good but the last chunk of it was missing. You know how paperbacks are glued together in twelfths, the last chunk was not there and I thought now I’ll never know what happened. And I thought, you know what, I can just make it up, he made it up, why shouldn’t I make it up. And then I had real fun inventing my version of the ending. I’ve done that with quite a few books, I’ve just deliberately stopped reading them and made up the end for myself.

When was the last time you cried?

That’s a question. To be honest it was when Barack Obama was elected. They were tears of happiness that the long national nightmare of George Bush was over. We had a new start, a new dawn that was just a great, great night in November 2008.

What are your favourite sports?

I’m not a player of any kind. I don’t do any sports. I like watching soccer, Aston Villa for preference and I like Yankees baseball. I can spend hours horizontal on the couch watching either one. I don’t stay in shape, I’m in terrible shape.

What is your signature dish?

Fresh air, I don’t cook anything. My favourite thing to eat, I love Pret a Manger sandwiches. There’s something about them, if I’m on my own, I’ll walk over to Pret a Manger, there’s two stores within walking distance and I’ll get a sandwich for lunch and a sandwich for dinner, the oat bar and a lemonade drink. It’s relatively expensive, about 24 bucks for that but that’s my food for the day.

I love being on tour because they set up these very nice restaurant bookings and all that kind of stuff and I say no, we’ll do the event, then we’ll drive home and stop at McDonalds on the motorway.

What is your earliest memory?
When my next brother was born, he was very young maybe just a few months old and he was taking a nap. My parents put him in the carry cot in the dining room and my other brother, who at that time must’ve been five or six and I must’ve been three, we went into the dining room and thought we were being helpful. We wanted to make sure the baby was warm enough so we pulled the blanket up right over his head to tuck him in and then went to tell our mother that we’d kept him warm enough and she very quickly, of course dashed in to stop him from suffocating. Murderous intent from an early age!

What would your autobiography be called?

That’s a question I’ve answered before and my autobiography would be called Always Lucky.

What’s your favourite biscuit?

I like so many different biscuits, I like ginger nuts and I like jaffa cakes. Best of all though I like dark chocolate digestives, in fact driving up here I had to stop for diesel and went in to pay and they had a packet, not the big packet but the squat packet of chocolate digestives. So I bought them and ate them all between Leeds and Harrogate.

Finally, what book is on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table. My apartment is extremely minimalist, it has a bed with no bedside tables. If it had been which book was on the floor by my bed or on my kindle, I’m reading In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson it’s about a family of American diplomats who are posted to Berlin in the early thirties during the rise of the Nazi party.

A big thank you to Lee Child. We can’t wait for the next Reacher instalment to hit the shelves. Long may he reign!

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