Feature

Brown’s plan B

Dan Brown originally wanted to be a pop crooner—“the next Barry Manilow.”

Dan Brown didn’t plan on becoming a literary phenomenon, said Matt Rudd in The Sunday Times (U.K.). Originally, he wanted to be a pop crooner—“the next Barry Manilow,’’ he says. In 1991 he moved to Los Angeles to record an album, but it sank without a trace. “I was there at the wrong time. A lot of people said, ‘If you were here 10 years ago, we’d buy this. But this is the age of Milli Vanilli.’ It was the dawn of rap.” Luckily, Brown had a fallback plan. “I sat up in bed one day and said, ‘I’m going to write a novel.’ My wife literally patted me on the head and said, ‘You go ahead and write your novel. Run along now. That’s nice.’” His first three books bombed. But his fourth, The Da Vinci Code, sold 80 million copies and was turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks. Becoming so successful, so fast, was a surreal experience, says Brown. He went to see the film being made in Paris. “These are scenes that you create all alone in your pajamas at 4 in the morning at your computer. Next thing you know, you’re standing in the actual Louvre in the dark, with the Mona Lisa behind you, and an albino monk running past. And you just say, ‘What?’”

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