John Grisham says he "stole" the story that set the premise for his new book, "The Reckoning." It follows a war hero who returns home to his small Mississippi town and kills his minister without explanation. The author, who has written 40 books and sold more than 300 million copies, told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday he heard the story 30 years ago, which apparently took place in the 1930s.
"It's just a great story. I didn't create the story. I heard it somewhere," Grisham said. But he wasn't able to forget it.
"The murderer would never tell why he did it and he was hung on the courthouse lawn. And the governor went to see him the day before said, 'Look, I have the power to commute your sentence. I will do so -- we shouldn't execute you, okay, that's for low-income people. But I will save your life if you tell us why you did it.' And the guy supposedly said, 'I have nothing to say.' And they hung him the next day," Grisham said. "The governor had never seen an execution. He got a front-row seat. That's the legend, that's the story. I hope someone can verify that now that I've stolen the story and published it as a novel. We're waiting to see."
Grisham said he has a file called "future novels."
"I'll clip out something from today's newspaper and put it in the file. Put it in the file. Work on the outline, work on the idea. Most of them don't work. Most of them go away. But the file's pretty thick," he said.
Watch the video above to see why Grisham.