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How Did Jack Reacher Get His Name?

There are 25 books in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. The novel is based on the story of a former major of the United States Army Military Police Corps. The series has sold over 60 million copies worldwide and is still in publication. But did you know how Lee Child decided on the main character’s name?

Lee Child was inspired to name his character “Jack Reacher” after a shipping trip with his wife. An old lady asked for his help in reaching a can of pears. His wife joked that if his writing career didn’t work out, he could always get a job as a teacher.

Who is Lee Child?

James Dover Grant, primarily known by his pen name Lee Child, was born in Coventry on October 29, 1954. The family moved to Handsworth Wood in Birmingham when Child was 4-years-old so that he and his brothers could get a better education. He attended the Cherry Orchard Primary School until he reached the age of 11. He then moved to King Edward’s School.

By 1974, at the age of 20, Child studied law at the University of Sheffield. He did not have any intention of entering the legal profession. During this time, he took an interest in theater and worked backstage. By the time he graduated, he worked in commercial television.

Child received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Sheffield in 1977. He returned to the same University to receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters by 2009. (Source: The Guardian)

How Did Lee Child Start His Novel?

At the age of 40, Child was fired from his job at Granada Television. He refused to panic and decided to start his novel. With £3.99, he bought paper and pencils and started writing. Twenty-six years later, he’s already reached 25 books with this specific series.

When he lost his job in 1995 due to corporate restructuring, he started writing with a fury that was the perfect balance of creativity and financial necessity. Thus, the Killing Floor was born. Since then, Child has built his series, and now he has a massive fan base with 60 million copies sold.

America suited the book I wanted to write much more than Britain. British crime stories tend to be very internal, psychological, claustrophobic, very limited in terms of geography. If you think about Ian Rankin, it’s a small area of Edinburgh. I wanted to do something that was more wide-ranging in terms of geography, empty spaces, distant horizons.

Lee Child

(Source: The Guardian)

How Did Lee Child Decide on the Name for his Main Character?

The character’s name came to Child while he was at the supermarket. An old lady approached him, noting the span of his arms, and asked for his help in reaching for a can of pears. Upon seeing this, his wife commented that he could always be a reacher at the supermarket if his writing career didn’t work out. (Source: The Independent)

Child describes Jack Reacher as a happy-go-lucky guy with quirks and issues. Reacher is also introverted but very intelligent and strong. When Tom Cruise was chosen to play the role of Jack Reacher in the film, fans were not too happy. On November 14, 2008, Child announced that he made a deal to produce a Jack Reacher series, but Tom Cruise was not returning for the role.

 I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is.So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead, we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor. We’re rebooting and starting over and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy

Lee Child

(Source: Deadline)

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