not a member? click here to sign up
Thrilling In The Name Of
Despite sniping from the literatti, David Baldacci is an almost permanent fixture at the top of the bestsellers list. He talks to Stuart Clark about conpiracy theories, Hollywood, the Presidents he’s met and the accuracy or otherwise of TV cop shows.
Stuart Clark, 26 Aug 2011
Chances are you wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a line-up, but with 110 million books sold, thriller writer David Baldacci is one of the most read men on the planet.
In the 15 years since he gave up law to become a full-time writer, he’s been translated into 45 different languages, had one of his political potboilers, Absolute Power, turned into a film by Clint Eastwood and inked a deal with the producers of NCIS to bring two of his most enduring and endearing characters, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, to the small screen.
“I’ve been an ardent watcher of NCIS since it premiered in 2003, so when they came to me and said, ‘We’d like to do a CBS series based around Sean and Michelle’ it was a no-brainer,” enthuses the disgustingly youthful looking 51-year-old. “They also feature again in my latest book, The Sixth Man, so the timing couldn’t be better.”
Will David be on-set to ensure that the transition from page to telly goes smoothly?
“What usually happens is that you sign over the rights, collect the money and keep your fingers crossed that what ends up on the screen isn’t too embarrassing,” he resumes. “I’m delighted though because CBS have taken me on as a consultant, which means I’ll be able to go on-set whenever I want.
“I also got to go on-set and meet Clint Eastwood several times during the making of Absolute Power, but you don’t tell somebody like that how to do their job! I had the screenwriter, William Goldman, call me up from time to time while he was doing the script. Once it was to see if I could think of a way to keep Eastwood’s character, who dies in the book, alive for the whole of the film. My reaction was 1) You’re the guy with two Academy Awards, 2) They’re paying you to do it and 3) I spent three years writing the book in order to kill him off, so I’ll be damned if I’m resurrecting him now!”
Being a big fan of shows like CSI, Law & Order, Criminal Minds and Dexter – spot the person who doesn’t get out very much – I’ve always wondered how procedurally accurate they are.