Patrick finds time to finish memoir

By Frank Phillips
Globe Staff / June 30, 2010

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Despite damaging floods, a drinking-water scare, and a state budget crisis, not to mention a full-fledged reelection campaign, Governor Deval Patrick has met his literary deadline, handing his New York publisher a manuscript for his 200-page “inspirational memoir.’’

A spokesman for Random House’s Broadway Books, the imprint handling the book, confirmed yesterday that the busy governor, who was given a $1.35 million advance in March 2008, met the publisher’s scheduled completion date, and his draft is in the hands of editor Christine Pride.

“The manuscript is completed, and we are now in the editorial process,’’ said David Drake, director of publicity for Crown Publishing Group, a Random House division.

The publishing date for the book, called “A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life,’’ has been set for April. Then, Patrick would probably embark on a book tour to promote what Random House hopes will be a bestseller. The governor said in his original book proposal that he would be “delighted to participate in a vigorous media campaign’’ and travel across the nation for book signings.

The book will sell for $21.99, Drake said. It chronicles Patrick’s journey from the South Side of Chicago to Harvard University, the top tiers of multinational corporations, and ultimately the governor’s office.

“He pays tribute to family, friends, and even strangers who . . . have shaped his core values and his sense of leadership,’’ Drake said.

Patrick aides declined to make the governor available, but they insisted that all the writing Patrick did was on his own time.

“The governor works on it in his limited free time,’’ said Kyle Sullivan, Patrick’s press secretary.

Sullivan and Drake said that the marketing strategy had yet to be worked out.

“We have yet to have those conversations,’’ Drake said.

Patrick had talked in his book proposal about creating an arrangement with A Better Chance, the charity that sent him to Milton Academy on a scholarship at age 14. He said the group would play a pivotal role in promoting and marketing the book and share in its profits.

In addition, Patrick said, A Better Chance had some “top-drawer’’ corporate supporters, which could buy the book in bulk to distribute to employees, business contacts, and community leaders. But Drake said no such marketing plan has been developed. “We have no arrangement with any organization like that,’’ he said.

Sullivan did not immediately respond when asked about Drake’s comments on A Better Chance.

Late last year, Patrick, in a small press gathering in his office designed to lay groundwork for his reelection campaign, indicated to reporters that the book project had taken a back seat to his gubernatorial race.

“We’ll be there on the book when we get there,’’ said Patrick, brushing aside questions about how he could find time to write. “The editor is very flexible.’’

The governor’s efforts to land a book deal created an uproar on Beacon Hill in 2008. Just as the House was voting down his controversial casino plan, Patrick left the State House to meet with potential publishers in Manhattan. The purpose of his departure was not revealed until several days later, when it became clear he had signed with Broadway Books.

Frank Phillips can be reached at

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