|James Patterson grew up in Newburgh, New York, 50 miles north of New York City. Valedictorian of his class at the Christian Brothers school, St. Patrick's, in 1965, Patterson graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in English. He first entertained the idea of becoming a writer in 1971 when he worked as a college student in a mental institution, a job that afforded him abundant time to read. He came up with the idea for his first novel during that time, and five years later, after 26 rejection slips, his first effort, "The Thomas Berryman Number", appeared in bookstores. Since that time, Patterson has written numerous best-selling thrillers featuring the sensitive, modern-day hero Alex Cross, including "Kiss the Girls", which was made into a major motion picture starring Morgan Freeman.
|Andrew Gross is the author of several best-selling thrillers, some written alone and some in collaboration with the blockbuster novelist James Patterson. Of his chosen genre, Gross told one interviewer, "Thriller writing is the single most relevant genre of fiction being written today, because it reflects the conflicts and crises and stories that we read every day in the news and that shape our world." Born in New York City, Gross earned a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University. He then joined his family's women's apparel company and later struck out on his own, becoming an executive at a series of sportswear firms. When he was fired from his last position, he decided to pursue a long-held dream of writing a political thriller. Although no publishing house was interested in his manuscript, his work came to the attention of Patterson, who was looking for a collaborator. The pair quickly reached an agreement and ultimately co-wrote six books, including THIRD DEGREE, THE JESTER, and LIFEGUARD. In 2007 Gross published his solo debut, THE BLUE ZONE. His novels are now widely praised for featuring complex family dynamics and relatable characters. He credits his time in the business world for much of his success. "The people who come to our craft [of thriller writing] aren't just graduate students, or MFA candidates or teachers," he has said, "but CIA agents and journalists and doctors and lawyers whose experiences in life inform their work."