Page 3 Profile: John Grisham, author


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The Independent Online

Not retiring, is he?

Certainly not. In fact, the 58- year-old American author is still churning out several books a year, and has even branched out into lucrative young adult fiction alongside his popular legal thrillers for adults. His work isn’t ever  going to bag him a Pulitzer Prize, but you suspect that isn’t too  much of a bother.

Last year, Forbes estimated his yearly earnings at $26m, a figure topped only by James Patterson, Stephen King and Janet Evanovich.

Money for old rope?

Perhaps, but Grisham’s next project should intrigue even jaded literary types who turn their noses up at the likes of Dan Brown and Lee Child. It’s a sequel to his 1989 novel  A Time To Kill.

How original.

There’s a great deal of affection for his first book. It tells the story of Jake Brigance, a young lawyer defending a black man who kills the white racists who raped his daughter. The novel sold modestly at first. It received an initial print run of just 5,000, and Grisham took to marketing the book by throwing parties in his local library.

“The whole town would show up and I would sell a lot,” he said, though he would still go home with most of the copies. His fortunes soon changed, however, when his second effort, The Firm, became the best-selling novel of 1991. In 1996, A Time To Kill was turned into a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey and made a killing at the box office.

But do we need a sequel?

Publisher Knopf Doubleday believes so. The book, called Sycamore Row, will once again be set in Mississippi, where Brigance will be forced to “fight for justice in a trial that could tear the small town of Clanton apart”. Knopf promised a trademark tale of “intrigue, suspense and plot twists” that will surely sell by the bucket load. It comes out in October, and you imagine a feature film won’t be far behind.