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'The only real genre'

9 July 2007

'The idea that thrillers are peripheral to literature drives me nuts. The thriller concept is why humans invented story-telling, thousands of years ago. The world was perilous and full of misery, so they wanted the vicarious experience of surviving danger. It's the only real genre and all the other stuff has grown on the side of it like barnacles...

My agent said it takes 10 years of hard work to be an overnight success. That separates the sheep from the goats. You've got to put out a good, solid book every year because the public expect regularity, Every time I have no clue at all about what I'm going to do. I always think that I'm all washed-up and then every single year I've had an idea.

By the end you're writing for your readers, to supply their fix. It comes down to how you perceive yourself, If you see yourself as an artiste you're in trouble. If you see yourself as an entertainer, you're onto a good thing.'

Lee Child, author of Bad Luck and Trouble and ten other thrillers, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven