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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2017 > A hero for our time

A hero for our time

Image © Dan Callister/Writer Pictures

Like his irrepressible man-mountain hero, Lee Child just keeps coming back strong. He tells Tina Jackson about keeping it fresh and piling on the thrills

Tom Cruise may not look exactly as you imagine the towering Jack Reacher, but in the minds of his millions of readers, his creator Lee Child certainly does. Lee’s the Clint Eastwood of the writing world: the lone desperado; the lean, laconic author with the 1,000-yard stare whose hero faces down a series of antagonists with a killer blend of brains and superior physique. You can almost hear the strains of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack whistling down the phoneline from New York as the world’s most famous thriller writer settles down to tell WM how he goes about making a hero for our times.

Lee’s Reacher books have accrued him sales of more than 70 million copies worldwide and the second Reacher film – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, with Tom Cruise as the eponymous hero – was released last month. Lee’s new Reacher novel, Night School, came out at the beginning of November. It’s his 21st – and at one point Lee said he was going to write 21 Reacher novels and then kill him off. Instead, he’s written a prequel that takes ex-military cop Reacher back to his army days. Is this a cop-out? Has the rock-steady Lee flinched at the thought of terminating such an iconic character?

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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