Credit…Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times
Here is an excerpt from an article by for The New York Times in which she discusses time she spent with Lee Child, the bestselling English novelist, who now spends several months a year in Wyoming. To read the complete article, check out others, and obtain information about deep-discount subscriptions, please click here.
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Reacher moved on. He always does. But Child and Jane, his wife of 44 years, decided to stay.
Now, with a Reacher TV project in the works and the 24th novel in the series on the way (titled “Blue Moon,” it will arrive on Child’s 65th birthday, Oct. 29), I am in Laramie to have coffee in a diner with Reacher’s creator. As any devotee knows, Reacher spends a lot of time in diners. He downs amounts of coffee that would put most people on life support. He sits with his back to the wall, eats like a trencherman and gets acquainted with the waitress. He wants her to remember him, because it might be handy.
But here in the real world, I’m meeting the reedy, 6-foot-4 Child — actual name, James Dover Grant — and not his brawnier, inch-taller hero. Laramie has no real diner. It’s got a place that serves cappuccino and arty beer that, Child confirms, Reacher would be “bemused by.” Sitting in a booth with his back to the wall, Child faces a rainbow flag; Laramie is where Matthew Shepard was killed for being gay 21 years ago, and this city of 32,000 continues to honor his memory. We’re directly across the street from two bookstores. Outside their doors, few people know that a best-selling author has started spending three months of the year nearby.
Child drinks a meager half cup of coffee, claiming to have had a whole pot at home. He insists on paying the check, either out of gallantry or for tax reasons. Then we climb into his distinctly un-Reacher-like electric blue S.U.V. and begin a drive straight out of his novel. He lives 40 or 50 miles from town. The intersection closest to his roost is a 10-minute drive away. That’s also where the paved road ends.
The sky is as big as skies get. The high prairie is golden. Miles of dirt road lead upward to an immaculate, rustic house with decks on three sides. Unobstructed views stretch 20 miles into the distance. Child’s place is on 35 acres, protected by thousands of acres of forest, lakes and ranch land. It all cost less than he got for the 900-square-foot apartment on 22nd Street where he used to live. If you want to relocate to the middle of nowhere, this is how it’s done.
Child, an Englishman, has gone native. He’s dressed in boots, jeans, T-shirt and a leather barn coat. He owns two cowboy hats, but didn’t wear one for this interview “for fear of making you laugh.” He already lived here when he wrote “The Midnight Line,” and acknowledges that describing a familiar setting was more satisfying than making one up. Though Wyoming’s renown as a tax haven was a factor in his move, he says, the decision had “more to do with an immigrant’s sense that there’s always somewhere else to explore.” (Child and his wife have numerous homes, including one above St. Tropez and a spread in East Sussex, England, that he bought for bragging rights after growing up poor. He still spends time at an apartment he owns on Central Park West, but Jane has decided she’s through with New York.)
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.
Here is a link to more information about Lee Child and his work.