Patterson, who according to the Guinness Book of World Records has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, has sold more than 240 million books. His works includes the Alex Cross novels (Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider) and the Women’s Murder Club novels.
In one of the works he will discuss, “Zoo,” Patterson said he wanted to write a truly scary story that played into the fears many have about the modern world.
“The way we are treating it [the world], the way it is responding to us, the way technology and information overload affect us all,” said Patterson in describing his reason for “Zoo.” “I thought there would be nothing scarier than the animals we think of as food, as pets and friends, and as untouchable parts of the wild finally coming too close for comfort. I think the story works on many levels — but I love the chills it delivers the whole way through.”
With “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” he wanted to make kids laugh, even with the tough things they face during the middle school years. The goal was to create a book that was fun to look at and fun to read.
Having been a literary maven for decades, Patterson said he is never at a loss for ideas — all thanks to his trusty several-inches thick folder he keeps in his office that is filled with ideas.
“I feel inspired by everything around me, by the way stories can move people, and by the way I can move from one world, one life, to another with each new project I start,” he said. “If I ever feel stalled on something, I simply work on something else until I’m ready to come back to it.”
Although he has accumulated many awards and accolades, Patterson adds his very first book was rejected 31 times by publishers — but when it was finally published, it went on to win the Edgar Award for Best First Novel.
“I still cherish that award,” he said. “And I truly believe that it is a miracle that I’ve found a way to be paid for doing what I love. What could be better?”
Stine, known for defining horror for a generation of young readers with his successful “Goosebumps” series and best-selling teen horror series of all time, “Fear Street”, is now looking to reach that audience who has grown up reading his works with “Red Rain.”
“This is the 20th anniversary of ‘Goosebumps’ that’s a lot of books, a lot of years I’ve been doing it,” said Stine. “And all those kids who were like 11 and 12 back in 1992-1993, they’re in their 20s and 30s now.”
Stine said he keeps up with his fans through social media sites like Twitter and due to inquiries about writing something for his now adult fans, “Red Rain” came to be.
“I hope the ones that have grown up find it,” he said. “I wrote it for them, I hope they enjoy it — and I hope kids stay away, we don’t any kids reading it.”
Having been such a catalyst in the literary world for young adults for many years, Stine said his proudest accomplishments are the millions of kids who learned to read from “Goosebumps.”
And like Patterson, Stine’s first attempt into his writing career was anything but storybook — for his first book signing of his newly-published work, “How To Be Funny,” no one came to his book singing. And, in turn, he did not sell a single copy of his book that day.
“That was my start — it took a long time to be a hit,” he said.
Having worked as an editor at Scholastic, Stine was looking to write funny books for young readers until an editor requested a horror novel titled “Blind Date” for teens. While he had always loved horror, he never thought of writing it for a young audience. But when the books took off as a hit — “Blind Date” being a No. 1 bestseller — he realized he found a niche that kids liked.
The idea for “Red Rain” came about with the notion that people historically are afraid of twins and relate them to evil.
“I started doing research on evil twins and realized people think twins are really scary,” he said. “They used to separate them at birth because they were bad luck. And that’s how the book got started.”
Both Stine and Patterson relish opportunities to speak to their fans at book discussions and realize how important it is to come face-to-face with the audience. For Stine, it’s the best part of being an author and for Patterson, he enjoys getting the community exciting about books and reading.
If you go:
R.L. Stine will have a book discussion Monday at 7:30 p.m., for his first adult horror novel, “Red Rain.” The program is primarily for adults, but children age 13 and older are welcome. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Tickets are $18 for non-members, $13 for members and $5 for children 18 and younger.
James Patterson will have a book discussion Sunday at 3 p.m., for his two latest releases “Zoo” (for adults) and “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” (for middle school age children and teens). Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Tickets are $24 or non-members, $17 for members and $5 for children 18 and younger.
Tickets and information: (678) 812-4002 or visit www.atlantajcc.org