Don't compromise yourself - you're all you have.
In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.
There are few things in life worse than a long-winded lawyer.
Life on the run was filled with dreams, some at night during sleep, real dreams, and some when the mind was awake but drifting. Most were terrifying, the nightmares of the shadows growing bolder and larger. Others were pleasant wishes of a rosy future, free of the past. These were rare, Patrick had learned. Life on the run was life in the past. There was no closure
He'd had his career, his triumphs. Success had brought him nothing but misery; he couldn't handle it. Success had thrown him in the gutter
One thing you really have to watch as a writer is getting on a soapbox or pulpit about anything. You don't want to alienate readers.
I was a lawyer for 10 years - a short time, but it molded me into who I am. My clients were little people fighting big corporations, so it was a natural thing to not only represent the little guy but also to pull for him - it's the American way.
I learned that lesson a long time ago. When you write popular fiction you're going to get bashed by critics.
Quite often I can be in a bookshop, standing beneath a great big picture of myself and paying for a book with a credit card clearly marked John Grisham, yet no one recognises me. I often say I'm a famous author in a country where no one reads.
I start every morning at 7 or 7:30 in the same place - my little office where it's dark and cozy - with a cup of the same really strong black coffee. It's my little cocoon. There's no phone or fax or Internet. And no music.
My clients were always poor folks, working folks, people who were in trouble and couldn't afford to pay a whole lot. I found it very difficult to say no to somebody who needed help, so most of my work turned out to be pro bono. It didn't start out that way, but it turned out that way because I never got paid.
I always do book signings with the same blue pen. That way, if I add a personalised message to a book I've already signed, it'll be in the same colour as my signature.
Best-selling writers should go to bookstores to say thanks to the booksellers, to meet fans, sign autographs, sign books, talk, whatever.
I earned my first steady paycheck watering rose bushes at a nursery for a dollar an hour.
Twenty years on, the books are still fun to write and I've still got lots of stories I want to tell, mainly about social injustice and people chewed up by the system.
Writing was not a childhood dream of mine. I do not recall longing to write as a student. I wasn't sure how to start.
And that's the mission of The Innocence Project in New York, is to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted, and also work from a policy angle with Congress and state legislatures to prevent future wrongful convictions.
The Deep South has the friendliest people in the world. They will do anything for you. They also want to know what's going on and won't hesitate to ask questions.
Writing's still the most difficult job I've ever had - but it's worth it.
I've tried writing with music on, but I find it distracting.