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You can knock each one out in 80 or 90 days, as long as you never bother to start until after noon; nothing worthwhile is ever done in the morning.
So says Lee Child, the pen name of Jim Grant, two of whose Jack Reacher novels have been developed into blockbuster movies starring Tom Cruise.
The British author was in Dunedin on Saturday for a talk at a packed Glenroy Auditorium with Toby Manhire. He told the Otago Daily Times he was in the city "not because I need to sell any more books, but I’m here to say thank you".
"An author puts a lot of his own heart and soul in the books, and it’s just fabulous that anybody pays attention."
Child said he wrote in the northern autumn and winter.
"I always start on September 1."
"It’s easy; my ritual is never to do anything in the morning.
"I believe that nothing of value is ever achieved in the morning.
"I work every available day until the book is finished."
It took him between 80 and 90 days to finish a book over a six- or seven-month period.
Child, who has written 23 Jack Reacher books, said his contract would take that number to 24, and "then we’ll see what happens after that".
He said he loved working with Cruise in the Jack Reacher movies.
"He’s obviously a great actor, but also a really good theoretician about story.
"It’s a real education working with him."
However fans of his books were never happy with Cruise as Reacher.
The plan for the future was for a longer "binge-watching" television series with a different actor.
Child also made dreams come true for die-hard Dunedin fans during his visit, some of whom queued for more than an hour to get their books signed. More than 100 people flocked to Whitcoulls on George St before the signing at 2pm.
Dunedin woman Lauren Batten said Child was the only author she read, and she was looking forward to his latest book.
"You get into them and you can’t put them down," she said.
Father-daughter duo Graeme Sayer and Katie Little said they had both read every single book and described themselves as "extreme fans".
Mr Sayer was known to stay up to 2am or 3am reading the Jack Reacher books, and was already midway through Child’s 23rd novel.
Vidya Kulkarni had read four of the books and was hooked.