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Monday, February 8, 2016

Wrapping 'good stories' around issues

I always try to tell a good story, one with a compelling plot that will keep the pages turning. That is my first and primary goal. Sometimes I can tackle an issue - homelessness, tobacco litigation, insurance fraud, the death penalty - and wrap a good story around it.” – John Grisham

Grisham is the bestselling writer, attorney, politician, and activist from Mississippi best known for his popular legal thrillers.  His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.  And yet, Grisham, who celebrates his 51st birthday today, almost didn’t become a writer.  Writing was not a childhood dream,” he said.   “I always struggled with how to get started.” 

It was only after about 5 or 6 years as a lawyer that he started to “play around with fiction.  I seriously doubt I would ever have written my first story had I not been a lawyer. I never dreamed of being a writer. I wrote only after witnessing a trial.”

Grisham holds degrees from Mississippi State University and the Ole Miss Law School and practiced criminal law for about a decade.   
He also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1984-90 working simultaneously on his legal career and writing.  His first novel A Time to Kill was published in June 1989.

Nine of his books have been made into films – a remarkable record.  And, he said he’s grateful for that because it’s brought a lot more people into touch with his works, since he doesn’t think being a writer has, in itself, made him famous.  “Quite often I can be in a bookshop, standing beneath a great big picture of myself and paying for a book with a credit card clearly marked John Grisham, yet no one recognizes me. I often say I'm a famous author in a country where no one reads.”

“Writing's still the most difficult job I've ever had - but it's worth it.”

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