Fans Of Dr. Dan Brown


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Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

Brown is interested in cryptography, keys, and codes, which are a recurring theme in his stories. Currently his novels have been translated into more than 40 languages.[1]

Although many perceive Brown's books as anti-Christian, Brown states on his website that he is a Christian[2] and says of his book The Da Vinci Code that it is simply "an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate" and suggests that the book may be used "as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith".[2]

Dan Brown was born and raised in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA, the eldest of three children. His mother Constance (Connie) was a professional musician, playing organ at church. Brown's father Richard G. Brown was a prominent mathematics teacher, writing textbooks and teaching high school mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy from 1968 until his retirement in 1982.

Phillips Exeter Academy is an exclusive boarding school, which requires new teachers to live on campus for ten years, so Brown and his siblings were raised at the school. His own schooling was at public schools in Exeter until the 9th grade, at which time he enrolled in Phillips Exeter (Class of 1982), as did his younger siblings Valerie (1985) and Gregory (1993).

After graduating from Phillips Exeter in 1982 Brown attended Amherst College, where he was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. He played squash and sang in the Amherst Glee Club, and was a writing student of novelist Alan Lelchuk. Brown graduated from Amherst with a double major in Spanish and English in 1986.


[edit] Songwriter and pop singer
After graduating from Amherst, Brown dabbled with a musical career, creating effects with a synthesizer, and self-producing a children's cassette entitled SynthAnimals which included a collection of tracks such as "Happy Frogs" and "Suzuki Elephants"; it sold a few hundred copies. He then formed his own record company called Dalliance, and in 1990 self-published a CD entitled Perspective, targeted to the adult market, which also sold a few hundred copies. In 1991 he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as singer-songwriter and pianist. To support himself, he taught classes at Beverly Hills Preparatory School.

While in Los Angeles he joined the National Academy of Songwriters, and participated in many of its events. It was there that he met Blythe Newlon, a woman 12 years his senior, who was the Academy's Director of Artist Development. Though not officially part of her job, she took on the seemingly unusual task of helping to promote Brown's projects; she wrote press releases, set up promotional events, and put him in contact with individuals who could be helpful to his career. She and Brown also developed a personal relationship, though this was not known to all of their associates until 1993, when Brown moved back to New Hampshire, and it was learned that Blythe would accompany him. They married in 1997, at Pea Porridge Pond, a location near North Conway, New Hampshire.[3]

In 1993, Brown released the self-titled CD Dan Brown, which included songs such as "976-Love" and "If You Believe in Love".


[edit] New England teacher
Brown and Blythe moved to his home town in New Hampshire in 1993. Brown became an English teacher at his alma mater Phillips Exeter, and gave Spanish classes to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at Lincoln Akerman School, a small school for K8th grade with about 250 students, in Hampton Falls.


[edit] Transition to writing
In 1994, Brown released a CD entitled Angels & Demons. Its artwork was the same ambigram by artist John Langdon which he later used for the novel Angels & Demons. The liner notes also again credited his wife for her involvement, thanking her "for being my tireless cowriter, coproducer, second engineer, significant other, and therapist."

This CD included songs such as "Here in These Fields" and the religious ballad "All I Believe."[4]

Also in 1994, while on holiday in Tahiti, he read Sidney Sheldon's novel The Doomsday Conspiracy, and decided that he could do better.[5] He started work on Digital Fortress, and also co-wrote a humor book with his wife, 187 Men to Avoid: A Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman, under the pseudonym "Danielle Brown" (one of the 187 items in the book was "Men who write self-help books for women"). The book's author profile reads, "Danielle Brown currently lives in New England: teaching school, writing books, and avoiding men." The copyright is attributed to Dan Brown. It sold a few thousand copies before going out of print.[citation needed]


[edit] Writing career
In 1996, Brown quit teaching to become a full-time writer. Digital Fortress was published in 1998. Blythe did much of the book's promotion, writing press releases, booking Brown on talk shows, and setting up press interviews. A few months later, Brown and his wife released The Bald Book, another humor book. It was officially credited to his wife, though a representative of the publisher said that it was primarily written by Brown.

Brown's first three novels had little success, with fewer than 10,000 copies in each of their first printings; but the fourth novel, The Da Vinci Code, became a runaway bestseller, going to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list during its first week of release in 2003. It is now credited with being one of the most popular books of all time, with 60.5 million copies sold worldwide as of 2006.[6] Its success has helped push sales of Brown's earlier books. In 2004, all four of his novels were on the New York Times list in the same week,[citation needed] and in 2005, he made Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the year. Forbes magazine placed Brown at #12 on their 2005 "Celebrity 100" list, and estimated his annual income at US$76.5 million. The Times estimated his income from 'Da Vinci Code' sales as $250 million.

Characters in Brown's books are often named after real people in his life. Robert Langdon is named after John Langdon, the artist who created the ambigrams used for the Angels & Demons CD and novel. Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca is named after "On A Claire Day" cartoonist friend Carla Ventresca. In the Vatican Archives, Langdon recalls a wedding of two people named Dick and Connie, which are the names of his parents. Robert Langdon's editor Jonas Faukman, is named after Brown's real life editor Jason Kaufman. Brown also said that characters were based on a New Hampshire librarian, and a French teacher at Exeter, Andre Vernet.

In interviews, Brown has said that his wife is an art historian and painter. When they met, she was the Director of Artistic Development at the National Academy for Songwriters in Los Angeles. During the 2006 lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement in The Da Vinci Code, information was introduced at trial which showed that Blythe did indeed do a great deal of research for the book.[7] In one article, she was described as "chief researcher".[8]


[edit] Film adaptations
In 2006, Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code was released as a film by Columbia Pictures, with director Ron Howard; the film starred Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu and Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing. It was considered one of the most anticipated films of the year, and was used to launch the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, though it received overall poor reviews. It was later listed as one of the worst films of 2006,[9] but also the second highest grossing film of the year, pulling in $750 million USD worldwide.[10] The next film, Angels & Demons, is due for release on May 15, 2009, with Howard and Hanks returning.

Brown was listed as one of the executive producers of the film The Da Vinci Code, and also created additional codes for the film. One of his songs, "Piano", which Brown wrote and performed, was listed as part of the film's soundtrack.

In the film, Brown and his wife can be seen in the background of one of the early booksigning scenes.


[edit] Copyright infringement cases
In August 2005, Brown won a court case in New York against author Lewis Perdue over charges of plagiarism, on the basis of claimed similarity between The Da Vinci Code and his novels, The Da Vinci Legacy (1983) and Daughter of God (2000). Judge George Daniels said, in part: "A reasonable average lay observer would not conclude that The Da Vinci Code is substantially similar to Daughter of God".[11]

On March 28, 2007, Brown's publisher, Random House, won an appeal copyright infringement case brought by authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. England's Court of Appeal rejected the efforts from two authors who claimed that Brown stole their ideas for his novel The Da Vinci Code. Baigent and Leigh, who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 1982, argued that Brown stole significant elements from their book. Both are based on a theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child and that the bloodline continues to this day. Baigent and Leigh are liable for paying legal expenses of nearly $6 million USD.[12] Brown even alluded to the two authors' names in his book. Leigh Teabing, a lead character in both the novel and the film, anagrammatically derives his last name from Baigent's, while using Leigh's name verbatim. A contributing factor for the outcome of the case is that these authors presented their work as nonfiction. Fiction writers often draw upon nonfiction resources for content research. An agreement decision by the court would have proved a disaster for fiction writers everywhere.[citation needed]


[edit] Planned works
Brown is working on a new novel, called The Solomon Key, which will reportedly take place in Washington D.C., and feature the "secret" society of the Freemasons. An exact release date has not been announced, but the most common media speculation says 2008.[citation needed] Brown's promotional website states that puzzles hidden in the bookjacket of The Da Vinci Code (including two referring to the Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia) give hints about the subject of this novel. This repeats a theme from some of Brown's earlier work. For example, a puzzle at the end of the book Deception Point decrypts to the message, "The Da Vinci Code will surface." (See: Deception Point) The book will probably explore the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale, to which George Bush and John Kerry both belonged.[13]

He says that he has ideas for about 12 future books,[14] one of which involves a famous composer's "all factual" associations with a secret society. Speculation is that this may mean Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was also a Freemason.[citation needed]


[edit] Personal life
In a statement at trial in March 2006, Brown wrote that while he was growing up, on birthdays and Christmas, he and his siblings were led on elaborate treasure hunts to find their gifts, following cryptic clues and codes left by their father. This is the same event that he used to describe the fictional childhood of Sophie Neveu in The Da Vinci Code.

Brown plays tennis, and does his writing in his loft, often getting up at 4 a.m. to work. He keeps an antique hourglass on his desk, to remind himself to take breaks.

Brown has told fans that he uses inversion therapy to help with writer's block. He uses gravity boots and says, hanging upside down seems to help me solve plot challenges by shifting my entire perspective.[15]


[edit] Philanthropy
In October 2004, Brown and his siblings donated US$2.2 million to Phillips Exeter Academy in honor of their father, to set up the "Richard G. Brown Technology Endowment," to help "provide computers and high-tech equipment for students in need."[16]



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