Last Wednesday evening my husband and I went to the movie house to see Lee Child the author and creator of Jack Reacher. A cinema was an unusual venue for it, but they did the place up well, putting some low tables together to make a platform with chairs and a table on there to elevate the panel so that those at the back could see.Although behind the speaker and Lee Childs were some spot lights that were much too bright, looking at the panel for too long hurt the eyes, but the effort put in by the staff at the movie house was good.
It was a decent interview by one of Northern Irelands newest authors and first up was the story going around that Jack Reachers name came from Child's wife. The story goes that after he got fired from his job in the media Childs was at home and went to the supermarket with his wife and the women he encountered there kept asking him to reach up to get them stuff of the higher shelves. When eventually Childs told his wife that he was going to write a book, she said to him, well you can call one of your characters 'Reacher', and thats how our Jack was born.
There were many interesting little stories like that. Another was that Childs likes to drink his coffee from a white plain china mug, and in 61 Hours when he is offered a cup of coffee by Mrs Salter she gives it to him in exactly that. Childs talked about his characters and who he named them after, some of the more nasty characters were called after former work colleagues that Childs wasn't so fond off, and he claims that they probably know which was a source of amusement to us all. All the little quirks of this author were told and it made him not only seem so human but gave a rather good insight into how he wrote his books, and produced his story for his publishers.
He took questions from the floor and the question I asked was why did he chose an MP for Reacher instead of special ops which would have made things much more easier for the character considering the nature of what he did, and Childs replied because it had been done so many times so well before that he wanted to do it a little different. Styles of writing were discussed, as well as the rivalry between genre writers and literary writers, but in terms of popularity Childs believes that genre writers beat the literary scribes hands down in terms of popularity.
A tall thin man whose father had been born in Belfast and whose cousin was in the audience, he gave an entertaining talk for almost two hours. The event was run by 'no alibis' book store in south Belfast and it was altogether an event worth attending.