Lincoln Child is the co-author with Douglas Preston of a bestselling thriller/adventure series. A former book editor at St. Martin's Press, he has published numerous short story anthologies and founded the company's mass market horror division. He also writes novels and techno-thrillers on his own.
Born in Westport, CT, in 1958, Lincoln Child grew up with a consuming interest in writing. (On his website, he acknowledges several short stories from his youth and two "exquisitely embarrassing" novels penned in high school -- and currently kept under lock and key!) He graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota with a degree in English. In 1979, he moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing and was hired by St. Martin's Press as an editorial assistant. By 1984, he had worked his way up to full editor.
It was around this time that Child met Douglas Preston, a writer employed by the American Museum of Natural History. Author and editor bonded while working together on the nonfiction book Dinosaurs in the Attic; and when the project ended, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the AMNH. The excursion proved fateful: Exploring the deserted corridors and darkened nooks and crannies of the museum, Child turned to Preston and said, "This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!" Although the book would not see print until 1995, the idea for Relic was born that night, cementing a friendship and launching a unique cross-country writing partnership.
Child left St. Martin's in 1987 to went to work for MetLife as a systems analyst. Shortly after the publication of Relic, he resigned his position to become a full-time writer. Subsequent collaborations with Preston have produced an intriguing string of interconnected novels that are less a series than what the authors call a "pangea." The books are self-contained, but the stories take place in the same universe and they share events and characters -- including many introduced in Relic. Readers obviously enjoy this cross-pollination, since the Preston-Child thrillers turn up regularly on the bestseller charts.
In 2002, Child released his first solo novel, Utopia, the story of a futuristic amusement park held hostage by a group of techno-terrorists. Other solo works have followed, blending cutting-edge science and high-octane thrills. Preston, too, has produced fiction and nonfiction on his own, and the two men continue their successful collaborations. It's an arrangement that suits both writers to a tee.
Good To Know
While at St. Martin's, Lincoln Child assembled several collections of ghost and horror stories. He also founded the company's mass-market horror division.
On his website, Child lists the following among his interests: pre-1950s literature and poetry; post-1950s popular fiction; playing the piano, various MIDI instruments, and the 5-string banjo; English and American history; motorcycles; architecture; classical music, early jazz, blues, and R&B; exotic parrots; esoteric programming languages; mountain hiking; bow ties; Italian suits; fedoras; archaeology; and multiplayer deathmatching.
In our interview Child shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.
"I try to write about things, places, events, and phenomena I know about personally. That helps make the novels more genuine. My grandmother, Nora Kubie, who was herself a published novelist, always gave me that advice. And it's probably the best I've received, or for that matter given. I even try to make use of my personal eccentricities and quirks. I hate subways, for example, and in such works as Reliquary I tried to instill -- or at least convey -- that groundless but persistent fear."
"My first job out of college was as an editorial assistant in a New York publishing house. Being an editorial assistant is the purgatory would-be editors must endure before they can ascend the ladder and begin acquiring books on their own. I spent a year filing paperwork, writing copy, and typing rejection letters."
"For me, writing never gets easier. It's always hard work. It doesn't matter how many words you wrote the day before, or how many novels you've completed in the last decade: every day you start fresh again with that same blank page, or that same blank screen. As long as the work, and the finished product, remains fresh and important to a writer -- and the day it stops being important to me is the day I'll lay down my pen -- said writer can never allow himself to coast, or go soft, or recycle old material, or take the easy way out."
"I like exotic parrots, motorcycles, wine from Pauillac, playing the piano and the banjo, the poetry of John Keats, the music of Fats Waller, collecting old books and new guitars, computer FPS and RPG games, and preparing dishes like caneton a l'Orange and desserts like soufflé au chocolat."