More books in the works from bestselling author Patrick Carman - 2007

A book deal seemed the quintessential happy ending when Patrick Carman became a published author three years ago.The former businessman parlayed his love for story-telling into a six-figure book deal with publisher Scholastic Inc. It launched him as a New York Times children’s best-seller for his youth fiction fantasy trilogy “The Land of Elyon,’ the story of a curious 12-year-old girl with a magical destiny to solve the mystery of the walled kingdom where she lives.Two million copies, a new house and encounters with more than 50,000 school children later, Carman has signed two more book deals, one of which will include a prequel trilogy to his original series.“The Elyon stuff lives on,’ said the father of two during a recent interview in the Walla Walla writing studio he converted from a former carriage house.With a Jack Johnson CD providing soft background music, Carman settled into a black leather couch, flanked on one side by an acoustic guitar and the classic game Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots. In this comfy place, the man who seemed to effortlessly convert his children’s bedtime stories into a nationally known series at 37, spends hours – sometimes days – working on his new tales.“It isn’t like once you write a really popular book that it’s a gimme,’ he said of success.Under his new contract with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – a publishing firm under the Time Warner Book Group umbrella – Carman said he’s experiencing a more stringent editing process.“It is so much more work than I’ve ever gone through,’ he said.His copies come back riddled with red marks and suggestions. Though the experience is different from Elyon, which he previously self-published before catching Scholastic’s attention, Carman said it ultimately sharpens the storyline.For Little, Brown, Carman’s “Atherton’ series, geared toward middle-schoolers, is a science fiction fantasy about a violently changing world and the experiences of three characters from different backgrounds.The first book is expected to be released in spring 2007.The following fall, Carman will release “Into the Mist,’ the first book in the prequel series to Elyon for Scholastic. Carman said the outline is finished for that project. The story will provide background on Thomas Warvold, the deceased architect who constructed the walls surrounding the city.Meanwhile, Carman is now entrenched in his six-week U.S. tour to promote “The Tenth City,’ the final book in the original Elyon series.The book debuted at No. 9 on The New York Times children’s series list, and jumped earlier this week to the No. 7 spot. It was also mentioned last week by USA Today. The book was listed at No. 145 on the paper’s top 150 list of books in every category, including adult books, series, children, nonfiction and more.Carman describes “The Tenth City’ as the finale between the forces of good and evil threaded through the series.Release of the book has been a huge relief for Carman, who has kept fans in suspense since his cliffhanger “Beyond the Valley of Thorns.’“I had so much trouble holding onto all these secrets, it was killing me,’ said Carman.As with his other tours, much of Carman’s time is spent visiting elementary schools. By the end of his six-week tour, he will have appeared at 60 schools, a promotional vehicle that not only helped him get his start but also encourages literacy among children.“I just feel absolutely compelled to go to schools,’ he said.When he returns in a few weeks, Carman will resume work on his other projects, which he expects to keep him busy for at least another several years.“I do feel more pressure,’ he said. “But in my opinion if it’s easy, that may be a sign it’s time to do something different.’

Patrick Carman