Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom.
After exploring a new genre in A Painted House and Skipping Christmas, best-selling author John Grisham returns to legal thrillers with The Summons.
Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby?writing his first novel.
Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.
One day at the Dessoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.
That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career -- and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights of The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, The Firm became the best-selling novel of 1991.
The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times best-seller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a best-seller.
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, and The Street Lawyer), and all of them have become best-sellers, leading Publishers Weekly to declare him "the best-selling novelist of the 90s" in a January 1998 profile. There are currently over 60 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Six of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, and The Chamber), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.
Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500?the biggest verdict of his career.
ISSUE 1: The Faulkner Thing by John Grisham
It was Dallas, or some other city. They all look the same at the end of a book tour, so it makes no difference where you are, really, you just keep telling yourself that this city, whatever it is, is one step closer to home. I was sitting on a small ...
Book Buzz: John Grisham to write sequel to 'A Time To Kill' - USA Today
Grisham returns: Legal thriller titan John Grisham has written a sequel to his best seller A Time To Kill, called Sycamore Row, due out from Doubleday on Oct. 22. In the book, Jake Brigance returns to the courtroom in a "dramatic showdown as Ford ...
John Grisham set to release 'Sycamore Row,' sequel to 'A Time to Kill,' in October
New York Daily News (blog)
What Billy Mays did for OxiClean, John Grisham has been doing for the legal thriller since his first book, “A Time To Kill,” came out in 1988. It was therefore — to put it mildly — kind of a big deal when Grisham's publisher Knopf Doubleday announced ...
Recommended Reads: John Grisham's 'Playing for Pizza' a delight
My Edmonds News (registration)
Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy. –Bertrand Russell. A rare venture into humorous, light fiction by John Grisham, this novel is a delight for anyone who is a fan of football, or Italy ...
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