Andrew Child is a British author who also writes as Andrew Grant. He is the author of several books including the David Trevellyan series and the Paul McGrath series.
Andrew is the younger brother of Lee Child and has just completed the joint writing of the latest Jack Reacher book The Sentinel.
He will eventually take over writing duties. You can find The Sentinel and Andrew's other books on our catalogue.
- Who were your literary heroes as you were growing up?
The first writer I thought of a hero was William Shakespeare, and this feeling has only become stronger over the years. It amazes me how the themes he explored and the understanding of human nature he displayed have endured over the centuries.
Henry V was one of the first of his plays I read and I was instantly hooked by the Prologue's promise of famine, sword, and fire. I loved Henry's handling of the scheming bishops and his smiting of the impertinent Dauphin. But seriously, is there anything better in literature than the Southampton plot, when Henry handed the unsuspecting traitors their death warrants in place of their commissions? A twist any thriller-writer would be proud of.
- We are familiar here with your David Trevellyan books and more recently Detective Cooper Devereaux and Paul McGrath. How did you come to invent these characters?
I have always been a big thriller reader and was conscious of the way in which many heroes’ actions are the result of their experiences – recovering from alcoholism, fighting in the Vietnam War, mourning failed marriages, etc. When I was thinking about starting a series of my own I figured there was no point repeating what other authors had already done so well, so I decided that I would make my main character – David Trevellyan – someone who was driven to do the right thing by his own internal beliefs and values rather than as a reaction to external circumstances.
The inspiration for Cooper Devereaux, on the other hand, came from an entirely different source. It wasn’t the result of a conscious decision at all. The idea came from a dream I had where a person who had believed his father was the victim of a serial killer discovered that his father had actually been the killer. When I woke up – feeling a little disturbed – I realised this scenario would provide a great opportunity to explore the impact the revelation could have on a person’s sense of self and to examine all kinds of issues surrounding identity and nature versus nurture.
My most recent character, Paul McGrath, was the result of an idea that had been floating around at the back of my mind for a long time. In some ways linked to the Robin Hood archetype he is a selfless, anonymous hero who stands up for the little guy in a time of great inequality.
- What was it like making your way as a writer with Lee Child as your brother?
Honestly, it was a mixed blessing. On the one hand it helped me because I felt that if my brother could succeed then maybe I could too, and it also enabled me to understand the way the publishing industry worked and see the hurdles I would have to clear. On the other, despite trying very hard initially to play down our family connection, it meant our work was constantly compared and I was judged against a very high bar.
- It was recently announced that you will be writing the next few Jack Reacher books with Lee before taking over. How did this arrangement come about and what does it mean in practical terms?
Lee’s been doing this job for a long time – he’s written twenty-four Reacher books – and he was starting to realise that he might not be able to keep going at the same standard for more than another two or three years. His initial thought was that he’d have to kill Reacher off, but when he mentioned this his readers made it very clear that they were not happy. They wanted the series to continue.
The question was, how he could do this? He concluded that the only way would be for him to somehow wake up one day, fifteen years younger, rejuvenated and reenergised. At first this obviously seemed impossible, but then he thought of me. We’re very similar people – we share DNA, attitudes, tastes etc – and I’m close to being fifteen years younger. He floated the idea, and after I recovered from the shock of him being willing to trust me with his creation, I was happy to agree. I was after all the first Reacher fan in the world and I didn’t want the series to end either.
We then talked about how we should handle the transition and we decided the best way would be to collaborate on the next two or three before I strike out on my own.
- When you take over writing duties for Jack Reacher will you still be writing any of your other series?
I’m happy to say there’ll be at least one more Paul McGrath thriller. I had planned to write it this year but in the end I postponed by twelve months so that I could focus fully on the Reacher transition. After that I would love to write more but that will depend on my publisher, and ultimately the reaction from the readers…
- Has a book ever changed your life or made you think differently?
I would have to say Animal Farm by George Orwell, which so elegantly demonstrates how the best of intentions can lead to the worst of outcomes.
- Do you have a message for your Suffolk readers?
Keep on supporting your local libraries. Keep on supporting your local independent bookshops. But most of all, keep on reading!
- Can you tell us one thing your readers may not know about you?
I play the bagpipes. With great enthusiasm, though not great skill.