Born in Arkansas, John Grisham grew up wanting to become a professional baseball player. Not quite cutting it on the baseball pitch he instead studied law and became a lawyer. John wrote his first novel, A Time To Kill, over three years, getting up at 5am every morning to write for a few hours before heading to work. The story was inspired by the harrowing testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim and was eventually published in 1988. The day after completing A Time To Kill, John started work on his second novel. This book was named The Firm and was the best-selling novel of 1991 before Paramount Pictures bought the film rights for $600,000.
From that time on, John has written one novel a year and has a succession of best-sellers to his name. In 1996, John stayed true to his word and returned to the courtroom to represent the family of a railroad operative who had been killed while at work. The family received nearly $700,000 - the biggest verdict of John's career. John is married to Renee and they have two children, Ty and Shea. His name is synonymous with modern court-room thrillers and he still has a burning passion for baseball.
The first time Jake Brigance hears the name Seth Hubbard is when he is named as attorney of state on Seth's suicide note. The reclusive tycoon hangs himself and leaves the majority of his fortune to his black housekeeper, Hettie Lang. Seth's instructions to Jake are to defend his estate "to the bitter end". Rumours are rife about why Hettie has inherited the money and relatives are keen to claw back what they consider rightfully theirs. When another, more conventional will in which Hettie is not mentioned comes to light, it falls to Jake to unravel the secrets of what happened in Seth's final months - but he needs to act fast.
The revival of Jake Brigance, the hero of A Time To Kill, almost 25 years later is the belated and long-awaited sequel to John's debut novel. Dealing with the issues of both money and race, it is as provocative as it is gripping.
Interview with John Grisham
John Grisham talks about his initial struggle to get A Time To Kill published back in 1989 and how it almost led him to give up on his dream of becoming a writer. The first novel by John initially never made it to paperback, but the success of his second novel, The Firm, revived his hopes. He talks about how he has always been asked whether he planned to write a sequel to his debut novel; his answer has always been an honest: "I don't know". That is until a couple of years ago, when he started penning his latest release, Sycamore Row.