One of the country’s biggest bestselling authors is teaming up with a former president to write a new novel that will be copublished by two of the Big Five trade houses.
In a joint announcement, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and the Hachette Book Group announced that former President Bill Clinton and James Patterson have begun work on a novel called The President Is Missing. The book, which is being edited by Knopf chairman Sonny Mehta and HBG CEO Michael Pietsch, is scheduled to be released in June 2018.
Knopf is Bill Clinton’s long-time publisher, having released three of his books, including 2004’s My Life. The prolific Patterson has a 16-person team at HBG’s Little, Brown division that works on his adult titles, as well as his children’s books.
Clinton and Patterson met on a golf course about 10 years ago and have been friends since. The idea to work on a book together came from Washington, D.C.-based attorney Bob Barnett, who suggested the two join forces on a book. Mehta and Pietsch acquired world rights to the book–excluding the U.K. and Commonwealth, where Century will release the book–from Barnett.
The publishers said the novel will be “informed by insider details that only a President can know.” For his part, Clinton said: “Working on a book about a sitting President—drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House, and the way Washington works—has been a lot of fun.” Patterson said he has enjoyed the collaboration. “Working with President Clinton has been the highlight of my career, and having access to his first-hand experience has uniquely informed the writing of this novel.”
Knopf’s Paul Bogaards said Knopf and HBG worked seamlessly in getting the deal done. “When you have two accomplished publishing teams working together on a project, decisions are arrived at collaboratively and without impediment.”
While Bogaards acknowledged that cross-publisher contact has been minimal in the early stages of the project, he said this will change as the book moves forward. Certain responsibilities, for example, have already been assigned; HBG will sell the book to retailers, while Knopf is handling foreign rights.