James Patterson & Son Jack: Getting My Kid to Read
updated 11/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EST
Who could spin that sort of yarn? As it turns out, none other than Patterson himself, whose bestselling Maximum Ride and Dangerous Days of Daniel X young-adult series have won him a new generation of fans. Now, Patterson has launched a Web site, readkiddoread.com, aimed at helping parents develop a kid-friendly library. The site suggests popular favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and classics like Charlotte's Web, despite the unpretentious author's disavowal of the term. "Who determines what's a classic?" says Patterson, lounging on a sofa in his 11,000-sq.-ft. waterfront home in Palm Beach, Fla. (He keeps a second residence in Westchester County, N.Y.) "When I was a kid they made me read Silas Marner. I still hate it."
Former ad exec Patterson's own terse page-turners haven't always won critical praise, but if he's not a literary darling, Patterson is a very, very rich man. Earning as much as $50 million a year, he's a literary juggernaut with collaborators to fill in the details of outlines he provides—"I did one this morning before you came," he tells a visitor—and he usually has a dozen manuscripts going at once.
He'll keep up that pace even as he turns his energy to this new project. Of his success, he has no doubt. "I've had hundreds of parents come up to me and literally say, 'You've got my kid reading, I've named a child after you,'" Patterson says. "That makes me say, 'I'm gonna do this.'"