When it comes to books, James Patterson is virtually untouchable. Author of more than 150 titles for adults, teens, and children, Patterson has sold more than 300 million units worldwide and holds the Guinness World Record for the most No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers. The (summertime) Briarcliff Manor resident has recently released a children’s book, Big Words for Little Geniuses, his first-ever literary collaboration with wife Susan Patterson. We sat down with the couple recently, to get the scoop on their new book, the experience of writing together, and what excites them in Westchester.
What was it like to write Big Words for Little Geniuses together?
JP: [Laughing in jest] Well, we’re getting divorced now! No, it was great. We get along really well.
SP: I’ve always wanted to do a children’s book, but it took a little while to get around to it. Feeding into our love of reading and our support of education, this just seemed like a great way to get kids excited about reading and to make it fun for the adults, as well.
JP: Getting kids reading is a big thing with me…. With this book, while we want it to be fun for the kids, we also want it to involve them with language and words.
SP: [The process] was so much fun. I think it’s cheerful and upbeat, and we’re both really happy with the illustrations.
How did this differ from your other coauthoring experiences?
JP: With my other books, they’re all my ideas. I’ll write anywhere from a 50-to-70-page outline with all of those books. Here, this was Sue’s idea. We worked together a bit on which words to use, which ones would be fun for kids. But this was Sue’s baby.
What projects are you currently working on?
JP: I do have a novel that I’m working on with President Bill Clinton…. It’s called The President Is Missing, and it’s a mystery novel but with great authenticity because there’s never been a novel written by a US president before…. It’ll be out next summer.
SP: I want to do a follow-up to this children’s book, and I’ve got a few ideas in mind.
Who is your favorite audience to write for?
JP: I find the most satisfying to be writing for children…. When I do big teacher groups or big library groups, I always say that I’m here to save lives. I try to remind teachers and librarians that they are saving lives…. That’s a big thing for us, to really get kids reading, to get them involved, to get them to love and involve themselves with books.
What do you love most about living in Westchester? Any go-to spots?
JP: I love the Hudson River and always have. It’s just a beautiful river. There’s nothing like it that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around the world a lot.
SP: Our own backyard [in Briarcliff Manor] is probably our favorite spot.
JP: [We have] a gorgeous view, which is what really drew us to the house…. There are a number of restaurants that we enjoy here, ranging from Mulino’s of Westchester [White Plains], Crabtree’s Kittle House [Chappaqua], and The Inn at Pound Ridge. We also love the hamburgers at Squire’s [Briarcliff Manor].