An instant meta-book. It crosses genres, by bringing a high-level critical approach to a popular text, and gives a fascinating insight into the art of writing a thriller, showing The result was Killing Floor, which introduced his hero Jack Reacher.
Twenty years later, on September 1, , he began writing Make Me, the twentieth novel in his number-one- bestselling Reacher series. Same day, same writer, same hero. On the 1 st of every September, Lee Child starts a new novel.
- Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me;
- Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me.
- Brain Biochemistry.
The date is partly superstitious, partly habit. What does he start with? A blank page. In fact, he may not even know what he is writing until months into the novel. Lee did a lot of Camel smoking, and a lot of other less-legal kinds of smoking. When Andy came into his office once day, he found Lee stretched out on the couch, eyes closed, cigarette in mouth. For someone to imagine an entire and complex story like he does, this part of the writing process is just as important as the actual typing. When you make a squillion dollars from writing books, you can afford to collect valuable art.
Which was exactly how Lee Child felt. For the next few months I looked on with a degree of anxiety.
Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me
Maybe he would never finish this one. The whole project looked doomed. So too Lee Child. He wandered around New York, then drifted off to the West Coast, then Madrid, then Sussex, and still had no idea what the hell was going on in his book. If it was a book. He struggles and meanders.
Smokes more and drinks more black coffee, if it is possible to drink more black coffee. Puffs on the occasional joint in hope of inspiration finally striking. Some time in January, it started to crystallise in his mind and he gave me the Big Reveal. I had been mixing him up with his hero Jack Reacher. Whereas I now realised what I should have realised long before that he was also every single bad guy he had ever dreamed up.
All those fiendish plots were actually his. The role of Reacher was to stop him plotting and for all I know taking over the world. Reacher keeps the author in check. He got to the final page on April 10, , surviving on a diet of Sugar Smacks and Alpen and toast, garnished with mucho caffeine and nicotine. Having feared he would never get to the end, I was not sure I really wanted him to finish.
Or whether I should be there to watch.
Book review: Reacher said Nothing, Lee Child and the Make Me by Andy Martin | Prospect Magazine
It really seemed as if I was transgressing and crossing the line into some sacred place. I was bearing witness to the creative process dying.
But without which the book itself could never be born. The whole book was there. He stopped, so I stopped.
That was the rule. I started when he started, so I had to finish when he did, or the day after anyway. No additions, no time for further reflection.
It all had to be done according to the same principle he had adopted.