- When First We Deceive
- The Cassandra Prophecy
- Fertile Ground
- Silent Witness
- Extinct (Soon to be an NBC Movie)
- Direct Descendant
- Embryo (Released in Jan. 1999)
- Deep Sleep (2001)
Charles Wilson: A Biography
By Bryan Daniel (SHS)
Mississippi is often overlooked when it comes to the arts, the works of
authors from our state are known for the rich and influential heritage
that many of them contain. From the timeless short stories of
Eudora Welty to Grisham's law-related suspense novels, our state's
culture and character are truly visible in many Mississippi authors'
works. One such author is Charles Wilson.
was born on August 2, 1939, in Kennett, Missouri, to Dr. L.C.
Wilson and Alberta P. Wilson. Wilson was raised in a very homey
and down-to-earth environment along with his two sisters, Lee Ann and
Lila Jo Wilson.
Wilson today is married to the
former Linda Faye George, also of Kennett. Together they have had
three children: Charles, Jr. is currently practicing law in
Biloxi, Mississippi, and Cassandra is married with two children.
She lives in Brandon, Mississippi. Wilson's youngest child
Destin is currently enrolled at the University of Southern
Before becoming a writer, Wilson had
business experience in farming and real-estate development in
Mississippi and oil prospect investments in Oklahoma. In his free
time, Wilson enjoys coaching various little league sports teams in
Brandon, Mississippi, where he lives with his wife. He has published a
total of nine books to date: Nightwatcher, Silent Witness, The Cassandra Prophecy, (all mystery/suspense tales) and, Direct Descendant, Fertile Ground, Extinct, and Embryo
(all science- based thrillers). His tenth book, another science-based thriller, will be out in September of 1999.
Charles Wilson: A Biography
By Chris Feig (SHS)
Charles Wilson, writer of numerous science fiction thrillers, currently lives in Brandon, Mississippi.
He was born in Kennett, Missouri, on August 2, 1939. Wilson is married
to the former Linda Gaye George, and they have three children. Before
becoming a best-selling author, Wilson had experience in farming and
real estate in Mississippi. He also enjoys coaching little league
baseball and basketball and has even been a junior high football coach.
His books are set for the most part in various places in Mississippi.
For example,Nightwatcheris set in central Mississippi and
concerns a father's investigation of his daughter's murder in a
hospital for the mentally-ill. Silent Witness is also set in central Mississippi. It is the story of a woman trying to prove her husband is not a murderer. When First We Deceive, about a serial killer on the loose, takes place in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The Cassandra Prophecy is set in Biloxi, Mississippi. Another book, Fertile Ground, takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, and deals with doctors contracting a virus on an expedition to Brazil. However, Direct Descendant occurs in Memphis, Tennessee. His book Extinct,
about a prehistoric animal attacking humans on the Pascagoula River in
Mississippi, is being made into a television movie. His newest book, Embryo, has just been published (January, 1999) by St. Martin's Press.
by Bryan Daniel (SHS)
Charles Wilson's Nightwatcher
is truly a masterpiece. By packing his novel full of suspense and
vivid character portraits, Wilson immerses the reader in a world of
fear, confusion, and total detail. He keeps the reader glued to
the pages, not wanting to miss a thing.
is set in Davis County, Mississippi. Early in his novel, Wilson
describes the southern setting to set the stage for the exciting events
that are in store. And Wilson wastes no time at all. Very
quickly in the book, a murder occurs on the grounds of the state
hospital for the criminally insane.
Salter, staff member at John H. Douglas State Hospital, is tending her
nightly duties just before clocking out. She leaves the resident
unit where the mentally-ill patients are kept and goes to her cottage,
which is also on the hospital grounds. Unbeknown to her, at that
same moment, a violent breakout is occurring inside the resident
unit. Of the staff workers on duty, one guard is murdered, as
were both orderlies.
Upon arriving at home,
the nurse Salter is raped and brutally murdered by a man whose face and
identity are never revealed to the reader. Though he never
reveals who the killer is, the author hints to the reader that this
person is one of the three patients that escaped during the breakout.
are several vital clues left at the crime scene. The biggest lead
that the officials have is the massive quantity of of blood that is
left at the scene. As in many murder cases, this is not an
unusual thing. The key factor, though, is that there are traces
of three different blood types found inside the cottage. There
are bloody sock prints left in the carpet and bullets lodged in the
walls from Salter's struggle. Wilson discusses intelligently the
ideas of using the different blood types to pinpoint the identity of
the killer and leads the reader to believe that it was one of the
When Judith's father, Brandon
Richards, is informed of his daughter's murder, he is bent on
discovering who did it and why. He begins to dig into his
daughter's past and finds many things that lead him on a wild goose
chase of fear and suspicion of everyone around him. He trusts no
one and eventually joins forces with a local sheriff that knows the
land and the people. Together, they set out to get to the bottom
What comes their way is an
amazingly-gripping roller coaster ride of suspense. They discover
suspect after suspect, and finally narrow it down to one or two
people. And just as the reader decides that they know who
committed the crime, Wilson throws another curve.
only eyewitness that they can find is also a patient at the hospital
who lives in the upper level of the extreme security sector. He
is extremely-intelligent and enjoys playing mind games with Mr.
Richards and his counterparts. He drops hint after hint but will
never reveal who killed Salter. What he does reveal is a
strikingly fearsome agenda of his own.
is a wonderful, fundamentally-sound piece. He covers all the
bases to wind a suspenseful tale of lying and deception. This
novel keeps readers on their toes throughout, not ever knowing what is
in store. His striking story grabs the reader and straps them in
for a ride that is over much too quickly. Never breaking a minute
to give the reader time to come up for air, it is nearly impossible to
put down. This is a definite must-read.
A Review of Nightwatcher
by Chris Feig (SHS)
Direct Descendant is
a fascinating and thrilling novel by Charles Wilson. He keeps you on
your tiptoes throughout the whole book. With his taut tales and last
words, Charles Wilson will be around for a long time. So says
best-selling author John Grisham in a quote on the cover of this book.
The book is packed with action that will bring you to the edge of your
Direct Descendant is about a scientist who has made an interesting archaeological find. When the scientist's find is tampered with,
the action begins. Cops, scientists, federal agents, and juvenile
delinquents fight with each other, all for their own secret agendas.
The long buildup to the finale proves exciting, with surprises hidden
in every page. The climax leaves the reader wanting more.
Wilson has an interesting style. He hops from
character to character throughout the book and keeps the reader
thinking that he knows the outcome when he really doesn't. The thoughts
of the many people in the book keep the reader thinking about the
different plans and schemes of the people in the story. Wilson's
incredible depictions using very descriptive adjectives and adverbs
kept me reading for as long as my eyes would allow me. Wilson mixes
many different events, such as Dr. Anderson's love life, with things at
the opposite end of the spectrum--like murder.
liked the book very much because although it is a science-fiction
thriller, it seemed as if it could actually happen. That is another
thing that I like about Charles Wilson. He goes into enough detail to
make you feel like you are there while still not boring you with detail
after detail. He brings in many ideas at different times during the
novel and some seem to disappear, but most are there at the end for a
fantastic finish. Wilson writes at a good pace. While he doesn't write
on and on either, I think the length of the book was ideal.
The setting is Memphis and deals to some degree
with the race issue. Wilson shows how racism (or just an accusation of
it) can hurt or hinder just about anything. He does a marvelous job of
bringing in the issue and then slowly and silently taking it out.
Adrian (Dr. Anderson's friend and also a cop) shows compassion to a
girl who was raped, and then that picture slowly fades to the back as
other issues take the forefront.
There are beautiful pictures brought to mind as
you read about the flowing foothills of the Ozarks. He paints a
magnificent portrait of the countryside, making you wish you were there
to see it for yourself. He writes about the giant Mississippi River and
its powerful currents and rushing (and sometimes not) waters.
People from all walks of life have their special
purpose for being in this fantastic novel. There are bartenders,
federal agents, and prostitutes--all a piece of the massive puzzle that
Charles Wilson constructs. One woman comes to envy money so much that
she dies trying to become rich. There are power plays by the feds to
keep people quiet, but eventually some people's curiosity wins out.
I think this is a great book that you should read.
However, it does contain some references to sex and bars (just a
couple). If that would really offend you because of your religious
beliefs or something, then perhaps you shouldn't read it, but
otherwise, I definitely recommend it. Evolution, cloning, and aliens
are all brought up so if any of these would upset you for some reason,
then you shouldn't read it either. There is also some violent behavior
and some people are beaten or raped. However, I think that for all you
sci-fi lovers out there, this book is a must-read. The plot is full of
interesting historical facts and many weird things that were created in
Charles Wilson's mind. The novel tells what happens when a man, Dr.
Malone, steals a sperm sample from a corpse of a man that he believes
to be a Homo Sapien from the past to clone it. When it grew older, he
planned to reveal his secret to the world and prove that the humans
from 500,000 years ago were just as smart as today's humans and
disprove the theory of human evolution. Unfortunately, for Dr. Malone,
the experiment doesn't go as planned ,and that's where I will leave
you. If you want to know the rest, then you have to read the book. It's
a great idea.
Interview with Charles Wilson
by Bryan Daniel (SHS)
1) When and where were you born?
You can click to my website at www.charleswilson.com and see all of my bio. Born in Kennett, Missouri, 8/2/39.
Did you have any early encounters with writing in grade school and/or
high school that had an effect on your career decision?
really, though I was editor of my high school paper--mostly joined it
in the beginning to get out of a lot of duties. I was at a
military prep school.
3) Did you receive any special awards during high school for your writings? (Essay contests, etc.)
Only on newspaper. I won some first place state awards for feature and sports writing.
4) Did you take part in any extra-curricular writing, such as a school newspaper, in high school or college?
5) Did you decide straight out of high school that you were going to be a writer or did this decision come later?
Much later. I had my business life for years first. See bio.
6) Do you have any significant information concerning your college years, such as your majors, awards, honors, or titles?
just glad I got through it--though actually what I learned wasn't very
good for the businesses I went into. My education was totally
structured around premedical/science/etc., as everyone in my family was
M.D.s--I became a black sheep when I didn't elect to go on into this
after being accepted at St. Louis University Medical School.
7) In chronological order, how many novels have you published to date?
including mystery/suspense tales, Nightwatcher, Silent Witness, The
Cassandra Prophecy, and, science based thrillers Direct Descendant,
Fertile Ground, Extinct, and my next novel due out in January, Embryo.
8) I recently read and reviewed your novel, NIGHTWATCHER, and was very impressed. When did you write this book?
My first one in 1990
9) How long did it take you to complete?
A little under a year.
10) Where did you get the idea for this novel?
I'm not certain. My sister had been
murdered earlier, and I spent better than a year trying to get the
accused--a powerful former husband of hers extradited to stand
trial. Finally did, and then, when I did start the novel, I used
a lot of scenes from my investigation, work toward Extradition, etc.,
in the novel.
11) Were any of the characters or occurrences in the book
based on people or experiences that you knew or encountered? If
so, which ones?
As per above, there were some cops, and scenes of what happened to me during investigation.
12) I have noticed that all of your novels are
set in Mississippi. In what way(s) has Mississippi affected the
content or setting of your works?
I don't think it has per se. I
write about Mississippi because I believe it is easier to write about
something with which you are familiar.
13) Do you have a favorite author or is there any particular author(s) that you model your writing style after?
I like a lot of authors. Hope I don't model my writing after any.
14) What author(s) do you think have influenced you the most?
None recently. I used to love to read Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan of the Apes)
15) Do you have any advice to students today that are considering a career in writing?
It's easier than you think to write.
Most people have a problem only in that they try to write like someone
else rather than simply start writing the WAY THEY LIKE TO WRITE.
It's more confidence than anything else.
16) I understand that your novel, EXTINCT, was to be made into
an NBC Movie. Was this ever completed and released? If so,
when was it first aired?
As to whether Extinct
will ever be on TV,or anywhere else, your guess is as good as mine. It
was originally "green-lighted" by the network. That means the
company that bought the option said "go ahead and start filming the
story". A script was written, I met on the Mississippi coast with
several people who had been hired to do the film,, including the
director and producer, who came in from Los Angeles to scout
locations. The shooting of the film was to begin almost
immediately. Then the budget came back very high by TV
standards. It is my understanding that the typical 2-hour TV
movie costs around 2.7 million, and Extinct's budget came in
around 8 million, a budget at which some normally higher-budget feature
films are made. This scared people. Bottom line, NBC put
the film on hold, and then let their option run out. I have had
interest from other film makers. I hear there are going to be a
couple of "feature" films done regarding a megalodon. This might lead
to another TV offer, and it might not. Meanwhile, I have sold
another of my books to Hollywood, Direct Descendant, and my next two books, Embryo,
due out this month ( Jan. 99), and my one after that, are being looked
at by several large and small studios. I am aware a lot of books
are sold, then never end up being filmed, but at least it looks like I
at least keep getting shots. The good news for me as far as Extinct
is concerned is that I got paid for it in advance, though it is
not now going to be filmed by the ones who bought it. Getting
paid is all well and good, and I'm glad that happened, but I
naturally would like to see one actually end up being made into a
film. If anything else does sell, it will be posted
at my so-called publisher/best-selling author website that I mentioned
above which has sample chapters of all of my books, research I
have done on stories, and bio, etc.. You can click on the below
to go there: http://usr.metamall.com/~cwilson/index.html
Or, as I said, you can type in the address www.charleswilson.com
17) Are you currently working on another book?
Always am working on the next book. In fact, I have finished the one that will come out after Embryo. It will come out in September, '99.
18) If you can reveal it at this time, what is the general
plot and/or setting for it? Do you have any titles in mind yet?
Publisher doesn't allow me to do that--though it is another science based novel of the type Embryo is.
19) Do you have any additional information that you think would pertain to my project?
I guess you should look at website and see for yourself if you can think of anything.
features Charles Wilson interview called Featured
Thriller Author Charles Wilson: Mississippi Mystery/Thriller
Novelist by Robert L. Hall.
reprints Thriller Author Charles Wilson Answering Questions
About Writing from writers' conferenc in 2000. Reprinted by
permission of Charles Wilson.
has reviews from newspapers and readers of Wilson's Embryo
with links to other books by Wilson.
Wilson Biography". ONLINE. World Wide Web. 28
October, 1998. Available
Baughn, Alice Jackson. "Extinct: A Review". Bookpage Magazine. May 1997: 23
Harden, Clay. "Wilson novels promoted as trend-setters". Clarion Ledger. 6 July, 1997: 3B
Patterson, J.C. "Not so 'Extinct' mega-shark terrorizes coast in Wilson's latest" [THRILLERS]. Clarion Ledger. 20 April, 1997: 3F
Pettus, Gary. "Wilson's 'Extinct' to be TV Movie" [TV DEAL]. Clarion Ledger. 11 April, 1997: 6E
ProMotion, Inc. "Nightwatcher". ONLINE. World Wide Web. 29 October, 1998. Available http://www.bookpage.com/9705bp/sponsor2/nwindex.html
Wilson, Charles. E-Mail Interview. November 1998