Whether you’ve read every Jack Reacher book or love the Amazon series, the story of how Lee Child started his Jack Reacher Literary Empire with $6 is one you won’t want to miss.
Here’s the breakdown:
100 million books sold PLUS 2 Hollywood movies & a hit Amazon series
It barely happened. This is the story of how vengeance for a corporate firing created Jack Reacher…
1/ Before he took up the pen name Lee Child he was Jim Grant.
Jim Grant went to law school but didn’t like law.
He liked the theater. TV. Movies.
So much so that after college he took a job at Granada Television in Manchester, England…
The job was amazing…
2/ Grant was surrounded by legends daily on set.
Alec Guinness. Laurence Olivier.
That’s Obi Wan & King Henry. Icons.
Grant was the presentation director and enjoyed the hell out of his work.
He liked the people. The culture. All of it…
3/ For a decade plus Grant was fulfilled…
Then the 90s came. And suddenly his little slice of heaven was under attack.
One show got cancelled. Then another. And another.
Every week friends and colleagues were losing their jobs. Solid jobs.
Grant was livid…
4/ Grant’s anger turned to rage.
Corporate morons were destroying a good industry. Destroying good people.
Then he was fired while on vacation.
Told not to come back. Just like that.
He’d been there 18 years.
5/ It’s 1995.
Jim Grant is 40 years old.
No job. No plans. Never done anything else besides TV.
But he loves books. Thrillers.
He doesn’t have a computer, so he buys $6 worth of pencils and paper.
He starts writing a novel in longhand at his house…
6/ Grant writes quickly. Needs this book out ASAP.
He has no outline. No planned plot. Not even a name for the main character.
So he makes him 6’5″, one inch taller than the author.
Writes in the first person.
Makes him someone who fights back.
Out for revenge. It flows…
7/ Grant writes the story and shows the pages to his wife. It’s quick. Cool. Sharp.
They come up with the name Jack Reacher.
Grant wants a pen name with a last name that starts with “C”.
They settle on Lee Child because of an inside family joke.
He pitches the book. Sells it.
8/ Killing Floor by Lee Child is an instant success.
It wins the Barry Award for Best First Novel, the Anthony Award and more…
He moves to New York City.
Gets to work on more Reacher novels…
9/ Cut to 2024: Lee Child has now written 26 Reacher books.
Each of them is a New York Times bestseller.
Each sells millions of copies.
And each is the ultimate “screw you” to his old corporate boss…
Because the world never would have heard of Jack Reacher if they didn’t fire Jim Grant.
10/ Jack Reacher is an all-time kick ass literary character.
And the fact that he’s out for revenge because his creator is out for revenge is one of my favorite author nuggets.
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