Author Profile – John Grisham

You’ve probably heard of John Grisham, who is the author of bestselling books like The Firm and, of course, one of my new favorite books, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. But did you know that he never wanted to be a writer? In fact, writing was only a hobby for him as a lawyer in Mississippi. So what turned this small-town lawyer into a bestselling author?

Mr. Grisham was inspired to start writing when he heard the testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim in the courtroom. After hearing her story, Mr. Grisham decided to write a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had killed her attackers. This story would later turn into A Time to Kill, his first novel. In an interview with Bill Moyers (link at the end of the post), Mr. Grisham talked about how he managed to squeeze in writing a novel while still working as a lawyer. I would wake up at 5:00[am], and I’d be at my office by 5:30[am]. That was the only quiet time of the day… And I’d go to the office and make some strong coffee and sit down and start writing. And I didn’t know, I mean, I’d never written before. My goal, when I started the book, was just to finish it. ‘Cause I’m always starting a new project and never finish.” His novel was written on legal pads, and once he finished a chapter, he’d let his wife, Renee, read it. She gave him advice on plotting and pacing the story. Three years after beginning it, A Time to Kill was published in 1984 by a small publisher. Only 5,000 copies were produced, and Mr. Grisham himself bought 1000 of them. In the interview with Bill Moyers which was done in 2007, he mentions that he still had 50 copies or so of A Time to Kill! After publishing his first novel, he knew he wanted to write so he quit his lawyer job and started writing full-time. He published his second novel, The Firm, and it became a NY Times bestseller, staying on the bestseller list for 47 weeks. Mr. Grisham is one of only three authors to sell over 2 million copies of a book in its first printing!

Mr. Grisham went on to publish many more books including The Pelican Brief, The Summons, and his newest book, Sycamore Row, and now makes a habit of writing one book a year, usually writing it from August to November. He uses outlines to help plot out each of his chapters. Mr. Grisham is a self-taught writer, but believes his story-telling talents are God-given. He’s a Christian, and he strives to keep his books clean. In an interview with powertochange.com, Mr. Grisham said, “When I started writing, I made the simple decision to keep it clean. The decision was based on my Christian faith and a certain lifestyle I’m trying to maintain, and I’ve never been tempted or pushed to write otherwise.” His favorite authors are Mark Twain, Pat Conroy, John LeCarre, and John Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s works had a great influence on Mr. Grisham when he read them in high school. He especially loved Steinbeck’s clear style.

I personally admire Mr. Grisham’s discipline in writing his first book and appreciate that he keeps his books clean. I also enjoy his writing style immensely. In fact, I’ve already ordered the rest of his Theodore Boone series and The Firm from the library. I can’t wait until they come in!

Mr. Grisham’s website can be found here: http://www.jgrisham.com/

This was a really helpful biography I found about Mr. Grisham and contained lots of links to other interviews with him: http://shaffersnotebook.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/john-grisham-20-years-of-writing/

The Bill Moyers interview I quoted can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/archives/grishamexcl_flash.html

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Author Profile – Ted Dekker

This month, I read Green by Ted Dekker, and I adored it! Since I enjoyed Green so much, I was curious to learn a bit more about its author.

It turns out that Ted Dekker has led a pretty interesting life. He was born on October 24, 1962 in Indonesia to missionary parents. He and his family lived in the jungle where his parents ministered to a tribe of cannibals. He was sent to a coastal boarding school when he was six which meant living apart from his parents for months at a time. Being lonely for much of his childhood, he created an imaginary world to live in. He left Indonesia before graduating high school, and lived in the United States where he studied philosophy and religion, earning a Bachelor’s Degree. For the next few years, he did a variety of jobs such as buying and selling businesses, marketing, and healthcare services. When a friend of his wrote a novel, Mr. Dekker decided to pursue his dream of becoming a novelist. He wrote two novels in the next two years and decided that he wanted to become a full-time novelist. He sold his business, moved to Colorado, and starting writing full time. Two years later in 2000, Heaven’s Wager, his first novel, was published. Now Mr. Dekker is a NY Times bestselling author of well-known books such as BoneMan’s Daughters, House, and Thr3e.

His writing day starts at 7:00 A.M., when he edits the previous day’s work for an hour, and then goes on to write 3000 words until 6:00 P.M. Mr. Dekker likes to listen to loud, atmospheric, and emotional music while he writes. In a Goodreads interview, he mentions that he was currently listening to the Tron soundtrack. He says that music helps him “shut out the world.” Mr. Dekker writes with a Mac computer and in case you were wondering what the lunch of a best-selling author is, Mr. Dekker says in a interview with the Examiner that he typically eats peanuts. At 6:00 P.M., he stops writing, and spends the evening with his family. While in the middle of writing one of his novels, Mr. Dekker goes to a resort for two to three weeks and locks himself in a hotel room where he says, “I’ll write 4,000 or 5,000 words a day. All I do is write.”

I loved this quote I read where he told how he became an author:

“I studied philosophy, religious studies, and English. My training was writing four full-length novels and hiring an editor to tear them apart. I had enough money to do that, and then rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. And then sending them off, sending them off, sending them off through a agent until finally I had something like four offers from four different publishers in the same month.”

Mr. Dekker’s website is here:

http://teddekker.com/

You can find the two interviews I referenced here:

http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/579.Ted_Dekker

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-ted-dekker-author-of-the-bride-collector-absolutely-best-beach-read

I can’t wait to read the next book in The Circle Series and read some of his other works, too!

What do you think of Ted Dekker’s books? Have you read any by him?

~ Kayla

Author Spotlight – Chautona Havig

Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite authors, Chautona Havig. She is a prolific Christian author who has written some of my favorite book series such as Aggie’s Inheritance, The Annals of Wynnewood, and The Not-So-Fairytales.

Ms. Havig is especially good at creating memorable, authentic characters that’d you’d love to meet in real life. She has written every genre of book, from romance to mystery to fantasy, and all of them are very clean and written from a Christian perspective, which is something I really enjoy, being a Christian myself. She does an excellent job at tackling Christian issues without sounding preachy. From a writer’s marketing perspective, one of the most interesting things Ms. Havig has done is release one of her series as a serial novel. In case you haven’t heard of this, it is a regular novel that is published for Kindle or any eReader a few chapters at a time, every week. She also offers weekly promotions and free books through her weekly newsletter.

According to her website, she has “over a hundred books in progress– some of them finished.” While I haven’t read all of her books, whether finished or not, I’ve read a number of them, and I thought I’d share my favorites!

Aggie’s Inheritance Series is the story of a young lady named Aggie who takes in her eight nieces and nephews after the death of her sister and brother-in-law. Aggie has no experience taking care of a household or children, so she is forced to learn on the job as she handles catastrophe after catastrophe. I really enjoyed this book! The series was fantastic and Aggie was such a lovable character. Being a homeschooler, I enjoyed seeing Aggie learning how to homeschool her charges.

The Annals of Wynnewood is a fantasy series set in a fictional town in medieval England. The story really drew me in. Actually, I was drawn into the book so much that I spent 2 1/2 hours reading the final two books to find out what the cloaked creature, nicknamed Dove, really was! I wasn’t disappointed, and though I had a slight inkling of what she was, I was still pretty surprised when it was finally revealed.

The Not-So-Fairytales are not your average fairytales. So far, I’ve only read Princess Paisley (the first book in the series), and it was fantastic! I literally laughed out loud as the-not-so-typical-fairy-tale Princess Paisley tried to pick her future husband from all the suitors at her majority balls. The entire book was incredibly clever, and I’m sure the second book will be just as good!

Chautona Havig blogs over at http://chautona.com/chautona/. You can sign up for her weekly newsletters where she announces new books, giveaways, and weekly promotions. You can find her books on Amazon for Kindle and also in paperback formats.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla