James B. Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. He is largely known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, the protagonist of the Alex Cross series. Patterson also wrote the Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, and Witch and Wizard series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, non-fiction and romance novels. His books have sold more than 300 million copies.
Patterson was born in Newburgh, New York, on March 22, 1947, and he received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Manhattan College, along with a Master of Arts in English from Vanderbilt University.
After Patterson retired from advertising in 1996, he devoted his time to writing. James Patterson published his first novel in 1976 called The Thomas Berryman Number. The novels featuring his character Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist formerly of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant, are his most popular and the top-selling U.S. detective series in the past ten years. Patterson has written 95 novels since 1976. He has had 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds The New York Times record for most bestselling hardcover fiction titles by a single author, a total of 76, which is also a Guinness World Record. His novels account for one in 17 of all hardcover novels sold in the United States; in recent years his novels have sold more copies than those of Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown combined. His books have sold approximately 300 million copies worldwide.
Patterson's awards include the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Children's Choice Book Award for Author of the Year. He is the first author to have No. 1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists, and to have two books on NovelTracker's top-ten list at the same time. He appeared on the Fox TV show The Simpsons (in the episode "Yokel Chords") and in various episodes of Castle as himself.
Patterson works with a variety of co-authors, such as Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, Ashwin Sanghi, Michael Ledwidge, and Peter De Jonge and has often said that collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories.
In September 2009, Patterson signed a deal to write or co-write 11 books for adults and 6 for young adults by the end of 2012. Forbes reported the deal was worth at least $150 million, but according to Patterson the estimate was inaccurate.
Patterson founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards in 2005 to donate over US $100,000 that year to people, companies, schools, and other institutions that find original and effective ways to spread the excitement of books and reading. The PageTurner Awards were put on hold in 2008 to focus on Patterson's new initiative, ReadKiddoRead.com, which helps parents, teachers, and librarians find the best books for their children. The social networking site for ReadKiddoRead is hosted by Ning. Patterson has also set up the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship in the schools of education at Appalachian State University, Michigan State University, and Florida Atlantic University. Patterson also runs the College Book Bucks scholarship program.
In an interview for USA Weekend, Stephen King referred to Patterson as "a terrible writer [but he's] very successful". Patterson said of King in a Wall Street Journal interview, "he's taken shots at me for years. It's fine, but my approach is to do the opposite with him—to heap praise."
Legal thriller writer Lisa Scottoline said in a review of Patterson's Kill Alex Cross, "They used to say that 50 million Elvis Presley fans couldn't be wrong, and James Patterson makes 50 million fans look like a good start. He has sold more than 230 million books, and his fans aren't wrong, either."
James Patterson drew varied reactions when he took out ads titled "Who Will Save Our Books? Our Bookstores? Our Libraries?" in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review, which employed the text, "If there are no bookstores, no libraries, no serious publishers with passionate, dedicated, idealistic editors, what will happen to our literature? Who will discover and mentor new writers? Who will publish our important books? What will happen if there are no more books like these?". Patterson called the ads an attempt to "stir the pot a little bit." Digital Book World called the ads, "refreshing, really. And brave." Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association, told the Tampa Bay Times that she was in the process of writing James Patterson a thank-you letter.
Patterson currently lives in Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife, Susan, and son, Jack. He is Roman Catholic.
Official James Patterson US web site
Official James Patterson UK web site
James Patterson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
James Patterson at the Internet Book List
James Patterson at the Internet Movie Database
2010 Time Magazine's 10 Questions for James Patterson
Works by or about James Patterson in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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