Best-selling author John Grisham signed copies of his latest book “The Associate” on Tuesday, Feb 10, at Reed’s Department Store in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Grisham wrote his signature at least 2,000 times and was asked if he planned to ice down his hand.
“No,” he said, “but we have used ice before.”
“Yeah, we have,” said Jack Reed Sr., who was sitting close by.
“Used to, back when we were stupid, we would have these signings with no limits and people would come and wait for hours,” Grisham said. “There was no limit on the crowd, no limit on the books.”
“They would camp out the night before,” Reed said.
“There were times after 10 or 12 hours of it when you’d have to stick your hand in a bucket of ice,” Grisham said. “Again, that was back when we were stupid. We figured that out pretty quick. Well, it took us about five years. We weren’t that fast.”
For his past several trips to Tupelo, he’s signed a limited number of first editions. It’s better for his wrist and fingers, but there’s a cost.
“I miss seeing the people,” he said. “It’s always fun when old friends show up, but it’s a lot more efficient this way.”
“The Associate” is Grisham’s 22nd book, but Tuesday was his 25th signing at Reed’s.
“We did two or three with The Firm,’” he said.
He returns to Tupelo because Tupelo was good to him when he was an unknown. About 20 years ago, Reed’s was among the first to host a signing for Grisham’s debut, “A Time to Kill.” The Mighty Daily Journal’s Phyllis Harper wrote an early review.
“The first review we got was from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the paper I grew up with. They trashed the book,” he said. “The second review was Phyllis Harper. She gave it a very good review. We’ve been buddies ever since.”
Grisham has sent a copy of each new book to Miss Phyllis, and the pair usually visited during his Tupelo trips.
She didn’t make it Tuesday because of health reasons, and Miss Phyllis died on Thursday, Feb 12.