Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lee Child, Author Biographies

Lee Child (pseudonym for Jim Grant) was born in 1954 in Coventry, England. When Lee was four years old, his parents moved the family to Handsworth Wood in Birmingham. He says that he was a tough guy in a tough neighborhood, growing large at a young age.

Although Lee Child didn’t get the bug to write until he was 35 years old, he loved the library and was a voracious reader. He says there were only two channels on television back in the day, and for lack of alternate entertainment, he read. He says he was bitten by the mystery bug even as a youngster and loved book series.

Lee Child studied Law at Sheffield University in Sheffield, England even though he never intended on being a lawyer. He says “Studying the law gives you a streetwise frame of reference.” The law, he say encompasses all the things he is interested in, history, politics, sociology, language and economics.

One of Lee’s dreams was to be an actor but says he had no talent as an actor, singer or dancer, so he worked backstage. He did not think about being a writer until he was about 35 years old. Today he says that “writing is the ultimate backstage job.”

After graduating college, Lee worked as a presentation director with a British television network until he was let go at the age of 40. In retrospect, this was a blessing in disguise.

It was at this time that Lee Child decided to be an author. He said that his wife took it quite well and even helped him name his protagonist, Reacher. He wrote his first book in longhand sitting at the dining room table. He bought his first computer with his first advance. His first book, “Killing Floor” was published in 1997.

In 1998, Lee and his wife, Jane and their daughter Rachel, moved to New York where Jane was a native. Today they reside in New York and France.

According to one interviewer, Lee Child has been called “the poster boy of American crime Fiction and the best thriller author at the moment.” Lee has a brother, Andrew Grant, 14 years younger, who is also a successful author.

In 2008, Lee was invited to be a visiting professor at his Alma Mater, The University of Sheffield. He received an Honorary Doctorate in 2009. Lee funded 52 Jack Reacher scholarships at the university.

Lee Child was elected the president of the Mystery Writers of America organization for 2009.
Lee has a fan base that is vast and varied. He seems to appeal to young and old, male and female. He says he likes to interact with his fans through his official website. And of course there is great personal satisfaction seeing people reading and enjoying his books. Lee says, “I use the complainers as a rough gauge to how many people I’m actually reaching. Twenty serious complainers as a percentage implies a million satisfied customers, in my experience.”

Jack Reacher Series:
Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, No. 1) (1997)
Tripwire (1999)
The Visitor (2000)
Echo Burning (2001)
Without Fail (2002)
Persuader: A Reacher Novel (Jack Reacher Novels) (2003)
One Shot (2005)
The Hard Way (2006)
Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
Nothing to Lose (2008)
Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher, No. 13) (2009)

Killing Floor/Die Trying/Tripwire
Running Blind/Echo Burning/Without Fail

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