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James Patterson has written 147 novels since 1976. He’s had 114 New York Times bestselling novels and holds The New York Times record for most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record. But what he’s most known for are his enduring fictional characters like Alex Cross and Michael Bennett.
In our conversation, James Patterson talked about the turning point in his career, his connection to historical figures, writing approach, love for childhood education, and his best career advice.
What would you say the biggest turning point in your life and career was that led to you being so motivated to become the CEO of a large ad agency and a bestselling author?
Weirdly, I was in advertising but I’ve been clean for a long time now. On a Sunday, I had to drive from my house on the ocean to New York City to do advertising stuff. I was on the Garden State and it was wall-to-wall traffic going five miles an hour. On the other side of the road a car would go past every 15 seconds.
After about an hour and a half, I understood something that changed my life, which was I needed to get on that side of the road. I was going the wrong way. I was in traffic, it was busy and hectic. I’m going to a job I don’t love, I need to get on that side. That’s when I made the decision, “Okay, I’m going to do nothing but write novels.” Honestly, that’s where it happened. There were other things I decided around the same time, but it was just looking at the thing going, “I’m on the wrong side, man. I’m on the wrong side of the road. I’m going in the wrong direction.”
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You’ve written about historical figures such as your recent books with John Lennon, the Kennedys, Muhammad Ali, and even collaborated with former US President Bill Clinton. Why are you so fascinated with their lives, and how have you been able to tell their stories in a unique way?
Doing the Kennedy book, for example, was interesting because a lot of people who’ve lived through it, when they read the book they go, “I forgot about a lot of that stuff” or “I never knew it in the first place.” And then a lot of people under 40, they don’t really know the story, just a little bit.
With the Lennon book, I was living on Central Park West when he got shot that night. That night I went and stood outside The Dakota with 100 other people after it was announced that he’d died, so I was there. The next couple of days I was in Central Park, and they had these people mourning and crying and weeping. Somebody was holding up a sign, “Why.”
A friend of mine, a photographer …read more
Source:: Business Insider