Author returns to alma mater to sign latest book ’24 Hours’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2000

&uot;Something I felt I had to do,&uot; is how local author Greg Iles described Saturday’s book signing at Trinity Episcopal School in Natchez.

Several hundred fans attended the signing for Iles’ fifth book, &uot;24 Hours,&uot; which was released Thursday. His fourth book, &uot;The Quiet Game,&uot; is one of the top 10 paperbacks in the nation, according to The New York Times bestellers list.

When he’s not working on his next thriller, Iles serves on his alma mater’s board of directors.

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&uot;We have a mission to make Trinity the best school out there,&uot; Iles said, and he is doing his part by donating proceeds from the signing to the school.

But it’s not just about money. Iles and Board President Howard Jones said they hope the signing will remind Trinity alumni of their ties to the school.

&uot;We’ve reached that time at Trinity where our children are old enough to be going here,&uot; Iles said. Three of the incoming seniors this year are second-generation Saints.

It seems the goal may have been reached. Iles said he signed books for many people he had not seen since graduation.

&uot;You would think, living in such a small town, you’d see these people all the time,&uot; he said. &uot;But that’s not so.&uot;

Delecia Carey, Trinity headmaster, said the support from the Trinity school family and the community has been &uot;overwhelming.&uot;

Advance sales of 575 copies far exceeded expectations, Carey said. In fact, Carey had to make a last-minute trip to Jackson Friday to dip into a reserve stock of books to fill the demand, Iles said.

As for the donation to the school, Carey said they are &uot;thrilled.&uot;

&uot;It’s just extremely generous,&uot; she said.

Jane Hargrove helped coordinate the signing. &uot;It’s been a lot of fun,&uot; she said, adding she was proud of one of Trinity’s most famous alumni.

&uot;I know these teachers that taught him are proud,&uot; she said.

Lisa Allain was one of those teachers. &uot;I knew he was destined for great things,&uot; she said. &uot;I feel like we’re so lucky to have him back on the school board.&uot;

Trinity alumnus Katie Freiberger also saw Iles potential early on. &uot;I sat by him in creative writing class,&uot; she said.

Iles was very intelligent, Freiberger said. &uot;The only question was where he was going to put those brains.&uot;

Retired Trinity teacher Caroline Redhead had Iles in her advanced chemistry class.

&uot;I was the one who predicted he’s be a writer,&uot; she said. &uot;He had a way of expressing himself that you knew he was special.&uot;

Iles said he is honored by his former teachers’ comments and credits them for who he is today.