Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. One day at the Dessoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Grisham spent three years on 'A TIME TO KILL' and finished it in 1987.
That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career - and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed 'A TIME TO KILL', he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to 'THE FIRM' to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, THE FIRM became the bestselling novel of 1991.
The successes of 'THE PELICAN BRIEF', which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and 'THE CLIENT', which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in 'A TIME TO KILL', which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.
Since first publishing A TIME TO KILL in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are THE CHAMBER, THE RAINMAKER, THE RUNAWAY JURY, THE PARTNER, and THE STREET LAWYER), and all of them have become bestsellers, leading Publishers Weekly to declare him 'the bestselling novelist of the 90s' in a January 1998 profile. There are currently over 60 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Six of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, and The Chamber), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.