Baldacci’s first book earned him a $2 million advance, plus another $3 million for the movie and foreign rights. He publishes about two books a year and they immediately go to the bestseller list. Yet, the critics dismiss him. Thomas says, “Critics rarely take Baldacci's novels seriously. The reviews of his books (when they're reviewed at all) can be nasty…” She also notes that New York Times readers, especially, don’t take him seriously. But Baldacci continues to write, continues to sell, and continues to support his literacy foundation. But how does he continue to write these bestsellers?
According to Thomas:
Like other thriller writers, Baldacci depends on a mixture of inventive plotting, appealing characters, luck and consistency. Unlike others, his books rely more on characters' relationships than whiz-bang technology or procedural twists….his heroes are often accidental. Rarely rich, brilliant or handsome, they're no James Bond. They're awkward in love, paranoid and they have imperfect pasts. Some of them would rather be watching "Monday Night Football" than saving the leader of the free world, but such is their plight. In Baldacci's Washington, outsiders are forever coming to the rescue—which may explain why Washington insiders, as well as those beyond the Beltway, read Baldacci's books.Baldacci does extensive research for his books.
He loses himself in the hands-on process of immersive research and writing—and fans in the fields he writes about claim that he gets their world right. Baldacci reads books on taxidermy and terrorism and concocts ways to fix the lottery, and studs his books with little lessons on geography, history, ballistics, rare-book facts—whatever. (This is another key to the thriller: an overwhelming abundance of sheer—and fun, if sometimes useless—information.) He's staked out landing strips, shot machine guns and befriended snipers and Secret Service agents.Link over and read the full article. Be sure you read all the way to the end to discover what Thomas sees as “The Best of Baldacci.” I liked this one:
Best terrible motto: "Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?" From "The Whole Truth"