Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The author David Baldacci, who has had 24 of his novels published. PRNewsFoto / Scholastic
The author David Baldacci, who has had 24 of his novels published. PRNewsFoto / Scholastic

No chance of forgetting about David Baldacci

We speak to the lawyer turned best-selling author David Baldacci about his latest novel, The Forgotten.

The best-selling author David Baldacci has just released The Forgotten, the latest in his thriller series featuring the army special agent John Puller. Set in the town of Paradise, Florida, Puller soon discovers that Paradise doesn't live up to its name when he's forced to tackle one of his hardest cases ever - and this time it's personal. The death of his aunt raises questions when Puller's father receives a letter from her, telling him that beneath the shiny veneer of Paradise, all is not as it seems.

Lawyer up

Baldacci has published 24 novels which have been translated into 45 languages in more than 80 countries: 110 million copies of his works are in print. His big break came with the publication of his first novel Absolute Power, which, not long after its release, was made into a major film starring and directed by the veteran actor Clint Eastwood. From there, Baldacci left his career as a lawyer to write full-time and is now one of the most successful novelists in print.

"I wanted to make my living writing novels but I had a family and couldn't do it. I couldn't have gone the starving writers' route, my wife would have never understood," he says.

"It's what I've always wanted to do, but I practised law really to support myself day to day and pay my bills. Fortunately, at some point my career really took off and I was able to become a full-time writer," he adds.

A new career

Taking on his new career wasn't a huge shock to Baldacci's system, he says, after having worked on legal cases for several years involving hundreds of hours of preparation. Thinking about sitting down to write a novel wasn't as daunting a task for the lawyer as it might have been for others crafting their first book.

"I would prepare and work a little bit on it each day and not have an expectation to finish a book in a weekend, so that was one of the chief attributes of working as a lawyer," he says.

The new novel The Forgotten highlights how evil and darkness can "lurk anywhere", he says, "and while the surface might seem really beautiful, not just in this book but in life in general, what lurks beneath can be much darker".

On the craft

While some novelists and writers like to outline their entire book before crafting each chapter, Baldacci prefers to rely on creative spontaneity and doesn't even know how his own books will end.

"I love going on a journey with these novels and I never know the ending until I get there I feel if I surprise myself, I'm certainly going to surprise my readers - and that's not a bad thing," he says.

At 52 years old and a married father of two, Baldacci has had a certain degree of life experience. This, he says, is essential for any writer - to have experience and maturity and apply this to the craft.

"Writing is a craft and there are very few products you use in the writing field; a lot of it is based on experience and maturity The world grafts skills onto you as a writer and you have to keep working at it - no-one will ever really master it, we all just kind of practise it and try to get better at it."

Making movies

The 1996 adaption of Absolute Power isn't the only chance viewers will have to see his work on the big screen, however. Baldacci has just finished writing and producing the independent film Wish You Well, starring Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) with Ellen Burstyn and Josh Lucas. It's due to be released next year.

The Forgotten is out now, published by Macmillan, priced at Dh114.

Follow Arts & Life on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news and events @LifeNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National