Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome to the capital of Reacher madness!

Internationally bestselling thriller writer Lee Child is now in the home stretch of his six day, five cities, six events, 13 bookstore signings promotional tour of New Zealand. Tonight at 7pm he is speaking at the James Hay Theatre at the Christchurch Town Hall (86 Kilmore Street).

I haven't heard whether the Christchurch event has sold out (tickets are $15), like the past two nights in Wellington and Nelson. If it's anything like the Takapuna event on Sunday evening, or the reports on the Wellington and Nelson events, it should be another great night for crime and thriller fiction fans.

It's been great to see crime and thriller writing some good New Zealand media coverage this week, with Child in the country. Perhaps it's the ex-sociology student in me, but I always find it fascinating what stories the media chooses to cover (and how and why they choose to cover them). For such a big-name author, it was a little surprising that other than my story in NZLawyer and a good article in the Dominion Post (unavailable online, unfortunately), there weren't really any/many lengthy or feature stories on Child's visit prior to him arriving - not that it mattered; the New Zealand reading public has packed out the events thusfar anyway.

And along with the public events this week, Child has also been appearing on New Zealand television and radio, as well as in print. The audio/visual coverage kicked off with Child giving a fantastic, intelligent, and insightful 30mins long interview on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon show with Kathryn Ryan on Monday morning.

Child and Ryan cover a broad range of subjects, and its an interview well worth reading for anyone interested in these sorts of things. As a taste, when Ryan asked whether it's hard to sustain a long series, and continuously come up with new ideas, Child responded by saying: "Well, you know, people say 'where do you get your ideas' as if ideas are hard to get. It's actually the reverse - ideas are everywhere. We just heard on the news this great idea - a foreign president is killed on a plane in another country. That's full of intrigue, right there you could tell great stories about that. Every day you get ideas. The question is which idea do you invest in?

And you've got to make some sort of instinctive choice about which idea is going to be topical next year when the book comes out - and then you've just got to throw yourself into it. Every book I write as if it were the first and the last book I would ever write - you throw everything in there and do the best you can..."

You can listen to the full 30-minute Radio New Zealand interview with Lee Child here.

On Monday night Lee Child was interviewed by Mark Sainsbury on the popular prime time current affairs show Close Up. Sainsbury gave an intro noting that Jack Reacher is a similar height to his creator, a similar age, and also dumped from his job - so are Lee Child and Jack Reacher one and the same?

"In my dreams," answered Child. "And I think that's the point - for a writer it's wish fulfilment on the page, and I think hopefully for the reader too. I'm Reacher, and I hope the readers are as well." You can watch the rest of the short but interesting interview here

The following morning Child appeared on TVONE's popular early morning show Breakfast, for a 7-minute interview. In that interview with Pippa Wetzell, who questioned him about the transient Reacher's showering and laundry habits, Child also said "Just let me say thank you to everybody in New Zealand, because this is in the whole world, per capita the bestselling Reacher territory. This is the world capital of Reacher madness".

You can watch the full Breakfast interview here.

Along with the radio and TV, there have been some print news stories about Child's visit and the popularity of the events thusfar. I understand there may be an interview-based feature or two still to come out as well. Along with my recent review of 61 HOURS for the Nelson Mail, there has also been:
  • a short article in the Sunday Star-Times where Reacher talks about his helicopter ride over Auckland City (something Reacher would never do);
  • a news story about the sold-out Wellington event in yesterday's Dominion Post;
  • a news story about the sold-out Nelson event in today's Nelson Mail, including the advice from Child that budding writers should "ignore all advice" when writing;
I will post my report on the Takapuna event soon.

What do you think of the radio and TV interviews? The news stories? Do you like reading about authors, or hearing them speak or be interviewed? Or do you prefer to just read the books and know little or nothing about the creator behind it? Thoughts and comments welcome.


  1. Craig - Thanks for this update on "Reacher madness" (love the title of your post, by the way). I do like learning a bit about authors, especially after I've read some of their work and gotten my own impressions of it. I think there's always the "overkill" factor, but I like getting to know authors a bit.

  2. I've had the pleasure of attending two book signings by Lee Child here in the USA. I found him to be interesting, funny, and clearly intelligent. I learned things from him that were interesting to me as a fan and also helpful to me as a writer. I hope I get to see him again.