Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The funny origin of author Lee Child's pen name

From Reddit about the Jack Reacher author:

So back in the '70s, Renault (French car maker) made a car called "Le Car" ("le" means "the" in French, and is pronounced "luh" - apologies if you already knew that!). I think it was one of the few Renault models to ever be sold in the US. My dad was on a train in the US (my mom is American and they were visiting her parents), sitting opposite a guy from Texas and they got to chatting. They started talking about cars and the Texan asked my dad if he had ever heard of "Lee Car." From then on, he and my mom called a lot of things "Lee [whatever]" (e.g., "Lee Dog" - "The Dog"). When I was born, I became "Lee Baby" and when I got older it was "Lee Child" (don't worry, they did call me by my name too... sometimes).

He also liked it as a pen name because he found that in many bookstores, the C names were at eye level (potential for more sales), plus it put him near mega-seller Agatha Christie, so he figured it was a good one to go with.
And here's le author explaining the origin of the Jack Reacher name:
Usually when I'm searching for a name I look around my office until I see the name of an author, or a brand of stationery, that works. I wrote the first book without a name in mind, I was completely stuck until my wife suggested that, after I lost my broadcasting job in Britain, that, with my size [Child is 6'5"] I could be a reacher in a supermarket. It was a gift from her to me.