NEW YORK (AP) — Already co-writing a political thriller with former President Bill Clinton, James Patterson is now set for a collaboration with the managers of Albert Einstein's archives.
The best-selling and prolific novelist is developing a series for middle schoolers inspired by Einstein's scientific discoveries. In a licensing deal with the Einstein archive, Little Brown will publish the first of three planned books, currently untitled, next fall. The release will come through the author's own JIMMY Patterson children's imprint.
"I love the idea of introducing Einstein and the ideas of science to millions of kids around the world," says Patterson, sounding childlike himself as he speaks of "taking this so freaking seriously."
Patterson, admittedly still learning when it comes to science, has worked in an innovation of his own. The series' young protagonist, Max Einstein, is a girl.
"Women are definitely underrated in science and I wanted to address that," he told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. Little, Brown describes Max as "inventive, irreverent, highly imaginative," one who "loves to solve problems in fun, unconventional ways, much like Einstein himself."
"The high-stakes adventure series follows Max and the world's brightest kids as they travel the globe to solve humanity's biggest problems with the power of science," the publisher announced.
Financial terms for the books were not disclosed. According to Little Brown, Einstein archivists will assist Patterson with research and also have input in the manuscripts and artwork. Proceeds will be divided among the archive, the publisher and Patterson.
Einstein has inspired fiction before, such as Alan Lightman's critically praised "Einstein's Dreams." He also was the subject of a best-selling biography by Walter Isaacson and of numerous biographies for children.
Officials for the Einstein archives, which are based at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, cite Patterson's enormous popularity and see the new series as an ideal way to expand Einstein's appeal among young people. Dr. Roni Grosz, curator of the archives, praised Patterson's ability to keep readers interested.
"You don't want readers just putting the books down because they're not interesting enough," he told the AP. "There's tremendous interest in Einstein, but it's not easy to convey his lessons and his knowledge. These books are one way to package this rather complex information and present it to young readers."