Mark Terry

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm In The Wrong Line Of Work...

April 28, 2008
Oh wait... I AM in this line of work.

For all you silly writers who wonder what you'd do with your money if you were as successful as writer as, hey, let's see, Lee Child!, here's an article about how Lee Child spends his money. I'm going to go cry in my pillow.

What is the most lucrative work you have ever done? Did you use the fee for something special?

I did story doctoring for a film that is yet to be made – The Silence of Six. They had a screenplay that wasn’t really working so they asked me to redo it. It was 11 days’ work and it paid a fortune – about $250,000 (£126,000). I used the money to buy a painting by Renoir. It’s a small still-life of roses in a vase.

What property do you own?

My wife and I have two apartments on 22nd street in Manhattan – one where I live and one where I work – and two houses inland from Saint-Tropez, again one to live in and one to work in. I’ve had the properties for around 10 years or so. The apartments cost about $950,000 each; they are in the same building so I have an 18-floor commute on the elevator.

The big house in France was €500,000 (£404,000) and the smaller one was €300,000. They are only a couple of miles apart. Our home is in the countryside just outside a little market town and the office building – originally a 14th-century house – is right in the centre of the town.

Each of the New York apartments is worth about $2m. The big house in France is probably worth €600,000 and the smaller one €350,000.

Because, like, I knew this would just make your day.


Mark Terry


Anonymous Steve Thorn said...

Mark, that was not nice. Not very nice at all.

3:12 PM  
OpenID eric-mayer said...

Wish I were rich. I could then display the good taste not to blab about my good fortune.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...


I had a totally SH*TTY day today (termperamental author I am working with). Double UGH!!!!!!

One, I need to remember to include a "shrink surcharge" when i accept certain work.

And two . . . I agree with Eric. VERY gauche.


3:53 PM  
Blogger Maria Zannini said...

Oh, great! This is all I need to make my day complete.

Don't do this again. I mean it! LOL. Ya killin' me.

5:27 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

For real? Cripes.


I'd so love a small house. A small house in France would be a dream.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

St. Fucking Tropez. Just great.

I like Stephen King's strategy. We all know he has a shitload of money, so he publicizes the philanthropic work (the radio station, the scholarships). Maybe gauche in its own way, but certainly easier to swallow, IMO.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

In defense of Lee Child:

Such as it is, I've heard the man's quite generous with his time and money. I know that every year at Bouchercon he essentially rents a local bar and invites everyone (I don't know if it's just the writers or anyone there) to come on and drink the night away on his dime.

I've also noted that the British press sometimes gets like this. I read a lengthy article about JK Rowling in one of the British papers that really seemed to focus on how much money she made and what she spends it on. Interesting, but probably none of my business.

I can say I'm sort of surprised by Child's, er, candor, about the cost of everything. I can see how people might take it the wrong way. I'm sort of reticent, somewhat, about giving away actual $ numbers, although I try to be honest. I've got a quasi-friend of sorts who's always tended to announce actual $ and ask, too. Somewhat memorably, he told me about a vacation he and his family took to Alaska and said, "Yeah, it was a cool $20,000." At the time I thought, "Half what I make a year, go fuck yourself."

Whatever. Still, I think Mr. Child might have been more circumspect given how this post was perceived here, let alone in the larger press. I'm inclined to agree with Eric and Erica (no relationship that I know of) that being sort of quiet about your good fortune might be perceived as more classy. Everyone I know who's met and dealt with Mr. Child claims he's always gracious and generous and a class-act, but I don't think this article helped that much.

But I can always dream of what I might do with that kind of money if I ever earned it. I'll just promise to keep most of it to myself.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

I have heard that about him too, Mark, but honestly - someone who is purported to be so sensitive to other authors should realize how insensitive this kind of information can sound. It's such a tough business, I don't see how anyone could look at money discussions as "motivational" or otherwise positive. More like a carrot.

I have to say that this doesn't make me want to run out and buy his books. I'd rather borrow them from a library and save my money for a lesser-known author's works.

10:22 AM  

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