Bestselling Novelists

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author  of contemporary horror, suspence, science fiction, and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, worldwide, and many have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies, and comic books. As of 2011, King has written and published 49 novels, including seven under the  pen name  Richard Bachman,  five non-fiction books, and nine collections of short stories. . Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy Society, Awards, his novella, The Way Station, was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and in 2003, the National Book Foundation  awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

JoanneJoRowling, (born 31 July 1965),  better known as J. K. Rowling is a British author best known as the
creator of the Harry Potter fantasy  series, the idea for which was conceived on a train trip from Manchester to London in 1990. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies and been the basis for a popular series of films, in which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts as well as maintaining creative control by serving as a producer on the final installment.

Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her “rags to riches”  life story, in which she progressed from living on benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. As of March 2010, when its latest world billionaires list was published, Forbes estimated Rowling’s net worth to be US$1 billion. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in Great Britain. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration  she has given her fandom. In October 2010, J. K. Rowling was named ‘Most Influential Woman in Britain’ by leading magazine editors. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and Lumos, (formerly the Children’s High Level Group).

Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O’Brien; October 4, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic, erotic, and religious-themed books from New Orleans, Louisiana. She was married to poet and painter Stan Rice  for 41 years until his death from cancer in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.

John Ray Grisham, Jr. (born February 8, 1955) is an American author, best known for his popular legal thrillers. He graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981 and practiced criminal law for about a decade. He also served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990. Beginning writing in 1984, he had his first novel A Time to Kill published in June 1989. As of 2008, his books had sold over 250 million copies worldwide. A Galaxy British
Book Awards winner, Grisham is one of only three authors to sell two million copies on a first printing, the others being Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling.

Grisham’s first best seller was The Firm. Released in 1991, it sold more than seven million copies. The book was adapted as a feature film. In addition, seven more of his novels: The Chamber, The Client, A Painted House, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and A Time to Kill, were adapted as movies. His books have been translated into 29 languages and published worldwide. His other best-selling books include The Testament, The Summons, and The Broker.

Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson, October 10, 1950 in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA) is a bestselling American author of more than 209 romance novels. She writes as J.D. Robb for the “In Death” series, and has also written under the Jill March. Additionally, some of her works were published in the UK as Sarah Hardesty.

Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. Over 4 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone.

Dr. Robin Cook (born May 4, 1940 in New York City, New York) is an American physician and novelist who writes about medicine and topics affecting public health.

He is best known for combining medical writing with the thriller genre. Many of his books have been bestsellers on the New York Times Bestseller List. Several of his books have also been featured in Reader’s Digest. His books have sold nearly 100 million copies.

Michael Connelly (born July 21, 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. His books, which have been translated into 35 languages, have garnered him many awards. Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.

Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945) is a prolific American author best known for his novels which could be described broadly as suspense thrillers. He also frequently incorporates elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and satire. A number of his books have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, with 10 hardcovers and 14 paperbacks reaching the number one slot. Early in his career, Koontz wrote under an array of pen names, such as David Axton, Gerda Ann Cerra, and Brian Coffey.

Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 – March 12, 2001) was an American author
of 11 thriller novels. The number of his books in print is estimated between 290–500 million copies. They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.

John Michael Crichton (rhymes with frighten; October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008), best known as Michael Crichton, was an American author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994, Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have orks simultaneously charting at #1 in television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively).

His literary works are usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology. His novels epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of, among others, Jurassic Park, The Andromed Strain, Congo, Travels Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, Prey, State of Fear, Next (the final book published before his death), Pirate Latitudes (published November 24, 2009), and a final unfinished techno-thriller yet to be released. Forbes listed Crichton in tenth place in its list of “Top-Earning Dead Celebrities” of 2009.

James B. Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author of thriller novels, largely known for his series about American psychologist Alex Cross. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and Witch & Wizard series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, nonfiction and romance novels.

Clive Eric Cussler (born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois) is an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller
list more than seventeen times. Cussler is the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and numerous other notable sunken underwater wreckage.

Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Brown’s novels, which are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour time period, feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories. His books have been
translated into over 40 languages, and as of 2009, sold over 80 million copies.
Two of them, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, have been adapted into feature films. The former opened amid great controversy and poor reviews, while the latter did only slightly better with critics.

Brown’s novels that feature the lead character Robert Langdon also include historical themes and Christianity as recurring motifs, and as a result, have generated controversy. Brown states on his website that his books are not anti-Christian, though he is on a ‘constant spiritual journey’ himself, and says that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply “an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate” and suggests that the book may be used “as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith.”

Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney, born December 24, 1927 in the Bronx, New York), known professionally as Mary Higgins Clark, is an American author of suspense novels. Each of her forty-two books has been a bestseller in the United States and various European countries, and all of her novels remain in print as of 2007, with her debut suspense novel, Where Are The Children, in its seventy-fifth printing. She is a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets.

Higgins Clark began writing at an early age. After several years working as a secretary and copy editor, Higgins Clark spent a year as a stewardess for Pan-American Airlines before leaving her job to marry and start a family. She supplemented the family’s income by writing short stories. After her husband died in 1964, Higgins Clark worked for many years writing four-minute radio scripts, until her agent convinced her to try writing novels. Her debut novel, a fictionalized account of the life of George Washington, did not sell well, and she decided to leverage her love of mystery/suspense novels. Her suspense novels became very popular, and as of 2007 her books have sold more than 80 million copies in the United States alone.

Her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, and daughter-in-law Mary Jane Clark are also suspense writers.

Stephenie Meyer (born December 24, 1973), is an American author known for
her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition and sold over 100 million copies globally, with translations into 37 different languages. Meyer is also the author of the adult science-fiction novel The Host.

Meyer was the biggest selling author of both 2008 and 2009, having sold over
29 million books in 2008 alone with Twilight being the best-selling book of the year.  She sold an additional 26.5 million books in 2009, making her the first author to achieve this feat in that year. Meyer was ranked #49 on Time magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in 2008”, and was also included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world’s most powerful celebrities in 2009, entering at #26. Her annual earnings exceeded $50 million. Also in 2010, Forbes ranked her as the #59 most powerful celebrity with annual earnings of $40 million.

(Biographies, historical information, and statistical data courtesy of Wikipedia.)

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