Anecdotes of a novelist 小說家逸事

I have been listening to Conversations of ABC Radio since 2014. And I happened to come across this interview of writer Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher series remained untouched from my side because I have been busy reading Jeffrey Archer’s works.

Having lost his job as a scriptwriter at a television station, the British author with the original name of James Grant decided that he would give it a try to write fictions to earn a living. His pen name was drafted after careful thoughts, while Reacher, the last name of the main character of his Jack Reacher series, was something mentioned by his wife. She suggested that if his novels were not selling, he could work as a reacher in supermarkets to help customers take goods from higher racks.

Some anecdotes of the prolific writer’s interview also revealed that he read 300 books to produce one book each year, and he used to rethink the ending of other writers’ works.

A search on the internet showed that James Grant did not mind if his works have become commercialised. Frankly speaking, best-selling fiction authors in UK and US including Jeffery Archer’s have also been commercialised. People usually have different ideas when it comes to commercialisation of writings.

My two cents’ worth is that it is very challenging for one to earn a living by writing books: if you do not acquire better writing skills to make your stories more readable, you will find it an even more mounting challenge to sell your books.

2014年以來一直聽澳洲廣播公司的Conversations節目,最近剛好聽到這位小說家Lee Child 的訪問。我其實是Jeffrey Archer 的粉絲,Lee Child 的作品一直沒有接觸,訪談中提及的Jack Reacher 小說系列亦未開始拜讀。

話說這位原名James Grant 的英國作者丟失了電視台編劇工作之後,中年失業的他下定決心寫小說維生,筆名編排亦是經過精心思慮,Reacher 的出處則是他太太說如果小說不賣錢,他就可以到超級市場當一個拿高處貨物的店員。這位作者說一年讀三百本書才寫一本書,以前看書很喜歡質疑其他作者的故事結尾,這些逸事亦是相當有趣。

網路資料顯示,James Grant 對於筆下小說已經商業化一事不甚在意。說實在的,Jeffrey Archer 的小說也已經是商業化了,英美其他暢銷小說家的作品亦然。商業化一事,見仁見智。想要靠寫書賺生活已經是非常困難的事了,若不駛出一些讓故事更好讀的寫作技巧,賣書大概會變得難上加難。


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