Inspire The Guardian
Did you know that American novelist John Ray Grisham Jr., known for his wildly popular legal thrillers, started writing as a 'side activity'? Read on:
In the mid 1980s, John Grisham, then a small-town lawyer and disillusioned member of the Mississippi [USA] state legislature, would fill the time between meetings and court hearings writing a novel about an ambitious young lawyer embroiled in a life-or-death fight for truth and justice. "It took me three years, and most of the time I thought I would never finish it. Eventually 5,000 hardback copies were printed and I was thrilled. But they did not sell out, it did not get a second edition, it was not published in paperback or picked up for foreign rights. Then I wrote The Firm …"
'My name became a brand, and I'd love to say that was the plan from the start. But the only plan was to keep writing books'
The Firm, Grisham's 1991 story of another young lawyer in a jam, was on the New York Times bestseller lists for 44 weeks, sold more than 7m copies and was made into a feature film starring Tom Cruise. "My first publishing experience was entirely normal and my second entirely abnormal," he says. "I responded much better to the second experience than I did to the first."
And, for Grisham at least, the "abnormality" of The Firm's commercial success soon became the norm. His subsequent series of legal thrillers has gone on to sell close to 300m copies and been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films starring A-list actors such as Julia Roberts, Gene Hackman, Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman.
Read the full story here (The Guardian- 2011)