What’s the secret to Jack Reacher’s success?
Reacher is descendant from an ancient tradition: the noble loner, the knight errant, the mysterious stranger, the samurai turned ronin. These universal characters have been popular in stories for thousands of years – Beowulf, Robin Hood, Shane – and we’ve all loved reading their adventures.
What is your method of writing?
I often describe my writing method as driving in fog. I can only see so far ahead along the road. I put Reacher in a location and the story grows naturally out of that. My steadfast belief is that if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, then neither will my readers. When a reader tells me he knew who did it on page 50, I say, “Really? Because I didn’t!”
What inspires you to write?
I used to say “supporting my family” but now that they’re taken care of, I have to admit I’ve been writing stories in my head for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, right after I finished reading a book – even if I enjoyed the read – I’d think up a better ending for it. Not on paper, just in my head.
What can you tell us about “Night School”?
“Night School” opens with Reacher being awarded a medal in 1996. He’s 35 and knows he won’t get any mileage out of another “junk” medal but what he gets is the last thing he expects: he’s commanded to lead the Army’s part in a multi-departmental task force. Something big is going down in Europe and the only clue they have is this intriguing sentence: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.” Who is this American, and what’s worth one hundred million?
Thank you Lee Child!