March 29, 2011

Mysteries, thrillers and . . . falling in love

Behind the Book by
Share this Article:

I'm James Patterson and I write thrillers such as Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls.

Having said that, let me tell you a love story.

Around 18 months ago, I had a glimmer of an idea to write a novel called Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas.

The story begins with a book editor who has fallen in love for the first time in her life, and she has fallen hard. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, the man walks out on her. A day later, she receives a diary and the following note from her lover:

Dear Katie, No words or actions can begin to tell you what I'm feeling now. I'm so sorry about what I allowed to happen between us. It was all my fault, of course. I take all the blame. You are perfect, wonderful, beautiful. It's not you. It's me. Maybe this diary will explain things better than I ever could. If you have the heart, read it. It's about my wife and son, and me. I will warn you, though, there will be parts that may be hard for you to read. I never expected to fall in love with you, but I did. Matt

Katie can't help herself; she starts the diary. And reading it changes her life. To be totally honest, the prospect of writing this novel scared me, because it was a love story actually two love stories and I had never even written one love story before. I remember that it was a Monday and that I happened to be in the offices of Little, Brown in New York City. I was meeting with the publisher and the editor in chief and suddenly I found myself saying, "Let me tell you a story that I can't get out of my head. I must warn you though, it's not a thriller." I told the story I had in mind for Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, and when I finished, both of these somewhat tough (though tender on the inside) New Yorkers were crying.

At this point, I knew I had to try to get the story down on paper if I could.

For the next 10 months, every day, I continued to be scared, but I also was as excited as I had ever been while writing a book. I customarily write in my office, but I wrote Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas in the bedroom. I usually write six or seven drafts of a novel, but I wrote 11 drafts for Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas.

When I was finished, I gave it to my wife to read. When she came out of our bedroom about four hours later, she was crying.

I gave it to friends to read, and they cried. And then, this spring, a bookseller got hold of a reader's copy and sent me this e-mail. He wrote: "I'm an Irish man, and I don't cry. I never cry. I just finished Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, and I cried for the first time in 20 years. Thank you." Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas comes out on July 16. Take it to the beach. But you better bring a handkerchief.

Former advertising executive James Patterson has become a one-man publishing powerhouse, with a string of best-selling novels, including the Alex Cross thrillers and a new mystery series, launched with the spring release of 1st to Die. His latest novel, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is a romantic departure from his earlier work. Patterson lives with his wife, Sue, and their young son. They have homes in New York and Florida.

James Patterson

Get the Book

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

By James Patterson
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316969444

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our newsletter to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.

Recent Features