"I was fired from my television job, simple as that. Well, downsized, really, a classic 1990s situation." -- Lee Child
Lee Child (born 1954) is the pen name of British thriller writer Jim Grant. His wife Jane is a New Yorker and they currently live in New York state. His first novel, Killing Floor, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel.
Each of Child's novels follows the adventures of a former American Military Policeman named Jack Reacher who is wandering the United States.
"I do a little fact checking now and then. Other than that its impact is simply that email has revolutionized communication for me, and my website has built up a community of readers, which is a lot of fun.""I felt alienated by the experience and decided to stay away from corporate employment.""I had a brief theater background and loved the backstage world there's more backstage work in television, so I saw a job advertised and applied, and got it. That was back in 1977, when getting jobs was easy.""I had been coming to America very frequently for many, many years, so I had plenty of exposure - and maybe the best kind of exposure, because I think first impressions are very important. Maybe I notice stuff that is just subliminal to people who live here all the time.""I have the 'thing' worked out - the trick or the surprise or the pivotal fact. Then I just start somewhere and let the story work itself out.""I think my books come out very visual, which is an obvious consequence.""I wanted readers to be genuinely unsure as to whether she's telling the truth or lying. It meant making her partly sympathetic, and partly unsympathetic, which wasn't easy.""I write in the afternoon, from about 12 until 6 or 7. I use an upstairs room as my office. Once I get going I keep at it, and it usually takes about six months from the first blank screen until 'The End.'""I'm opposed to censorship of any kind, especially by government. But it's plain common sense that producers should target their product with some kind of sensitivity.""It's a tough case and the first time Reacher needs to recruit somebody to help him out. He uses a woman he knew in the army she's a fascinating character.""She's a reflection of my fascination with the diversity of America she's totally normal in New York, but a freak in Texas. There are dozens of such clashes in America.""So, how to stay inside the world of entertainment without actually getting another job? I felt the only logical answer was to become a novelist. So I wrote the first book - driven by some very real feelings of desperation - and it worked.""The British regulatory system was revised, so that bigger profits were encouraged, which removed the option of big spending on programming. Quality just fell off a cliff, and all the old hands either left or were fired for being too expensive.""What do I miss about the UK? Sadly, almost nothing. Maybe the midnight sun, in June in the north. That's all."
Though Grant was born in Coventry, England, his parents moved him and his three brothers to Handsworth Wood in Birmingham when he was four years old so they could get a better education.He attended King Edward's School, Birmingham - also the alma mater of J. R. R. Tolkien and Enoch Powell.His father was a civil servant and his younger brother Andrew Grant is also a thriller novelist.
Some of Grant's early influences include Enid Blyton, W.E. Johns, and Alistair Maclean.
In 1974 at age 20, Grant attended law school in Sheffield at Sheffield University, though he had no intention of entering the legal profession and, during his student days, worked backstage in a theatre. Instead, he took a job in commercial television after graduating.
Grant joined Granada Television, part of the UK's ITV Network, in Manchester as presentation director. There he was involved with shows including Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown , Prime Suspect, and Cracker. Grant was involved in the transmission of more than 40,000 hours of programming for Granada, writing thousands of commercials, news stories, and trailers. He stayed with Granada 1977-1995 and ended his career there with two years as a trade union shop steward.
After being fired because of corporate restructuring, he decided he wanted to start writing novels, stating they are "the purest form of entertainment." In 1997 his first novel, Killing Floor, was published and he moved to the US in the summer of 1998.
He has said that he chose the name 'Reacher' for the central character in his novels because he is himself tall and, in a supermarket, his wife Jane told him: "Hey, if this writing thing doesn't pan out, you could always be a reacher in a supermarket."... "I thought, Reacher ... good name." Some books in the Reacher series are written in first person, while others are written in the third person.
In 2007, Grant collaborated with 14 other writers to create the 17-part serial thriller "The Chopin Manuscript" narrated by Alfred Molina that was broadcast weekly on Audible.com from 25 September 2007 to 13 November 2007.
On 30 June 2008, it was announced that Lee Child would be taking up a Visiting Professorship at the University of Sheffield in the UK from November 2008. In 2009, Child funded 52 Jack Reacher scholarships for students at the university.