NBC12 talks with author John Grisham

By Dwight Nixon - email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - John Grisham, who wrote "The Firm" and other popular legal thrillers, was at Toad's Place for a fundraiser to help two Central Virginia legal aid societies. As part of the fundraiser, Grisham auctioned off the right to name a character in his upcoming book.  

The honor of naming a Grisham character went to a Charlottesville woman who bid $15,000.   The character will be named after her father: John Moorehead Cloud. 

It will be in a Grisham book released in 2010. 

The event raised a total of about $100,000 for the two legal aid societies, which provide free legal representation to Central Virginians. During the newscast ony a small segment of his interview was aired, in this extended version you get to hear him get more in depth about his books, his movies and his charities. Enjoy.

We would love to hear what you think of what John Grisham had to say. (Comment below.)

Watch the video and/or read below for the full interview with Grisham:

Grisham: I'm here to raise money for legal aid. It's something I do a few times each year in Charlottesville and Central Virginia. We're always looking for new sources for legal aid.

Nixon: What is legal aid?
Grisham: Think of it as a pretty good sized law firm that only represents low-income people. People who would not normally have access to legal representation. People who are working, who are poor, who are not working, who have all sorts of legal problems, who can't afford lawyers. It's all civil, not criminal, no criminal defense. But, there are many, many types of cases and unfortunately, many people who need the help and protection of legal aid. I used to be a legal aid lawyer.

Nixon: Why is something like this so important to you?
Well, when you practice law, I practiced law for 10 years, and my clients were all, you know, a lot of them were low-income people, working people, people accused of crimes, victims, things like that, and it was always very difficult to say no to someone who needed help but couldn't pay you. And I realized at an early age how important legal aid is for a community, for society. If we don't help these people, they have no place to go. Legal aid is a safety net, it's a last line of defense for these folks. It's always difficult raising money for legal aid, to pay lawyers to help people, but it's also crucial.

Nixon: I hear your doing something interesting to raise money here tonight, you're going to auction off one of the names of the characters for your book.
Grisham: Yeah, I do it occasionally. We auction off the rights to name a character in my next novel. And it's not a major character, it's not a minor character, nobody's going to be embarrassed, it's not a bad character. It may not be a great, good character. I've done it a few times and it's a lot of fun, people really enjoy it. The truth of it is, every book, every novel had two or 300 names, so I'm always looking for names. So, this really helps out. And I always make sure the person's happy with the name.

Nixon: Tell me about your new book you'll be signing here tonight:
I don't know if I'll be signing books tonight. My latest book came out in January. The next one comes out next January. I just finished it, it will be out January 27th, a real good, juicy, legal thriller, kind of like the Firm, so I'm really relieved. I just finished the next book.

Nixon: Can you tell me about that?

Grisham: It's called, "The Associate." It's the first time I've set a book completely in New York City. It all takes place in a big law firm on Wall Street. The largest law firm in the world and it's a lot of good legal suspense and intrigue.

Dwight Nixon is a photographer for NBC12 News.

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