Never meet your heroes – unless it’s Lee Child

This is Lee and I in the green room at the Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland. I was emceeing and he was the main attraction. That’s a new suit he’s wearing, one of two he bought that day. His story of being fired at forty and going on to write one of the bestselling series ever was inspiring. He told me his real name (Jim Grant) and the reason he chose a surname starting with ‘C.’ (‘Because buyers don’t generally go for the surname ‘A’ in the bookstore and ‘Z’ is too far to reach.’) He was fine company, had a healthy, cynical British wit and welcomed the Chuck Norris jokes I had switched for Jack Reacher. ‘Write fiction,’ he said, as he lit a smoke and walked to his car at the end of the night. We interviewed him on our radio show recently and I told him my new novel was coming out. ‘That is great news,’ he said. ‘Please send me a copy.’

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