Simon Tolkien biography

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Simon Tolkien

Simon Tolkien

Simon Tolkien Biography

Simon Tolkien was born in England in 1959 and grew up in a small village near Oxford. His grandfather was J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of The Rings. He studied Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford and then went on to become a successful barrister specializing in criminal justice, and, according to British custom, he appeared on behalf of both the prosecution and the defense. He now lives with his wife and two children in Southern California.

Tolkien's first novel, Final Witness, was published by Random House in 2002 and has been translated into eight languages. His second novel, The Inheritance, was published by Minotaur Books in April 2010 and was followed by The King of Diamonds a year later. All Tolkien's novels are published by Harpercollins in the UK. His third novel, No Man's Land was published in the UK in 2016 and in the USA in 2017.

Although he has always admired his grandfather's books, Tolkien's own writing draws more heavily from his experiences as a trial lawyer and his abiding interest in modern European history and the Second World War in particular.

Simon Tolkien's website

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Interview

Simon Tolkien discusses whether it was a help or hindrance to his writing to be the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien; and the challenge of writing good suspense, which requires the author to slowly build the plot and characters without revealing too much too early. He also offers advice for aspiring authors.

It seems that it might be difficult to write from a fictional, outside perspective on your own profession. Did you find it challenging to not unconsciously revert back into your professional mindset or "role" of a barrister while writing this novel? Any surprises in the way being a lawyer affected your persona as author?
An important challenge for me in writing courtroom drama is to know what to leave out. Parts of the trial process are obviously boring and yet the reader must have the illusion that he is seeing everything. With Final Witness,I tried never to lose sight of the fact that I was writing a story which is only partly told through the courtroom medium. I cut the trial scenes with flashbacks seen through the eyes of the main protagonists, and with action outside the court so that the legal drama never became monotonous. Being a criminal lawyer helped me enormously, but only so long as I treated my inside knowledge of the courts as a writing tool rather than an end in itself.

Of course, almost all reviewers have mentioned your grandfather, J.R.R. Tolkien. You must have known that that was going to be a big topic of interest to a lot of people. How did you prepare yourself for the inevitable?
I am ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Simon Tolkien at BookBrowse
No Man's Land jacket The King of Diamonds jacket The Inheritance jacket Final Witness jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Simon Tolkien but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • John Grisham

    John Grisham

    Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Final Witness

    Try:
    The Last Juror
    by John Grisham

  • Robert Harris

    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris is the author of fourteen bestselling novels: the Cicero Trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator - Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, The Ghost, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, which won four prizes ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Final Witness

    Try:
    Imperium
    by Robert Harris

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