> Skip to content

Q&A  •  21 September 2022


Lee and Andrew Child share what it's like writing with each other

We caught up with Lee and Andrew Child to find out how the brothers worked together to write No Plan B. We also learned about their favourite Reacher quote and got a hint at what’s to come.

No Plan B is the third book you have written with each other. How has your collaborative process changed since you wrote The Sentinel together?

Our process changed dramatically in the middle of writing The Sentinel because we started before the pandemic hit and could sit in the same room, talking through ideas and figuring out where the story was going next. Suddenly that wasn’t possible so we switched to working remotely, talking on the phone or via text and emailing portions of the manuscript back and forth. That wasn’t as much fun – it was great to hang out together – but in terms of the writing it turned out to have an unexpected advantage. Opening the latest version of the file with no explanation or justification meant that we only had the words on the page to work with – exactly like someone who had bought the finished book. It helped us to sort the wheat from the chaff more quickly and efficiently so we have stuck with the same method ever since.

Where did the idea for No Plan B come from?

We like to start out with a feeling of the mood and tone we want a book to have, and from there come up with a line of dialogue or a sense of a defining scene. With No Plan B, that scene was a tragic accident in which everyone – except Reacher – bought the misdirection that it was an accident. That led us to the essential questions: Who was the victim? Who wanted them dead? Why? And the rest of the plot flowed from there.

How do you decide who writes which parts of the story?

We don’t divide up the work in advance. We work scene by scene, episode by episode, and the initiative naturally switches back and forth between us as we go. We don’t force it – it happens on its own as the momentum of the plot continues to build.

Do you have a favourite Reacher quote?

‘Like teaching Hindu to a beagle.’ (A Wanted Man.)

What’s next?

We’ve already started writing Reacher’s next adventure. (We began on September 1st, in keeping with Lee’s long-standing tradition.) So we know how Reacher gets himself into trouble. How he gets out again remains to be seen…


While you're here, take this quiz to find out how well you know Jack Reacher!

Feature Title

No Plan B
Jack Reacher, "the coolest continuing series character" (Stephen King), returns in a brand new, pulse-pounding read from Lee and Andrew Child.
Read more

More features

See all
Lee Child and Andrew Child Q&A

Lee Child and younger brother Andrew have collaborated for the first time on The Sentinel and Jack Reacher fans are in for a treat.

Lee Child and George R.R. Martin Q&A

An in-depth discussion between Lee Child and George Martin in Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 2018.

15 beach reads to enjoy this summer

See some of the best beach reads of 2023. Fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books, there’s something from every genre to enjoy.

What to read next based on your favourite type of potato

Love books? Love potatoes? Find your next read here.

Penguin picks: 6 employees share their favourite books of 2023

See what Penguin Random House employees chose as their favourite books of the year.

The 10 bestselling fiction books of 2023

Check out our top-selling fiction books this year.

QUIZ: How well do you know Jack Reacher?

You know him, you love him. But how well do you *really* know Jack Reacher?

Free Jack Reacher short story

An exclusive Lee Child short story to celebrate the release of No Middle Name.

Keep up with Jack Reacher

How do you stack up against Lee Child’s renegade hero?

Ceridwen Dovey shares why she chose to set her new book in space

We caught up with the author to learn about her upcoming book, Only The Astronauts, why she chose to write about space and her unique narrative perspective.

Alex Michaelides shares why his new novel was his favourite to write

Learn about Alex Michaelides’s new book, the real-life people who inspired his characters and how growing up in Cyprus contributed to the setting.

Rachael Johns shares her trick for getting words onto the page

We caught up with Rachael Johns to learn about her writing routines, favourite rom-coms and new book The Other Bridget.

Looking for more Q&As?

See all Q&As