8 things we learned about Lee Child

Lee Child

Lee Child joined us for a webchat to talk about the 21st installment of his Jack Reacher thriller series, Night School. From the author's coffee consumption to his…ahem…relaxation techniques, this is what we learned

His readers span generations

“The youngest reader I ever met was a nine-year-old boy and the oldest was a 101-year-old woman from Scotland, and with that span I just have to write for myself and I'm completely thrilled if anyone else likes what I'm doing!”

He loves his coffee

“I work maybe six hours a day, maybe four days a week during the writing season. When I take a break I drink black coffee – in huge quantities! My record is 36 mugs in a day, and if I have a biscuit I call it a cookie, and it's always an oatmeal raisin.”

He loves his coffee

Editors can't mess with him

“I tell my current editor she can make three points and I will attend to one so she better choose carefully. My previous editor changed a word in the first line of Die Trying from 'Nathan Ruben died because he got brave' to 'Nathan Ruben died because he became brave', so I killed that editor and that's why I have a new one.”

He hates planning

“I make each book up as I go along – so I'm happy if I have ideas for the current one. Next year's book can look after itself.”

He'd be a cheap date

“I stay in all those cheap motels around Middle America and eat in those cheap diners because that is what I like. Give me a choice of pancakes and bacon or some fancy French meal, I'll take the pancakes and bacon.”

He'd be a cheap date

Jack Reacher has trouble in love

“Certainly he enjoys his solitude but he's worried about ending up lonely. The problem is, the kind of intelligent woman he falls for is too intelligent to see a future with him. It's fun for a few days but the rest of their lives together would be awful. So he's perpetually on a kind of hunt for the right woman!”

He wouldn't write about other characters

“It's a bit like saying 'Do you ever wish you had a different kid?' You probably do, but you’re stuck with the one you've got.”

His writing prep is somewhat...relaxed

“I have no plan, no outline, and no synopsis. I like to be alone and undisturbed. And preferably, high.”

His writing prep is somewhat...relaxed

Lee Child's latest book, No Middle Name, is a collection of short stories about the one and only Jack Reacher – and it's out now in hardback. Buy it now on Amazon for £9.99.

All prices correct at time of publication