Now Read This! A Patterson Disciple Steps From the Master’s Shadow

“I probably wouldn’t be writing fiction if James Patterson hadn’t approached me,” says 59-year-old novelist Peter de Jonge. “I was a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson [ad agency] when Jim was the creative director there. I had just started writing for magazines on the side, and he spotted some of my pieces. I became his first collaborator.” The pair wrote a trio of thrillers together, starting with Miracle on the 17th Green (1995). De Jonge got a coauthor credit on …

Now Read This!: A Good Divorce Book Is Hard to Find

Last month I revisited my alma mater, Smith College in Northampton, Mass., to moderate a panel called “Empowering Young People Through Stories.” I know, I know: Where’s the AARP angle? Well, afterward I was approached by a friendly blonde who introduced herself as “Cindy, Class of 1982.” That made her 52, by my reckoning. We started talking books, naturally enough, and it turns out that Cynthia Copeland, as she is known professionally, has written 40 of the things, including Really Important Stuff My …

Now Read This! The Neverending Mother’s Day Story

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the most powerful gift my mother ever gave me: my love of reading. Not just any reading, mind you. When it became clear that 8-year-old finicky reader Bethanne Kelly was bored to death by age-appropriate bedtime tales, 35-year-old Julia Kelly quickly “thought outside the book”: She dug out her old college literature texts and started reading me the poetry, short stories and essays they contained. That sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Sure – until you hear some …

Building a Story – The Roles of Authors and Illustrators

Every story has a beginning, middle and end.  And in the details of that telling, we can be transported to times and places that fill us with a range of emotions – from wonder, hope and, mirth – to fear, sadness and dread.  And the best stories usually have a blend of both! My Experience Corps kids are currently engaged in “author studies.”  What you and I – if you’re a Gen Xer, boomer or older – used to call storytime!  …

Now Read This!: Carol Burnett & Debbie Reynolds Look Homeward

When I heard that Carol Burnett and Debbie Reynolds have new memoirs out this month, I imagined writing about their mutual love of fashion designer Bob Mackie. Why’s that? Because if every sequin and bugle bead from the Mackie gowns they own were laid end to end, they’d stretch from Burnett’s hometown of San Antonio to Reynold’s of El Paso. Turns out there’s more grit than glitter in Burnett’s Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story. Part of the tale …

Now Read This: Life, Loss, and What We Read

In 1995 Ilene Beckerman wrote and illustrated a charming memoir called Love, Loss, and What I Wore. It captured her life according to outfits worn at key moments, from the Brownie Scout uniform Beckerman was sporting when she went off to camp at age 7 to the dress-up clothes her granddaughter favored decades later. In 2008 Nora and Delia Ephron turned this “time capsule of a woman’s life through clothes” into a successful play of the same name. I thought …