Bestselling novelist John Grisham is a former lawyer and politician. He was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 8, 1955. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Mississippi State University. He was admitted to the bar in Mississippi in 1981 after earning his law degree from the University of Mississippi, specializing in criminal law. While a lawyer in private practice in Southaven, Mississippi, Grisham served as a Democrat in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1983 until 1990, when Paramount Pictures paid him $600,000 for the film rights to his second novel, The Firm (1991). With this success, he retired to write legal thrillers full-time.
His first novel, A Time to Kill (1989), was written mornings before work and is based on his reaction to the testimony of a real-life preadolescent rape victim. It took him three years to finish and three years to get 5,000 copies published. However, the critical acclaim of The Firm led to the republication of A Time to Kill in 1992. Since then, it has sold more than 8.6 million copies and lasted 80 weeks on the bestseller list.
Since 1991, Grisham has published a book a year including The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal. Nine of his novels were adapted into films including The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, Skipping Christmas, The Confession and Theodore Boone: The Abduction and The Litigators. His titles Calico Joe, Litigators, The Racketeer, and Gray Mountain made the New York Times Best Seller List.