|Described by his Uncle James as "plain as an ordinary shoe," Thomas Harris, writer and creator of arguably the world's most horrifying literary character, was born in 1940 in Jackson, Tennessee. He led a simple boyhood as the only child of a science teacher mother and a father who worked as a farmer and as an electrical engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority. While majoring in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Harris worked the graveyard shift covering the police beat for the Waco News-Tribune. According to reports, it was there that the author first acquired a taste for the "underside of things," covering murders along the Texas-Mexico border. In 1968, Harris moved to New York City and began writing for the Associated Press. He also married around that time and had a daughter, Anne. By 1972, he and his wife divorced, at which time Harris and two AP co-workers, inspired by the slaying of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, created a story about Palestinian terrorists hijacking the Goodyear blimp over the Super Bowl. From that, Harris' 1975 bestseller BLACK SUNDAY was conceived. Though not a prolific writer, Harris' subsequent tales of inner darkness and extreme violence have nevertheless penetrated the conscience of readers and moviegoers alike. All four of his novels--which also include RED DRAGON (1981), THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1988), and HANNIBAL (1999)--have been major bestsellers and have been adapted for the screen. However, it was the 1991 film version of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS that really made household names of Harris and his Hannibal Lecter character, better known as Hannibal the Cannibal. Fans hungry for more accounts of Hannibal's brand of terror waited 10 years before feasting on HANNIBAL, the best-selling sequel to SILENCE. Anticipation for this next installment was so great that copies of HANNIBAL had to be locked away in safes and confidentiality agreements had to be signed by the privileged few that saw the manuscript prior to its publication date. Despite the hype surrounding his books, Harris is known as a recluse by the media and refuses to do publicity tours or interviews. In a most monstrous fashion, he also refuses to entertain any editing suggestions on his writing. Those who know Harris, however, describe him as "quiet," "studious," and "a big, gentle bear of a man."