An author works to make a name for himself, and if he’s successful, that name can land on covers in bookstores around the world. So to achieve success as a writer and then change to a different name is a big risk. It seems to be working out just fine for Andrew Child, the author previously known as Andrew Grant. He recently adopted a new pen name to partner with his real-life brother, Lee Child, on the latest book in the popular Jack Reacher novel series, “The Sentinel.”
Andrew was already a successful novelist when his brother decided to retire, but he was surprised when Lee asked him to continue the legacy of a series he had enjoyed and admired as a reader.
Reacher, the main character, is a drifter who recognizes problems and solves them in his own unique way. The younger Child follows the tradition set by his brother in portraying Reacher as a strategic thinker and physically formidable opponent for villains and bullies.
The subject of the 25th novel in the series is cybersecurity, with a focus on ransomware. The plot is a fictionalized version of tech crimes that pop up in the news.
On How His Brother Chose Him As The Next Reacher Author
“He said he had almost a kind of daydream where he imagined himself waking up one day 15 years younger and more energetic, more tuned into current technology and the current trends in society and able to kind of reboot and go again. If only something like that could happen. He lives down the road from me now. He bought a house in Wyoming. He’s our nextdoor neighbor, which, in Wyoming, is three miles away. He woke up one day, and said, ‘Wait a minute. There is such a person. He’s three miles away. He’s my brother.’”
On How Ransomware Became A Plot Line
“I decided, yeah, let’s put Reacher in an environment where he’s out of his depth technologically because that helps to set him up for facing an enemy who could legitimately challenge him. Cause otherwise, how do you do that? How do you find somebody bigger, stronger, smarter than Reacher? You can’t. So I thought that would be a good idea. And then I remembered all this stuff I’d read about ransomware, and I thought, maybe the beginning of a story could be, Reacher arrives in a small town, there’s obviously something wrong, he picks up on the signs, and he doesn’t know what it is, so he winds up asking somebody, ‘Hey, what’s the situation?’ and they say, ‘Yeah, we’ve been hit by a ransomware attack,’ and Reacher’s like, ‘What? What is that? I don’t even know what you’re talking about.’ And so that was the starting point.”
On Reacher’s Scientific Approach to Fighting
“As a Reacher fan, it’s one of the things that makes Reacher so attractive, because, sure, there’s a lot of brute force and violence, but it’s not just the violence. It’s also the thought process that goes into it. Reacher approaches it like it’s a problem. It’s as if he’s designing a Swiss watch, and he has to say which components we need to turn, and which secure way in order to make the mechanism completely accurate. It’s not just the fight. It’s the thought process and the rationale that goes into the end product that’s so fascinating. [My brother Lee Child] has this phrase. People ask him for writing advice, and one of the things he always says is that ‘you write the slow part fast and the fast part slow.’ The fighting is obviously a fast part, so it’s not just, ‘I punched him in the face.’ You figure out where do you punch? How do you punch? Which kind of punch? What’s going to be the result?’ So I think it’s far more interesting that way.”