Craving a copy of A Wanted Man, bestseller Lee Child’s next Jack Reacher adventure? Then show up at the Random House Booth at BEA and you could be one of the lucky recipients as the bestselling author signs a limited number of ARCs of number 17 in his bestselling series from Delacorte.

Not surprisingly, Child is a BEA veteran—but for him, it never gets old. “I’ve been at BEA about half a dozen times,” he says. “I love it! It’s a very lonely job being a writer, so mass gatherings like these are the only time I can get together with people who share the same world. It’s great meeting retailers, promotion people, publishing people. I’m here just to enjoy it. At the beginning of your career, you’re desperate to sell yourself and get noticed. But for me now, it’s just about sitting back meeting people. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends in New York.”

As for A Wanted Man, Child describes it as “a current-day story; not a prequel and not a flashback. The last book, The Affair, was a prequel, which took place in 1997, and stepped out of the sequence. The final scene of the book before that, Worth Dying For, is the first scene of A Wanted Man.”

Speaking of scenes, Jack Reacher will finally appear on the big screen in December, when the Paramount Pictures production of Child’s 2005 novel, One Shot, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Oscar winner for Best Screenplay, The Usual Suspects), will premiere worldwide. Among Reacher’s followers, the casting of the 5-ft. 8-in. Tom Cruise in the role of the 6-ft. 5-in. Jack Reacher has been a topic of conversation and consternation alike. “I understand how incredibly sensitive it is to the readers,” Child admits. “Some of them are saying, ‘Oh, that’s great,’ some are saying, ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’ and I’m saying, ‘Wait ’til you see it!’ ”

Child chose not to be the movie’s screenwriter “because I’ve done screenplay writing, and I know that as a screenwriter you’ve got to be so brutal and callous about tearing the book down and building it back up. And that’s the last thing a writer wants to see done to his work—every word means something. They would have been very happy for me to be involved, but I decided to entrust it to a great team and stay out of their way. But they involved me [in] every step, even though they were not contractually obligated to do so. They were very courteous, generous, and inclusive, and I felt like a real part of it.”

Child is perfectly clear on what’s next. “Filming is done, and the movie comes out December 21. So all I have to do is get my suit dry cleaned.”