James Patterson, that relentless, successful spinner of detective and crime thrillers, is out with a new Private series of books, an international crime series crafted to reflect today's globalizing experiences.
Patterson, whose Women's Murder Club series was written together with fellow American and advertising industry veteran, Maxine Paetro, is turning to collaborative ventures again with the Private series. The books feature a former Marine, Jack Morgan, who has set up an international detective agency. To truly give it an international presence (both in terms of plot and sales), each Private book will be set in a different country and will involve collaborations with authors from there. Private Berlin has been written together with Mark Sullivan, and Private London is with Mark Pearson, a British scriptwriter.
What does Private India have in store? Ashwin Sanghi, author of historical, mythological thrillers like Chanakya's Chant, will be Patterson's partner. The association came about when Patterson's publisher, Random House, was looking for an Indian author he could work with, and felt that there was a similarity between their writing styles. "The similarity lies in terms of pace and plot. I write short chapters and spend ages on a plot. For example, the typical time period that will take me to write a book will be around 18 months, out of which I will spend at least nine months planning the plot", Sanghi explains. How will the collaboration work? "We will first freeze the plot after a period of consultation over email and skype. Then I will write the first draft, and Patterson will do the second and third drafts" Sanghi says.
How will the collaboration work? “We will first freeze the plot after a period of consultation over email and skype. Then I will write the first draft, and Patterson will do the second and third drafts,” Sanghi says.
Does this in anyway remind one of the hugely successful Stratemeyer Syndicate, producer of such titles as Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Rover Boys, The Dana Girls? Well, the syndicate started with Edward Stratemeyer, who, when he found that he couldn't keep up with the sheer popularity and demand for these books, hired ghostwriters to churn out titles to feed the market.
An assembly line production of books apart, the oft repeated phenomenon of cashing on a famous name is evident here. Sanghi admitted that the mere mention of Patterson was enough to get him onto the project, while for Patterson, one imagines that the attraction lay in having access to a new market – an Indian reading public familiar with Sanghi's name. In addition to that, having an Indian author on board will also probably help lend authenticity to the plot. Clearly, this is a joint venture initiated with a ready eye on sales targets and bottomlines.
When can we expect the first book, already being groomed to be an 'Indian bestseller'? "By early 2014", Sanghi says, "this will take less time because it is a contemporary mystery and won't involve historical research."