When James Patterson and Mike Lupica write compelling whodunit football fiction

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Screen Shot 2023 01 12 at 5.39.18 AM 2
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Esteemed author James Patterson and longtime New York sports columnist Mike Lupica give Nestor a lesson in writing for the people and discuss their new novel, “The House of Wolves.” It seems that truth makes great fiction in the NFL.


book, writing, mike, sports, read, james patterson, nfl, baltimore, wolf, big, wolves, jim, house, moment, game, fiction, writers, week, league, movie

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

W n s t Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive Happy New Year to everybody out there celebrating we get the Maryland crabcake tour. Back out on the road we’re gonna be starting to G and a Coney Island hot dog this week with our friends at the Maryland lottery and window nation and starting the year. And I’ve got a whole category on the Baltimore positive 31 years of doing conversation, so many sports people, so many authors and books and certainly in the new format. When the opportunity to have Mike Lupica on to talk this much sports and the great James Patterson on the talk this much of authorship in books. I just took the opportunity to say yes, and yes, the book is out now it is the House of Wolves it is murder runs in the family and two great authors one great columnist one former advertising man from my my research. Welcome on fellas, how are you guys?

James Patterson  00:54

We’re good. We’re good. We’re awake, man. Perfect.

Nestor Aparicio  00:56

Well, first things first, the marriage of the two of you, Mike, I’m very very familiar with

Mike Lupica  01:02

your work thing, but if you’re letting it out, we’re going to couples counseling. We think we’re working through some issues. We think it’s going to be okay. But the marriage it’s it’s a rocky marriage. Okay, it’s a very rocky marriage.

Nestor Aparicio  01:14

I am shocked to see the two of you together I thought you’d be on separate zooms and separate rooms like Elton John Bernie topping. But here you guys are together doing the twirl. And this gives me the beginning of how the two of you meet to put this kind of thing together.

James Patterson  01:31

Well it started as all good things do in a bar. And we were we just got together talking a little sports and then we talked about an idea maybe to a kids book and then we decided to do an adult book and and now we’ve done HOUSE OF WOLVES which you know, this this week this month actually the two big books will be you know Harry Prince Harry’s book and then House of Wolves. And but the thing of it is with with with House of Wolves, the royal family, the wolf family, they’re taught that the royal family I mean, so Harry gets bandied around a little bit and they can’t talk to his dad. That’s nothing compared to the wolf. The wolf family I mean that they’re there they’re out to kill each other Kill or be killed. Is there my family motto?

Nestor Aparicio  02:15

Well, I did have a little bit when I saw it, I thought Puzo you know i i saw a little Godfather thing here like for you to this is not i and I’ve done a little research on you but I’m so familiar with sports reporters I pulled you in before the Orioles Yankees game in Baltimore 25 years ago to sit down with me for a couple minutes and I’m very familiar with your work but you’ve been writing in in a non sports in a fiction way it for a long long time. Right? I mean, I would think for someone like you to be so prolific and being at games and being at TV and being that sports guy that finding time to do this as a side gig back in the day maybe it was a priority but maybe not the first priority.

Mike Lupica  02:56

Yeah, no Tim Tim always says he doesn’t work at writing he plays writing and I feel the same way and by the way, that’s right I have to do this I really have no other skills. So if the writing thing if the writing thing goes out, but no I was I was telling him that I really started to make a mark and fiction writing books for young readers and I was telling him my wife said after travel team can successful funny let’s face it you writing from inside the mind of a 12 year old seems like pretty much a perfect fit as far as I can tell. And and our lack of maturity is one of the things that was

James Patterson  03:34

radio earlier today and a guy said it was the best interview they’ve ever done in Kingston New York. The you know the thing in this House of Wolves so what Mike really I did a book a couple of books with President Clinton and he brings a lot of authenticity to stuff about the presidency and and Dolly Parton and she obviously knows Country and Western but Mike really knows sports. So the sports part of this book is incredibly authentic all this the football scenes the stuff about the owner, somebody asked us a one of the shows. They said the mob is in here and I said What are you talking about the NFL owners?

Nestor Aparicio  04:11

You know, that hits it home after having my press pass for send it after 26 years, Mike so the battle is real. And when it comes to how sports franchise How did you take sports and wield now you’ve got intrigued for me that there’s a sports side to this novel.

James Patterson  04:28

Oh, big time. Yeah,

Mike Lupica  04:30

yeah, no, we we’ve got newspapers in this book. We’ve got we’ve got football in this book. And one of the themes of the book is if you have one of these 32 franchises, you will do anything maybe even including kill to hold on to it. And if you really want one you might be willing to kill to get one in gyms, right? I mean, the mob would probably run the other way from NFL position. Whoa, whoa, wait, no, no, thank you. Oh, no, we were gonna get into you know You know, building roads or bridges.

James Patterson  05:03

The title is all about the wolf football team and well in San Francisco tomato team, but it’s but it feels like a real team. And it is the San Francisco wolves. So that’s what HOUSE OF WOLVES is their stadium. So it’s a big football book.

Mike Lupica  05:19

Oh, no, I’m just gonna say that with all of that this. This is really a book about a powerful dysfunctional family. I mean, Jim keeps saying the Duttons in Yellowstone would run the other way. If they ran into the wolf brothers. They’re saying no, we want no, we want no part of them. And yet Jim’s right. I mean, when we found out the Prince William had slugged Prince Harry with a well they’re stealing our act. No. That’s that’s that’s nothing compared to

Nestor Aparicio  05:50

James Patterson is with us, as well as Mike Lupica. The book, The House of Wolves of a murderer runs in the family. Crime palace intrigue sports, great authors. Free for you, Mr. Patterson, a big sports fan. Literally.

James Patterson  06:08

Oh, yeah. In my house, my wife is a four time all American swimmer. And she’s even worse than me, too. And she went to Wisconsin, so the Badgers have a new football coach. And, you know, and that’s, you know, fickle. I mean, I think he’s staying at our house now.

Nestor Aparicio  06:29

Mike, with all the content that you produce, and had produced on a daily basis, keeping up with all the sports teams in New York national affairs, your national work, radio, things that you’ve done through your career, how much time did you have? Did you always have a book or not a non sports related thing for pleasure? at your bedside you read or in your or on your Kindle or however you consume things? Because that’s certainly something that me being someone who produces content that’s gotten away from me, I do not do a lot of, you know, literally fiction reading I, I stick to sort of bios and if I’m going to read a book, it’s not fiction. Were you a big fiction reader?

Mike Lupica  07:11

Oh, yeah. No, no, I, I always wanted to write a newspaper column and write books that I had no big career plan, other than that television was just an accident. So

James Patterson  07:22

what’s the big bookstore and Baltimore? What’s the hot books? Well, you got Barnes and Noble there, right? Sure. Yeah. Well,

Nestor Aparicio  07:29

we got those everywhere, right. Gina shot,

James Patterson  07:33

listening, whatever you head over to Barnes and Noble and you just tell them this is this is where you heard about the book.

Nestor Aparicio  07:39

I want to tell you stories. I’ve written two books on the Ravens they’ve won two championships, Purple Rain, one purple rain to self published the second time and I had, so this is a really sad story. Because there’s 10 years ago, like sort of this month that it all happens I write this book, I went to an Ocean City Convention with 15,000 rabid raving fans three months after they won the Super Bowl. I had a beautiful book sort of look not as beautiful as your book of course, but and I had it at this fan convention and fan after fan walk by me and my best Baltimore accent I’ll say it book a card, no pictures. And, and I undersold tremendously what I thought. I thought it’s a great story. I got inside stuff. Harbaugh sat with me be shot. He sat with me. I spent four days with Flacco great, great stories. And people had stopped reading and as a writer, as a journalist, as a newspaper reporter, I broke my heart. This was 10 years ago that Trump got elected, we can talk about that. But over the last 10 years of keeping the spirit of this alive, and Mr. Patterson, I know you put a lot of effort into this too, with kids reading and literacy and why reading a book isn’t as popular as maybe it was when we were young people.

James Patterson  08:55

No, but it’s still pretty popular. I’m doing okay.

Nestor Aparicio  09:00

But you always want your recruiting people. Those people that say I read a book and however long we had a president that bragged about not reading a book as well. Oh, God was

James Patterson  09:10

a big fan. That was a big fan. He’s a big reader of our books. And he went he read us a wolf. He

Nestor Aparicio  09:18

loves you to fiction. You do fiction? Well, you really really do. You betcha. But getting young people to read and getting that

James Patterson  09:27

that’s a big deal. That is a big deal. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  09:30

Someone that hasn’t read a book in five years to buy this book and say, I’m gonna dive

James Patterson  09:36

into I hear over and over and over and over and over again. Thank you so much. You got you got my husband reading again. And and I guarantee you I don’t care who you are. If you read any books, you will enjoy you’ll you’ll get a kick out of this. In fact, I will say this. If you read this book and you don’t like it, I’ll go to your house. I’ll sit on the front porch and I’ll eat this book page but here I am. With this book

Mike Lupica  10:00

now, not your house so because I remember when you accosted me at that game that time and I I mean, I don’t make a big thing I did get a restraining order. Feels a little Yeah. knows I’m only kidding, you know, I’m always, you know,

Nestor Aparicio  10:16

you’re a big kid or I expected to get to get kicked on when you came on James Patterson, Mike Lupica here, the book is House of Wolves. I hope everybody goes out and checks it out. And while I have writers here, and I aspire to be a decent one myself all these years, Mike, what have you learned from working with Jim about on this as far as the art of what he does as well as anybody in the world?

Mike Lupica  10:39

Well, every I did, he wants an interview. I have to embarrass him by being serious because he doesn’t expect that for me. It’s like getting a masterclass in storytelling working with this man. The story better mood, he is the sworn enemy of backstory. You just keep pushing the story, but and one of Jim’s big things is movie moments. And the more movie moments you can produce in a book, the better and if you read our books, you could see so many chapters and with a night it’s not a cliffhanger. It’s like oh my God, what’s what’s going to happen next. And that’s the beauty of House of Wolves that that I guarantee once you start this book, you won’t start because it’s it’s a fad stop. It’s a family story. It’s a football story. It’s a newspaper story, but it’s also a murder mystery.

James Patterson  11:26

And you know this working together as nobody you know, almost every television show every movie you watch. It’s usually a couple of writers so it’s not like some weird thing. And like is with all due respect to President Clinton and Dolly Parton or whatever Mike is the best writer I’ve worked with Dolly writes better lyrics I must say.

Nestor Aparicio  11:47

I’m never going to disparage dolly here after New Year’s Eve. And that was just Kudo. Standing ovation from Jim what’s a movie moment? And Mike refer to that? That what if I were to write with you and said movie moment? What am I looking for in a movie moment? Ah,

James Patterson  12:01

look, you can, you can make a big living if you can write beginnings and ends to Chapter chapters. If you write middles menu in the Nobel Prize, beginnings, middles and ends, I, you know, it’s I’ll give you an example. We don’t talk about this much. And thank God, the kid, the bills, kid is fine. But in our book, and it’s actually eerie, a guy dies on the field. And at first were like, Oh, my God, this is this is messed up. And fortunately, that young guys is okay. But I mean that there’s a movie moment in the book. This mention one of the players on the field.

Nestor Aparicio  12:40

You mentioned ownership and leadership and integrity and

James Patterson  12:45

leadership together.

Nestor Aparicio  12:48

You know, Mike, you cover this in a serious nature forever. You’re the guy Tuesday morning, last week when this incident happened, that would be saying, who did what, why all of that when you’re putting a project together like this, and I’m just thinking about when you’re writing, because I read Leibovich his book, you know, after being embedded, and probably the last sports book I’ve read was actually that one. And I thought it was a wonderful book, because it really did sort of peel back a lot of latitude and what you could do in writing about sports as far as what they’ve already got, I’m 38 miles from Washington, DC and their franchise at this point as well. There’s not much that wouldn’t be believable, right? Like to say a player would die on the field. That’s when you’re writing this is fully believable.

Mike Lupica  13:32

No, I tell. The reason that scene is in our book is the one players ever died on the field check us so the Detroit Lions in the 1970s. My wife is a little girl was at that game, her father, they lived about an hour away in Ohio. And it was a big thing. And he took her to her first NFL game. And they found out on the way home that Chuck Hughes had died of a heart attack during the game because all they saw was him get carted off. And I when we were putting the book up on its legs, I said, you know, we should have a scene like that in this book. And then last Monday night when then actually, when we saw that play out, there’s a couple of paragraphs in our book that describe exactly what you saw, including the game being stopped at the time. It was a little spooky. It was really fun. It was

James Patterson  14:18

it was it’s got a lot of funny dialogue in it. But it does have that authenticity, which is what I think a lot of people look for in books, and Mike brings that because he’s seen it all. And when we all we both of us know a lot of owners. I know a lot of owners because I live in Florida and I’m rich, and they’re all down.

Nestor Aparicio  14:35

It’s true. You’ll do nothing to disparage the union. They’re

James Patterson  14:40

the unions, the union of owners. Oh, yeah, there were a couple of them that I think need a little work.

Nestor Aparicio  14:50

At least you can tell him it’s fiction. Leibovich Candela Matt

James Patterson  14:53

from the NFL NFL should love this book because it brings women in totally women love Have this both of our wives who are tough readers. And they both said it’s the best book that either one of us has ever done either separately by ourselves or with with one another. It really is a fun read. It’s a fun read, I guarantee

Mike Lupica  15:13

and even we couldn’t make up Daniel Snyder. I mean, we were trying to keep up with the bizarreness of NFL owners. And then you got this guy wants the Washington commanders that they’re going to run out of the league on a rail.

Nestor Aparicio  15:27

Well, maybe not on a rail it was on a rail run out like lubricant is here James Patterson is here the book is out so I must ask this fate was this written to be a movie so screenplay already out there? Rajim

James Patterson  15:42

not yet the rights are still available so anybody that’s watching this co creative artists and say I got big money and you know we’re gonna there’s a lot of interest in it, but we haven’t sold it yet.

Nestor Aparicio  15:53

But Mike, you envision this maybe even on the writing aspect, you see it in a cinematic way. You see this come to life as you write it, right. And that way.

Mike Lupica  16:03

The gym will say what do you really see as as Jenny Wolf and we always say Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron.

James Patterson  16:13

Deepika couple,

Mike Lupica  16:14

just to pick a couple. No, it’s, it’s very, it’s very cinematic because again, it has football but it’s really not a football book. It’s it’s a dysfunctional family book with a great lead character and Jenny Wolf,

James Patterson  16:28

then NFL don’t it’s all good. Women are gonna love this and they’re gonna love the NFL because of this book Absolutely.

Nestor Aparicio  16:34

Doesn’t have a commissioner. Oh, yeah. I want to I want to fantasize what a lupa commissioner would look like in a dysfunctional League, not a functional League, you know,

Mike Lupica  16:48

not a fan

James Patterson  16:50

challenge. And so I know you don’t read a lot of fiction, read this book, read 50 pages, and then you can you can tell the audience tomorrow what you thought,

Nestor Aparicio  16:58

you know, the only time I would read a book like this would be exactly where you want me to read it on a beach at a pool away from it all because I like to get away from it all. And I might just do that. Like, I won’t ask you.

James Patterson  17:10

I mean, your house.

Nestor Aparicio  17:12

I don’t spend a lot of time there anymore. You know what I mean? I try to try to get in now. That was that’s a newspaper saying,

James Patterson  17:19

Hey, give me a way to read fiction if you get to get you into it. You know, don’t get

Nestor Aparicio  17:23

me studies to read guys like lubic on the throne as my dad would say. So you know what I mean? I’m no stranger to the newspaper side. Mike for you with the owners in seriousness of what you mentioned, Daniel Snyder. I’m assuming there’s some little Jerry Jones sort of thing going on as well. I mean, all of these I’ve been to the owners meetings the last 15 years now that I’ve been thrown out of the media I guess I won’t, but I’ve been around these guys what for you? What’s the most egregious thing you feel like with the league? I mean, if you had a Howard Cosell or Bob Costas moment with CTE or what happened last week that that is there a jump the shark moment for the Leaguers it really gladiatorial, we’re all gonna love

James Patterson  18:03

it. NFL should be praised for what happened this week. That’s and we’ve said, if you if you went down in a hospital, that same guy, his chances were better going down in that stadium than they would be if he went down in a hospital.

Mike Lupica  18:17

That’s your I wrote a column last Sunday. Jim’s entirely right because it came out of a conversation we have. We know all the things that are wrong with the NFL, we do everybody knows some people in outer space, know how slow they were on CTE, all that stuff. But what they did do a week ago, last Monday, was they save that kid’s life and in gyms, right? He could have fallen down in the lobby of a hotel and not gotten to a hospital and not gotten treatment as well as he got in the moment where every second could have cost him his life. That team of medical professionals, that’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in sports. Well, there

Nestor Aparicio  18:54

you go. So there’s there’s the good side, the dark side, however, in trying to delve into that for the book, is there something that worries you about the league?

Mike Lupica  19:03

Now they just lose touch with their fans, they forget that they are caretakers of a public trust, if they own these teeth. I went to college with John Merrow. And even the Giants lost their way through here. I did Boston College. Yeah. And they the Giants won two Super Bowls, and then lost their way. And then they finally found their way back to the right coach. And now they’re back of the playoffs.

Nestor Aparicio  19:27

Well, here we have Lamar Jackson and money and injuries and we have our own purple intrigue around here. Good luck with the book. I hope it turns into a movie. I hope that you move into a better neighborhood Jim and Mike that you can join him at some point. The book is a House of Wolves murder runs in the family football palace intrigue to great writers. And it’s it’s been an honor and a pleasure to have both of you on and please come back when you write up part two.

Mike Lupica  19:55

All right, good to talk to you again. Nestor.

Nestor Aparicio  19:57

Thank you very much. Mike Lupica honored sports right I spent many a Sunday morning with him and Ryan and our dear friend from Baltimore, John Saunders amongst many other friends and the old timers at the at ESPN on Sunday mornings and the sports reporters as well as James Patterson, I am Nestor. We are WNS da 5070, Towson Baltimore. And we never stopped talking books and novels and fun and sports and Baltimore positive.com. Stay with us.

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