• AP Photo/Michelle Siu
  • Pierce Brosnan saw something in Bill Granger’s novels, and now he’s adapting one of them into a movie.

“Jesus Christ!” said Bill Granger. “It’s hard enough making a living in this racket without some guy stealing the dimes off your eyelids.”

Bill Granger wrote books. He churned them out. They had no business being as good as he made them. “I’ve written eight books in three years,” he told an interviewer in 1983. “Fear is a great motivator—I have to pay the mortgage.”

What he said above he said to me in 1991. The subject of our conversation was his best-known books—the November Man series of international spy thrillers—and confusion thrown in the marketplace by other authors. Roger Ebert was serializing in the Sun-Times a “crackpot, whimsical” cliff-hanger (Ebert’s description) whose hero was a Mason Devereaux. Granger had named his ice-cold November Man Devereaux (no first name given), and until Ebert explained that he intended some sort of homage and compliment, Granger wasn’t particularly happy about it. A former Sun-Times colleague of Ebert’s, he accepted the explanation.

But somebody else came out with a spy novel called The Devereaux File; and then E.P. Dutton’s 1991 spring catalog touted a new novel by the author David Daniel as a “riveting, frighteningly realistic political thriller.” The title: The November Man. Granger’s agent, Aaron Priest, called Dutton’s editor in chief, and the title was changed. The dimes went back on Granger’s eyelids.