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LET’S MEET THE MAN WHO CREATED THEODORE BOONE: JOHN GRISHAM

JOHN GRISHAM is the master of the modern legal thriller. A former lawyer and an internationally acclaimed, bestselling author, he has sold over 275 million books worldwide, with nine of his novels adapted into major films...

John Grisham
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Q&A with the author

Q. Did you always want to be a writer?

A. As a child I dreamed of being a professional baseball player. But when I realised I didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, I shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University.

Q. When did you publish your first book?

A. It took three years to complete my first book, A Time to Kill and finding a publisher was not easy. The book was rejected by 28 publishers before Wynwood Press, an unknown publisher, agreed to give it a modest 5,000-copy printing. It was published in June 1989. The day after I completed A Time to Kill, I began work on my second novel, The Firm, the story of an ambitious young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. The Firm remained on the New York Times' bestseller list for 47 weeks and became the bestselling novel of 1991.

Q. Did you ever return to the courtroom after you became a writer?

A. I took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year break, to the courtroom. I was honouring a commitment made before I 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. I successfully argued my clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of my career.

Q. Who inspired you to write the THEODORE BOONE series?

A. My daughter Shea inspired me to write Theodore Boone. Shea is a teacher in North Carolina and when she got her fifth grade students to read the book, three or four of them came up afterwards and said they'd like to go into the legal profession.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing legal thrillers?

A. When I’m not writing, I devotee time to charitable causes, including most recently my Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I also keep up with my greatest passion: baseball. I dreamed of being a professional baseball player and now I serve as the local Little League commissioner. The six ball fields I built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.  I also wrote the original screenplay for and produced the 2004 baseball movie Mickey, starring Harry Connick, Jr...