Jim & I went to see Lee Child at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale today. His new book, Bad Luck and Trouble, was released just this past Tuesday, and The Poisoned Pen was still selling first editions, so we bought one for Jim and one for his friend in England, then grabbed front row seats.
I've seen Lee Child twice before, and he was just as much fun to hear today. He told us it was entirely in our hands if there were any more books in the Jack Reacher series. He recommended we all buy at least two books. He borrowed a book from an audience member, and he said this week was the first time he's seen the actual finished book. He said he loves to see the physical book, feel it and smell it.
He said the idea for Bad Luck and Trouble came two years ago on June 21, 2005 when he was on tour for One Shot in Chicago.
He realized it was ten years to the day when he was fired from his last job, on June 21. He was thinking about the great guys he used to work with, and wondering where they were now. So, he decided to reunite Jack Reacher with the people he was close to, the remnants of his old unit. Ten years later, Jack Reacher will be like anyone else, measuring himself against the other ones from the unit. Child said he thinks of it as his Reunion book.
Someone asked how Child came up with Jack Reacher. Child said, Jack Reacher has been around for two thousand years as an archetype. He's the mysterious stranger that rides into town in the nick of time, cleans up the town, then disappears. It's used in westerns. However, it was used in medieval tales of chivalry about the mysterious knight. He said it's an important archetype if people have been telling the story for 2000 years.
I asked him if he could tell the story about his media escort in Arkansas, and he told of a retired realtor, "George," who had read one of his books, liked them so much he bought them all. He invited him over to his house for a beer when they were done for the day. Lee went, only to walk in and find the dining room table covered with guns. "George" told Lee that they were every gun Jack Reacher had used in the books. It turned out the man was a gun collector, and Lee said he hasn't been wrong about a gun since, unless "George" was wrong.
Jim asked him about writing American English for our books, and British English for the British editions, and Lee said he was bilingual. He said actually, the British publishers only changed spellings to match their spellings, but very little else.
He also said Bad Luck and Trouble was the original title for the first book in the series, and it was changed.
If you ever get the chance to see Lee Child, grab it. He has a wonderful dry humor with a very serious delivery. And, if you get the chance, check out his website for his tour blog. It's fun reading.
(I took the picture of Lee Child with my husband, Jim Holstine.)
Lee Child's website is www.leechild.com
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. Delacorte Press, ©2007. ISBN 978-0385340557 (hardcover), 384p.