The author behind the best-selling Jack Reacher series drew a large crowd to the University of Nebraska at Omaha's (UNO) Baxter Arena for the third lecture in the annual Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series on Wednesday, April 11.
More than 3,000 tickets had been claimed in advance of the free event, featuring author Lee Child.
Child kicked off the lecture by answering a question he says he fields more often than any other: when did he know that he wanted to be an author?
“In my case, the answer is never. I never wanted to be a writer. I still don’t want to be a writer. What I wanted to do all my life was entertain people.”
Child spoke about his unconventional path to becoming a best-selling author, one that involved undergraduate law school, theater work, and an 18-year career in British television.
He covered authors who had inspired his grounded approach to writing a mystery (Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky), how the film “My Cousin Vinny” served as location research for his first book, and his daily coffee intake – a whopping 36 mugs a day.
The biggest applause line of the night came as he described how he tries to avoid becoming too attached to his main character, what he called a “fatal mistake” for some authors.
“There’s only one person in the world that Reacher is afraid of and that’s me.”
The evening lecture followed a special dialogue with UNO students studying a variety of fields, including creative writing, journalism and business, during which Child shared insights on writing and the entertainment industry.
Thank you to @LeeChildReacher for joining us today for the Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series Masterclass. We look forward to hearing your lecture tonight at @BaxterArena! #KnowTheO pic.twitter.com/nmgxdbX7bA— UNO (@UNOmaha) April 11, 2018
The Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series is presented by Marion’s son Paul Brown, his wife Djel Ann, and their children, Randy, Scott, and Marietta Luellen.
Marion served as a professor of English at UNO (then Omaha University) from 1954 through 1968. She wrote more than 15 books and is best known for her young adult literature. The series celebrates her life and work by bringing a well-known author to UNO each year.