James Patterson completes Crichton passion project

James Patterson completes Crichton passion project

James Patterson has taken on the monumental task of completing Michael Crichton’s unfinished “passion project,” a novel titled “Eruption,” which delves into a humanity-threatening volcanic eruption. This collaboration has already sparked significant interest in Hollywood, with none other than Steven Spielberg being approached for a potential big-screen adaptation.

“Eruption” transports readers to Hawaii’s largest island, where hidden military secrets from decades past pose a grave threat. Sherri Crichton, Michael Crichton’s widow, discovered the unfinished manuscript over a decade ago and has been in discussions with Spielberg about adapting the novel for film. Crichton’s previous works, such as “Jurassic Park,” “Twister,” and “Westworld,” have been immensely successful, making him a legendary figure in both literature and film.

In a joint interview with Sherri, Patterson expressed the overwhelming interest in the project. “We have an incredible amount of interest,” he said, noting that several stars and filmmakers have shown enthusiasm. Patterson and Spielberg aim to elevate the disaster genre, much like they did with “Jurassic Park.”

Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” franchise, now worth over $6 billion, set a high bar for cinematic adaptations. Sherri emphasized the need for a similar groundbreaking approach for “Eruption.” “We need this elevated, where you are really taken for that ride like you went on with ‘Jurassic Park,'” she said. “This is that same type of heart-pumping, feeling-chills experience.”

Sherri knew Patterson was the right person to complete her late husband’s work. After receiving the unfinished manuscript, Patterson, a prolific author who has read all of Crichton’s novels, eagerly took on the challenge. “I knew that I was in the right hands with Jim,” Sherri said. “Together they were like the perfect duet on the page.”

The process of completing “Eruption” involved sifting through extensive scientific research that Crichton had meticulously organized. Some of the material was so dense that Patterson had to hire a researcher in Alaska to assist. Despite the challenges, Patterson found the dual storyline irresistible. “My joke to Sherri was, ‘Well, now that I’ve read this much, I have to find out how the hell it ends,'” he said.

Patterson, known for his relentless work ethic, completed the novel in under a year. “I really get into these things,” he said. “I’m a ridiculous seven-day-a-week worker.” This collaboration marks Patterson’s first foray into posthumous publishing, although he is no stranger to high-profile collaborations, having co-authored works with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton.

Sherri has rarely spoken publicly about her late husband, who passed away in 2008. As the CEO of CrichtonSun, the publishing and production arm of Crichton’s estate, she has worked tirelessly to protect his legacy. In their Santa Monica home, she has preserved Crichton’s writing desk and original handwritten notes, including drafts of the “Jurassic Park” books and films.

Patterson felt immense pressure to do justice to “Eruption,” given the emotional significance of the project for Sherri and her son, who loves the novel. While there is enough material for a sequel or even a trilogy, neither Patterson nor Sherri are ready to commit to that yet. Completing “Eruption” has brought Sherri and her son closer to Crichton, despite their lingering grief.

“It was his passion project and centered in the place that inspired him the most, Hawaii,” Sherri said. “It does ease over the years, but it does still get very emotional.” She found a deeper connection to her late husband through the process. “I needed to find a way to answer some of the questions I didn’t know how to teach his son about him,” she said. “I needed to know it, and I needed to be able to witness that and feel that.”

“Eruption,” by James Patterson and Michael Crichton, is set to be published in hardback by Century on Thursday, June 6, with a recommended retail price of £22. The novel promises to be a thrilling addition to Crichton’s legacy, blending his scientific intrigue with Patterson’s storytelling prowess.

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