Lee Child shares his love for Sheffield at Off the Shelf 2017
Lee Child talked to fans about his newest Jack Reacher title, The Midnight Line, at Sheffield City Hall for Off the Shelf Festival 2017. Here's what he had to say about the city and how it has influenced him and his writing.
“I chose Sheffield from a battered brochure without a front cover that showed the tallest academic building – I didn’t know the city it was in until I called.
“I was here for four years to do my three-year degree as I failed the second year and retook it. All my memories are of the University of Sheffield Drama Studio where I spent most of my time. I remember the lovely people alongside the sex, drugs and rock & roll! My favourite places whilst I was here were the Drama Studio and the open country – I used to party to 4/5am and then catch a bus out to the moors and watch the sun come up.
“Sheffield had a strong tradition of blue collar students. This city made things and made them well and without fuss or drama. It is a tremendous national asset and central to Britain’s power in the world. It has a cultural and physical infrastructure built by skilled working class.”
“Sheffield as a city has influenced me. I thought I ought to give them the kind of student Jack Reacher would be proud of…”
Lee also shared valuable insight into his internationally bestselling crime novels and how he goes about writing them.
“There isn’t a difference between male and female readers in the sense that you might think. I would have thought I’d have predominantly male readers but 65% of my readers are women.
“My writing is not based on hours of research – I do a book a year and there isn’t enough time for that so I use my experience other than of course researching specific details. Writing is a solitary experience so you need to follow your own instincts. I don’t run my book by anyone until it is finished.”
“I would never write a screenplay of my own books – I couldn’t be that brutal as you have to tear it apart for film. I write screenplays of other novels. I also accept the changes that film has made to my novels – the written form is my book – a film is different and you hand it over when you agree to it.”