John Grisham woke up at 5:00 every morning for three years to complete his first novel, A TIME TO KILL. Working as a lawyer and a member of Mississippi's state legislature, Grisham published his debut thriller with a small and somewhat unknown publisher, receiving only local readership in his home state. He finally burst on to the national scene with his second novel, THE FIRM, a legal thriller that sold millions of copies and stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 47 weeks. Shortly afterward, Grisham moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he began working on a series of new legal thrillers, including THE PELICAN BRIEF and THE CLIENT, all of which became bestsellers and were subsequently made into successful films. Having graduated from the University of Mississippi in Oxford with a law degree in 1981, Grisham went on to base his popular thrillers on his experience as a specialist in criminal defense. His once-unknown debut, A TIME TO KILL, was made into a major motion picture in 1996.