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Patterson in Person
By Mary Ann Smyth
November, 2003

Having always enjoyed any novel written by James Patterson, I was only too happy to attend one of his appearances this week. The author was signing his latest in the Alex Cross series, The Big Bad Wolf. As people waited for James Pattserson to show up, they clutched their Wolf hardcovers, ready for the signature of the Man of the Evening. A few had copies of others of his works The Beach House, The Lake House, The Jester, Violets Are Blue - the list goes on.

James Patterson is a very personable man. He looks just like the pictures on his book covers, which I found comforting. I can understand the desire to look your best on a cover, but it doesn't hurt to look your age, and I was happy to see that he doesn't seem to have that particular vanity. He's soft-spoken but articulate, ready to laugh at himself and with others, intelligent and - as evidenced by his books - able to put across a point or two.

He signed books, with personal inscriptions when requested, with grace and smiles. Patterson spoke for a few minutes before taking questions from a large audience at a local bookstore. His sense of humor was showing when he told us about a previous signing. His hosts eagerly awaited him, told him where the signing table was set up and that everything was in order. He wended his way to the table ... only to discover that all the books piled up to be signed by him were actually written by Richard North Patterson! James Patterson is a prolific writer, who says that he enjoys writing, and always has many irons in the fire ideas that he wants to develop. If he should hit a moment of writer's block happens to the best of us he simply moves on to another project and comes back again later to the block, only to find it gone.

His future books? This is a busy man and if he truly loves writing as much as he says he does, he must be one of the happiest people in the world. He has a new series plotted out for young adults, using the bird children from When the Wind Blows and The Lake House as protagonists, and hopefully the first in the series will make its debut next summer 2004. Next Christmas season will see his first children's book featured in Macy's window in New York City. And, of course, Alex Cross will continue to solve serial crimes.

James Patterson's words at the signing were too few, his charm gone too soon. He had another signing to attend and when he left the room, a void was evident.

Note: Find out more about the author's novels and tour dates at JamesPatterson.com, including how to get an autographed copy of Big Bad Wolf.

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