A Time to Kill, didn’t sell, I told Renee, if my second book
doesn’t sell I’m going to take up something else. I hustled
up and got The Firm finished—it took two years. And in
the fall of 1989 I got the luckiest break of my life when
someone got a bootleg copy of the manuscript and it surfaced in Hollywood. We sold the movie rights to Paramount before there was even a book deal. Doubleday told me
the buzz was great, but I didn’t even know what that meant.
I was a smalltown lawyer. It was nerve-wracking to think it
was going to sell. When the book hit #12 on the New York
Times bestseller list, I closed my law office so fast I barely
turned the lights off.
Your new book, The Whistler, is set in Florida. What
was the most surprising thing you discovered about
that state while researching the book?
There are so many colorful characters in Florida. There’s a lot
of money, development—not all of it good—and corruption.
Carl Hiaasen is a great friend, and he’s written about it for
years. He shakes his head at things that happen there. I’m just
scratching the surface, but Florida is not pretentious, it is
what it is.
Do you read reviews of your books?
Somebody usually sends some of the good ones. But as a rule, I
don’t read them. Life is too short. I’ve worked hard and, hopefully,
I’ve reached the point where I’m “review proof.” I joke with
Stephen King that we’re almost to the point they leave us alone.
Would you want to have the life of any of your
characters? And, if so, why?
I don’t think so, but Jake in A Time to Kill is a pretty autobiographical character. As a young lawyer I was dreaming of
the big case, trial, headline, and was struggling to pay the
rent. I will always relate to him as the character closest to me.
And A Painted House is fiction, but it’s pretty much a childhood memoir about the first seven years of my life on a cotton
farm in Arkansas where my grandfather and uncles would tell
all kinds of tall tales.
What’s your favorite baseball play/moment of all time?
When I was a kid, every night we listened to the Cardinals on
the radio. Even when we were playing ball, there were five
radios going in the bleachers tuned to the Cardinals. We all
knew what the Cardinals were doing, and we would relive the
game from the night before when we were out on the sandlot.
When I was 13 years old, my dad walked in and had tickets
to a three-game series for the Giants and Cardinals. It was
September 1968 and my dad, brother, and I took off to go see
them at Busch Stadium. It was pure magic.
Do you have a favorite of all your book
I took a good look at all the hardcover books here
on my shelves, and I would say Sycamore Row. It’s
just beautiful. —S;;;;;; M;;;;;; ;
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, Booth #1717
THRILLING NEW ADVENTURES FOR YA
& MIDDLE GRADE READERS!
There’s one truth on the
interstellar transport ship
Australia: you fight or you die.
The ongoing adventures of the
bravest, most anxious kid in the
world sees Wilf take on Alan the
Evil Genius on the high seas.
“Wilf The Mighty
Worrier could not be
more charming or
If you’re the kind of kid who’s
scared of the sound of his own
shadow, what do you do when
you realize your new neighbor is a
sinister mastermind hatching a
plan to destroy the world?
“An enjoyable, laughable,
and highly recommended
title for any readers
ready for a ragtag-style
adventure-or anyone who
has ducks wielding peanut
butter sandwiches on their
list of worries.”
—School Library Journal
“Sensational . . . the
packs a proper punch,
a finely-timed wind-up,
and a terrific twist.”
Shortlisted for the 2016
Arthur C. Clarke Award!