James Frey media blitz! Both The Wall Street Journal and New York magazine are out with pieces today detailing the author’s new venture Full Fathom Five. The idea is to recruit less-connected writers — he currently has 28 under contract — to pen various marketable young-adult books offering them guidance, $250 and 30 to 40 percent of the proceeds.
The first of these kinds of books, I Am Number Four, came out in August, and the film version debuts in February. It’s credited to Mr. Frey, under a pseudonym, who has since parted ways with the book’s co-author, partially due to his frustration about not receiving credit.
Mr. Frey is not the first person to dream up such an arrangement with budding authors. James Patterson has detailed his fiction factory in the past.
The most enjoyable part of these stories are the planned premises for Full Fathom Five books. One is about a Long Island teenager stuck in 1944, another about young love when one half of the operation is deceased: “he miserable in heaven, and she understandably distraught.” The I Am Number Four series is essentially Harry Potter with aliens.
The least enjoyable part is how frequently these stories reference A Million Little Pieces. That was seven years ago!
Mr. Frey’s next book is about a Jesus-like figure living in New York. After that, he’s said he’d like to do something about Timothy McVeigh.