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INTERVIEW: Literary Icon, James Patterson, Talks Recent Releases "Hawk" And "The Summer House" And Effervescent Career

Sydney A. Braat

Literary icon, James Patterson. (Photo: Stephanie Diani)

The summer months in the Hamptons bring forth an array of literary events and author speaking engagements. Reading on the beach, at home, or in your backyard is a staple for locals and visitors alike. Many come to this niche part of Long Island to unplug and relax or do things they normally don't have the chance to do in their busy lives. It's plain and simple: reading is important to this community. There's one author that is bound to be on everyone's bookshelves. He is a literary icon and produces a dozen books a year. Does anyone come to mind? James Patterson, of course.

Patterson has covered genres ranging from love stories to nonfiction to thrillers to crime, and even young adult novels. He is consistently on the bestsellers list, which makes us wonder "where does this creativity come from?!" Many authors have a one-hit wonder and might get a movie deal out of a good thriller, but Patterson has truly withstood the test of time. Year after year, he produces hits that readers of all ages are eager to consume. Patterson is a living literary legend.

So, you may be curious about this fantastically creative man behind the tens of thousands of pages. I was too. I was eager to get in the brain of someone who is seemingly in every home across the world.

Your wish is my command! I spoke with the one and only James Patterson about his literary career and recent releases, Hawk and The Summer House, which Hamptons residents are bound to love.

When you've written so many books throughout your career as an author, how do you continue to evolve and challenge yourself?

JP: Trying out new things, even without an end goal, is always a good way to get out of your comfort zone as a writer. I also just like to keep working, pushing on, not giving up on projects I've started. Recently, putting a new twist on something old - like in the case of Hawk, a YA continuation of the Maximum Ride series - has been one way to keep the gears turning.

Where do you find the majority of inspiration that fuels your books?

JP: Inspiration comes from lots of places. When writing new series, I look everywhere - interesting geographical locations, things I see on the news, stories I hear from friends.

Hawk is your latest book, which just came out on July 6. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic New York City which is seemingly what the metropolitan location feels like today. Do you ever visit the places you write about to connect deeper, or is most of your work done through online research?

JP: I've been to lots of the places where my books take place, including New York. I lived there for many years. Some things are imagined, some based in reality. I remember my inspiration for Hawk very clearly - I was walking down Fifth Avenue one day, and I saw a woman with a hawk right on her shoulder. The hawk was very calm, but also, it's a bird of prey. It was just that little spark that helped ignite something bigger.

What should readers be most excited about with Hawk?

JP: This is a pulse-pounding post-apocalyptic adventure story that I think readers are going to have a hard time putting down, but it's also got a lot of heart. The main character, Hawk, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl and has been surviving on the streets for years. And while this is the start of a brand new series, it is also a continuation of the Maximum Ride world, so there's a lot there for fans of that series to come back to as well.

The Summer House is a recent release of yours and would be the perfect read for our Hamptons audience, especially for those who enjoy a good murder mystery. Without giving too much away, what is the most exciting aspect of the story?

JP: To me, the most exciting aspect of this story is the glamour and history of the titular "Summer House" itself. It's sort of an unexpected setting for a murder mystery, and one I'm sure readers in the Hamptons are familiar with. Hopefully it doesn't freak them out too much...

Who are some of the authors that inspired and you continue to look up to?

JP: I think each of these titles had a hand in shaping the kind of writer - and person, really - that I am. I read each of them at different times in my life, but they've all stuck with me.

 • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
 • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
 • Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

What does the future of your career look like to you? Have you set a personal goal for yourself or will you write until the inspiration runs out (which I can't imagine ever happening!)?

JP: I've never had a hard time coming up with storylines - if anything, I probably come up with too many. I'm sure that I won't have enough time to tell them all, but I'm doing my best to get them all out there. I've recently had success in new genres, like nonfiction, and am exploring new projects there. This October, my latest nonfiction, The Last Days of John Lennon, will be released, and I can't wait for readers to have it. It is unlike anything else I've put out.

Patterson is truly a one-of-a-kind author who never seems to have an end to his creativity. Hawk and The Summer House are available for purchase online and in your local bookstores.

For more information about Patterson and his upcoming work, visit www.jamespatterson.com.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

Added: July 16, 2020, 11:49 am
Appeared In: the arts >> the bookshelf