> Skip to content

Article  •  12 May 2016


5 facts you may not know about James Patterson

Things you might not know about the busiest man in publishing.

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. You probably know he is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. Here are five things you may not realise about the enigma that is the busiest man in publishing.

1. He used to work in advertising
Patterson spent most of his previous life working in advertising before he started writing books. For six years he was the chairman of J. Walter Thompson, America’s largest advertising agency. The switch from advertising to writing isn’t an uncommon one, with authors like F Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller and Salman Rushdie among the list of defectors.

This online movement aimed at helping parents find the kind of books that their children will and want to read was the brainchild of James Patterson.

3. His first book was rejected by 31 publishers
The Thomas Berryman Number, written by Patterson when he was just 26, was finally picked up by a publisher after numerous rejections. It went on to win an Edgar Award.

4. Along Came a Spider was the first Alex Cross book
Published in 1993, Along Came a Spider was the world’s introduction to Alex Cross. Since then, there have been more than 20 sequels and a blockbuster movie.

5. He loves Peter Pan 
Patterson’s favourite book as a child was Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

Love James Patterson's books? Sign up to our Patterson Newsletter here.

More features

See all
Meet the 6 most important characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty

Meet the characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty books. Learn about the main characters and important family members who play a role in the trilogy.

Quiz: Which The Summer I Turned Pretty character am I?

Take this quiz to find out which character you’re most like from The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Meet the family at the centre of our must-have whodunnit

The Cunninghams don't really get along, and every one of them has killed someone. Meet the family to help you find the culprit.

One of Us is Lying: Meet the suspects

Five students get detention, only four leave alive. How far would you go to protect your secrets?

The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced, with four Penguin Random House novels named.

Author's bizarre Google search while writing new book

Benjamin Stevenson talks to us about his new must-have mystery and his friend's odd act that inspired his book.

Book clubs
The Last Station book club notes

An unputdownable Australian novel to read with your book club.

Book clubs
The Herd book club notes

A standout book club novel. Unputdownable and thought-provoking.

Book clubs
The Paper Palace book club notes

A magnificent literary pick for book club.

Book clubs
A Slow Fire Burning book club notes

An exciting new thriller from the author of The Girl on the Train to discuss with your book club.

Book clubs
Mirror Man book club notes

Ponder whether one life is worth more than another with Fiona McIntosh's latest thriller.

Book clubs
The Deep book club notes

This heart-stopping thriller set on the rugged coast of Tasmania is an excellent choice for book club.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles