The Big Thrill’s Behavioral Analysis Unit: Lincoln Child

Interview by Eric P. Bishop

New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child started his writing endeavors in second grade when he penned a short story entitled “Bumble the Elephant.” Mysteriously, the work appears to be lost to time. (Editorial note: that sounds like a conspiracy if you ask me.) That passion for the written word continued during Child’s formative years as he kept writing short stories and even graduated to a full-blown science-fiction novel in the tenth grade. Upon graduation from Carleton College with a major in English, Child secured a job as an editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press, and several years later, the role led to a full editorial position.

Child’s career in publishing soon led to novel collaborations with Douglas Preston before Child began a solo writing career in 2002 with the release of Utopia. More than 20 of the collaborative novels and most of his solo novels have hit the bestseller list, a few reaching the coveted #1 position. Child and Preston’s first collaboration—Relic—was made into a feature film.

Fast forward to present day, and Child’s latest novel featuring Jeremy Logan—famed enigmalogist, or investigator of unexplained things—hits shelves July 12. CHRYSALIS (the sixth in the series) is centered on a dominant tech company whose groundbreaking technology is not only redefining life as we know it; it’s set to introduce the world to a catastrophic danger.

Still Life with Flamingos

With interests that span the gauntlet from music to motorcycles and hiking to bow ties, the team at The Big Thrill’s Behavioral Analysis Unit is eager to read Child’s answers to our 20 thought-provoking questions.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect ignorance. Professor Pangloss was on the right track.

What is your greatest fear?

I’m afraid to even consider the question. Sorry.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Timidity.

Child in Sea Island, Georgia

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of empathy.

What would your superpower be?

Flight. “Faster than a speeding bullet…”

What is your favorite way to waste time?

Sleeping in—though I might argue whether that’s wasted time or just meditation while in an unconscious state.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

A member of the landed gentry, preferably titled.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

You don’t really expect me to answer that?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Who, actually, not what. She’s 26 years old at present.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

The veranda of Jay Gatsby’s Long Island mansion.

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty.

Who are your favorite writers?

John Keats, Harold Bloom, H. P. Lovecraft, John Le Carré…

If you were to die and come back as a character in a novel, who would you be?

Probably Lord Harry Wotton from The Picture of Dorian Gray. Only superficially, of course…

Who are your real-life heroes?

Members of our armed forces.

What is your most unappealing habit?

Evasiveness, at least when answering questions about myself.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

An old saw, I’m afraid: Find the line in your current work you’re proudest of, and then delete it—invariably it’s trite. Easier said than done, of course.

What’s your favorite drink?

Old Raj martini, up, extra dry, well shaken, with a zest of lemon and served in a cocktail glass cold enough for my tongue to freeze to.

Plotter or pantser?

Plotter, 100 percent.

What is your favorite word?

Mellifluous—I only wish it had more ‘L’s.

Which living author do you most admire?

A very difficult question. From my perspective as a writer, I would probably say Thomas Harris, for his first three published novels.

What is your motto?

Crudely translated from Virgil: “Someday it might be pleasant to remember even this.”

Eric P. Bishop
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