Last night I attended the National Book Awards in New York City, an annual event hosted by the National Book Foundation. My reason for going was to see James Patterson receive the 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Past recipients of this award include Maya Angelou and Dave Eggers. This was my first time attending this black-tie event, and it was terrific. There were well over 700 people in the crowd, including established authors and rising stars, as well as publishers, agents and media.As you can see from my photo with James Patterson, I was lucky enough to spend some time with him. When we briefly spoke, I mentioned to him that we had a mutual friend, Andrew Gross, whom he’s written several books with. And I congratulated him on being honored by the National Book Foundation. He was as nice and as gracious as could be. Like many commercial fiction writers I’ve met and interviewed, James Patterson was down-to-earth and came off as just a regular guy, which is impressive considering he’s the world’s best-selling author.