Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Best-Selling Author Cherishes Anonymity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Best-Selling Author Cherishes Anonymity

Article excerpt

You may have passed him last week as he stood in the beverage aisle of the Publix on the corner of Atlantic and University buying Gatorade for his son's baseball team. Or, you may have been standing next to him outside of Pete's Bar on a crowded Saturday night as you waited to get inside the door.

In all likelihood, you didn't notice him.

So how does John Grisham, the most successful author of the 1990s, manage to blend into crowd?

"I'm a famous writer in a country where few people read," Grisham said last week. He wore khaki shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes. His eyes were hidden under purple-tinted sunglasses and a maroon baseball hat. "I can walk around Jacksonville without people noticing me . . . but I've been noticed a few times this year. A lady asked me to sign a book, which is fine. People are very friendly, and it's never a situation that's intrusive or stressful."

Anonymity is something Grisham cherishes. He rarely grants interviews and attends only a half-dozen book signings each year. Grisham prefers to be a family man first. His passion for amateur baseball and writing compete for second.

It's also that anonymity that allows him to provide colorful detail in his work. In his latest book, The Brethren, Grisham writes about such First Coast locations as the Orange Park mall, Pete's Bar in Neptune Beach, the Sea Turtle Inn in Atlantic Beach, downtown Jacksonville and the congestion on Atlantic Boulevard. "It's a tough drive," said Grisham, who made the trip from a Beaches hotel to Bishop Kenny High School each day last week with his son's baseball team. "It looks like they have most of the construction finished, so it's a lot easier now than it was two years ago. Even last year we sat a lot. That really gets old."

Grisham said he tries to stay away from making his characters too autobiographical, but every now and them, a little bit of him slips in. …

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