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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Interview with New York City Mayor Eric Adams; Interview with Singer Meghan Trainor and James Patterson. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 23, 2022 - 19:00   ET




My guests tonight have taken very different paths to prominence. A cop turned big city mayor, a songwriter turned pop music sensation, and one of the best-selling authors of all time.

Up first, New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Less than one year on the job but dealing with more than his fair share of problems. Migrants bussed to the Big Apple and increase on homelessness, and crime stats that have many New Yorkers scared to ride the subway.


WALLACE: You're saying that the crime problem in this city is more perception than reality?


WALLACE: Then pop singer Meghan Trainor tells me about her first album since becoming a new mom and how her breakthrough single changed everything.


MEGHAN TRAINOR, SINGER: It was like watching the greatest movie ever and I was right there on the screen.


WALLACE: And later, best-selling author James Patterson on his rivalry with Stephen King, and his controversial writing process.


WALLACE: I will say that in your autobiography, you seem a little defensive.

I worked a lot on this question, Alex. Shania, don't do that. Are you always like this? Are you saying parents are wrong?


WALLACE: Will you come back? HENRY WINKLER, ACTOR: Yes, of course I will.



WALLACE: New York City Mayor Eric Adams has led the nation's biggest city for some 10 months now. A 22-year police veteran, he came into the job promising to fix decades old problems. We talked about those but we started with the new issue he's dealing with, immigration.


WALLACE: New York City has seen a flood of migrants since April, thousands of them. Venezuelans escaping the economic collapse in that country. It so bad that you recently had to declare a state of emergency. What do you think is behind the surge of people coming into the country illegally and ending up here in New York City?

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK: It's clearly a crisis created by human hands. The manner in which it was carried out by particularly the governor of Texas, Governor Abbott, his refusal really just to communicate, coordinate in April. This started we discovered the buses were coming and we immediately jumped into action and as of to date, we have about 20,500 that have come through our care, about 15,500 are still in our care.

WALLACE: But the Democratic mayor of El Paso has since August bused 11,000 people who came into the country illegally here to New York City. So it's not just the Republican governor, it's also the Democratic mayor.

ADAMS: And that's very interesting because what happened was the governor of Texas put in place the blueprint and others started to duplicate and copy that blueprint. And that's what I stated when we first discovered. This has become a method to use to really politicize what is happening to asylum seekers and migrants.

I spoke to the governor -- the mayor of El Paso and sent a team down to Texas. What was different here is that the Governor Abbott did not want to communicate and actually lies, stating he did communicate or we did not reach out which was untrue.

WALLACE: What I haven't heard you talk about is Joe Biden and the fact is, since he took office, the illegal immigration problem in this country has exploded. More than two million arrests at the border in a single year for the first time in our history and obviously the people that weren't arrested and got through a lot worse, you know, more than that, so I guess the question is, what responsibility does President Biden bear for this influx of migrants first of all over the border and then ending up in places like New York City?

ADAMS: And I want to be clear. As we were talking about, I didn't indicate what party Governor Abbott belonged to. I thought his action was wrong. This is a humanitarian crisis that was created by human hands and I stated over and over again that this national problem must be settled on a national level.


We must have a real decompression strategy. We must make sure the entire country absorb what is happening with migrant and asylum seekers. I believe the president responded to that and ensured that we're looking at a decompression strategy that's going to start in Mexico, and I think it's the right thing to do the way the governor -- the way the president has started.

WALLACE: But, Mayor, if you look at the record and, you know, first of all, President Biden's significantly scaled back on enforcement of unaccompanied minors coming across the border, he has now ended the Remain in Mexico policy in which asylum seekers had to wait for their asylum adjudication in Mexico as opposed to in this country, what responsibility does Joe Biden bear for this flood of illegal immigration?

ADAMS: I think it's a bipartisan responsibility. We must sit down at the table and have a clear pathway for those seeking to experience the American dream, and I think we have failed to do that for generations.

WALLACE: I'm going to try just one more time. What grade would you give Joe Biden for his immigration policy to this point in 2022, almost two years later?

ADAMS: I'm a terrible grader.


ADAMS: I think I give our entire bipartisanship, we have failed to do it properly for generations and to state that merely this president has failed to do so is just inadequate. We all must come to the table and decide a pathway for those who have legal citizenship in this country and ensure those who are dangerous to this country are not coming into this country because some people will exploit that.

WALLACE: But I just want to talk about your political standing because you did come in and people thought, well, this is kind of the new raging moderate in the Democratic Party. You've taken some hits since then. I want to put up some polls. In January 63 percent of New Yorkers had a favorable view of you while 20 percent said unfavorable. But in the most recent poll, 29 percent say you're doing a good or excellent job as mayor while 64 percent say fair or poor. Those numbers have just flipped.

ADAMS: No, they didn't. Think about it for a moment. Look at that poll. Tell me when fair is failure.

WALLACE: Well --


WALLACE: That's -- so you're saying fair is OK?

ADAMS: I'm saying fair as people stated that when that poll came out, hey, this guy has been in office for a few months with decades of problem and so the pollster took poor and fair and put it together. If you're in New York and the overwhelming number of New Yorkers are saying you're fair, good or excellent, let me tell you something, if you know New York City, that's a darn good statement to say about you.

WALLACE: So fair, you view as an endorsement?

ADAMS: I believe fair is saying give the guy a chance. Give the guy a chance that's dealing with decades of homelessness, decades of school failure, decades of crime issue. Decades of homelessness. Anyone that has a corporation as large as New York City with $101 billion budget to think you can turn around and ship movement in the wrong direction in a few months, that doesn't make sense.

WALLACE: New Yorkers say the biggest problem is crime. Back in March here you were promising to make the city safer especially on the subways, take a look.


ADAMS: This system has turned into a place come in the subway system and do whatever you want. And so, you know, people are pushing back on me, you know, there goes that mean Police Officer Eric again. So what? Call me what you want. We going to be safe. I'm like broccoli, you going to hate me now but you going to love me later.



ADAMS: I love that quote, by the way.

WALLACE: That's your quote.


WALLACE: I'm glad you like your own work. But former Democratic governor David Paterson said the other day that things are worse than ever. Check him out.


DAVID PATERSON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: For the first time in my life, even in the late '80s and '90s when the crime rate was killing 2,000 people a year, I never felt as unsafe as I do now just walking around, and God forbid, sometimes we take the subway home from WABC and you're hearing about an assault on the subway almost every other day.


ADAMS: Think about that for a moment because that's such a powerful quote that he made. He said even during the time when we were having 2,000 homicide as year, I policed during those times. We're not having 2,000 homicides a year. The difference from then and now we have an average of less than six crimes a day on the subway system with 3.5 million riders. But if you write your story based on the narrative there, you're going to look at the worst of those six crimes and put it on the front pages of your paper every day people are going to start to feel what David Paterson just stated.


So I have to deal with those six crimes a day, felony crimes and the perception of fear. Yes, the decreased gun violence in this city which I've zeroed in on, decreased homicides, we've removed off our streets over 5700 guns. 27-year high and a gun arrest. We are attacking the problem exactly the way I stated and now we have to deal with that real perception. We're going to put our police officers doing patrol again. Giving that morale back in our police department.

WALLACE: You're saying that the crime problem in this city is more perception than reality?

ADAMS: No. It's a combination of both. New Yorkers must be safe. They're not safe enough for me. Even if it is less than six crimes a day, that is too many for me and I'm clear on that.

WALLACE: But, Mayor, the New York City crime statistics are that year to date, crime in the subways is up 41 percent over the same period last year and serious crimes, mayor felonies are up even more than that. That's not perception. That's reality.

ADAMS: Right. And as I stated, if you do an analysis of the six major cities in America, the crime waves tackling all of our cities, New York City is the safest out of the six mayor cities in America. Also showed how I have turned around the morale of the police department 27 year high and removing guns off our streets. The over proliferation of guns, so yes, we have a real crime problem that we're addressing but part of that is the perception that every day those six crimes are being highlighted over and over again.


WALLACE: When we come back, the so-called night life mayor in the city that never sleeps gives us a billion-dollar reason he goes out so much. And find out what had me reacting like this.


WALLACE: Respectfully, that is the most politician answer you've given me so far.




WALLACE: Mayor Eric Adams once called himself the face of the new Democratic Party so I wanted to know what his political future looks like, but first, we discussed how he got to where he is today.


WALLACE: Let's talk a little bit about Eric Adams. You grew up in Queens. You joined, and this is well-known, you joined a gang as a young man. You were arrested for criminal trespassing and you say that when you went to the police station, the police beat you. Why on earth would all of that lead you to want to become a policeman?

ADAMS: Because I saw the duality of public safety. You know, yes, there was a number of police officers who were abusive, but that was not what I saw every day, as well. I saw men and women who understood the nobility of running towards danger when others would have moved in another direction. And I knew that if we have the balance of justice and public safety, that is a prerequisite to our prosperity. I believed it then and I believe it now, and I'm sitting every day with the men and women who are serving.

WALLACE: You like to go out at night and you even have picked up the nickname the "Night Life Mayor" and you've had, for folks who don't know around the country, you've had to deal with this for instance this summer.


ADAMS: If I tell you I'll go with -- do full page stories on them, you know, nobody is going to want to hang out with me anymore. You'll write these stories about me that I'm just -- you have to look at them and laugh. You know, I have an active lovely life.


ADAMS: Right.


WALLACE: You have an active and lovely life?

ADAMS: New York City. New York City. Think about this for a moment. It's a 24-hour city. When I go out I am patronizing my restaurants, my hotels, my dishwashers, my cooks, then what I do next, I got into the subway system to see my midnight people are working. I'm going to my hospitals. I go visit this 24-hour city. This is not a 9:00 to 5:00 city, and this is a city that never sleeps. So the mayor should not be taking a nap. He should be out interacting with all the people of this city, and I love that.

It's a multibillion-dollar industry our night life industry. And they tell me all the time, thank you mayor for acknowledging us.

WALLACE: But you know that you take hits for that. I mean, you had to respond to it there. When you got a migrant emergency, when the city is facing like the rest of the country an economic downturn, when you've got a crime issue, any thought of toning it down?

ADAMS: Well, think about what you just said. You said we have an economic issue. My night life is a multibillion-dollar industry. People are afraid to go back out to restaurants. Now they see their mayor going out saying come back out to our city. That is what the whole theme is. So you say OK, Eric, you're taking hits. What has been the mayor of New York without taking hits? You know? You can't wake up and read the papers in the day and say, oh, my god, I'm afraid of being criticized. I have 8.8 million people in the city. I have 35 million opinions. That is the city we call New York.

WALLACE: A few months ago on TV, you said that if your learning disability had been diagnosed earlier, we would now be calling you Mr. President instead of Mr. Mayor. You seemed to be joking. First of all, were you joking?

ADAMS: Yes, I was.

WALLACE: OK. Would you like to be president?

ADAMS: I like to be the mayor of New York City. You know, you can run the country from New York. You know, the way goes, New York goes, America, I enjoy being the mayor solving problems on the ground, duplicating those solutions, helping my colleagues across the country. As I learn from them, they learn from me. I enjoy being the mayor of the city. This is something I wanted to be for 28 years to resolve those on the ground problems, and serve in the city. That's why I'm happy doing this job.


WALLACE: Respectfully, that is the most politician answer you've given me so far. Would you like to be president?

ADAMS: No, I like being the mayor of the city of New York. One of the most important cities on the globe.

WALLACE: No, I mean, are you ruling it out? Are you saying I will never run for higher office?

ADAMS: Who would answer that? I would never run for higher office. I don't know what's in the card. I have a job to do right now and the worst thing that could happen is that I have to sit in front of you again one day, you say, Eric, you said this and that. I'm always going to do the job I am in now and that's the mayor of this great city, New York.

WALLACE: You're bidding on behalf of the city for New York to be the host of the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Should Joe Biden run again for president or should he step aside for a new younger generation?

ADAMS: He should. And --

WALLACE: Yes, he should what?

ADAMS: Yes, he should run again. He has been amazing. He navigated us out of COVID. It was a total mess when he inherited, what he's doing around student loan forgiveness, when he has done really around highlighting the over proliferation of guns in our country. I think he should run again and we're hoping the convention will come here to New York City. We think that the diversity of the city speaks volumes of the Democratic Party and we hope that it comes here. And I'm excited about that he's planning on running again.

WALLACE: When you were elected mayor, you called yourself the, quote, "new face" of the Democratic Party. Now, I'm sure you remember saying that. I remember it.

ADAMS: Yes, I do. I still feel that way.

WALLACE: That you're the new face of the Democratic Party?


WALLACE: Well, let me ask you a question, what does that mean?

ADAMS: First, I'm going to say the -- just the new, I am the face. I think that in our country, we have allowed the far extremes on the far left and the far right to hijack what everyday Americans and New Yorkers want and that's what it's about.

WALLACE: But if you're the face of the new Democratic Party, how does that differ from the old Democratic Party?

ADAMS: Well, I like to say the face of the Democratic Party.

WALLACE: But you did say new Democratic Party.

ADAMS: I don't know if the term is exactly new or old. I think that for a long time the Democratic message has been ignored and we've allowed the far left to determine what that message is. That is untrue. Even when you look at defund the police, that was not a call by the main stream radically practical Democrats I like to classify myself as.

Republicans took that message, hijacked that message, and made it appear as though that was the message of the Democratic Party. Even the president called for proper funding of the police and in fact, Republicans blocked some of the funding that we wanted. So if anybody is defunding police, it's the Republican Party, not the Democrats.


WALLACE: Coming up, pop singer Meghan Trainor tells us the real story behind her first big hit.


WALLACE: It's all about that bass. About that bass.

TRAINOR: That bass, no treble.

WALLACE: How did you get that?


WALLACE: And later, best-selling author James Patterson, on the book he never published about the fictional death of one of his biggest rivals.



WALLACE: Welcome back to WHO'S TALKING.

She started her career as a teenage songwriter working on hits for other performers. But Meghan Trainor quickly became a Grammy Award- winning star in her own right. Now at age 28 she's out with her first album since becoming a mom called "Taking It Back." And that's where our conversation began.


TRAINOR: It had similar sound to that first album like doo whop, and myself loving anthems, obviously. Always have those on my albums. But I started writing this album with a few songwriters, Mozella being one of them. She's amazing and she said, you know, it's crazy. I have this artist coming in saying, I want to do the Meghan Trainor sound. And I was like I have a sound? And I was like, are they talking about the doo whop thing? And she's like, yes. I was like, oh, I can do that in my sleep. Let's do that again. That's always fun. So we took it back to the old school 19-year-old Meghan Trainor.

WALLACE: So when you say self-loving anthem.


WALLACE: What does that mean?

TRAINOR: Oh, when I wrote "All About That Bass" and songs like that like "Me Too" it was more like songs that I wish were on the radio, you know, songs that I never heard on the radio. And when I saw what it did to fans when I met them in meet-and-greets or I met their parents and they would say this song changed my kids' life. Like they were too depressed to get up and go to school and now they love themselves and they're happy. So every album I'm like we need to always put in a self-love anthem because it's something we're all working on every day including myself.

WALLACE: This is your first album since you had your son Riley last year.


WALLACE: And he's --

TRAINOR: He's so cute.

WALLACE: Is he as cute as that?

TRAINOR: Yes. In real life.

WALLACE: He is, although I've seen some later pictures. He's a real red head which isn't -- TRAINOR: Oh, yes, he's got this beautiful red hair and he can't see

that well so he's gorgeous glasses now. He's so cute.

WALLACE: So I know because you've said it that you dealt with physical and emotional challenges both during and after the pregnancy. And what I wonder is, does creating a song, does telling your truth help you --


WALLACE: -- deal with that? I mean, in a sense, is writing about things that you feel a form of therapy?

TRAINOR: Yes. And I don't -- I don't always go in going I'm going to write about, like, this today. But I noticed the first few songs were kind of heartbreaking. They were sad at first. And I was like, no, I'm happier than I've ever been. Why am I sad?

So, my first songs were like about being a mom and about like, "Don't I make this look easy? I'm exhausted, and I'm a working mom and I have mom guilt." And I've tried to make them relatable and put them in every song.

WALLACE: So 2014, you move to Nashville. You're there, you think to write songs for other people, and you meet a record producer named Kevin Kadish.


WALLACE: And the two of you come up with a song. We're going to get to the song in a minute, but I want to talk about process first. Is it true that it took you 45 minutes to write "All About That Bass?"

TRAINOR: It was a quick write. Yes. It's like chemistry. Have you ever created something with a stranger so fast? I guess, that's not a relatable thing.

Songwriting sessions are like you meet and it's a blind date. So Kevin was this man who had a wife and a kid and I was a 19-year-old kid just trying to write songs.

So I was like, "Nice to meet you. Thanks for letting me come to your home and writing a tune with you." And we've talked about where we're from and that I was a chubby kid growing up and, and he said, "I have a title 'all Bass, No Treble.'" And I was like, "You know what the kids say? We say, 'I'm all about that.'" So I said, "Let's make it "All About That Bass, No Treble." And I said, let's say "Bases," my booty. And this is treble, because I don't have nothing up here.

And I was like, "Let's just be confident in our skin," which is so opposite of what I thought in real life.

WALLACE: But I mean, the interesting thing is he was thinking about All About That Bass in a musical sense.

TRAINOR: Probably.

WALLACE: "All Base No Treble" and you're thinking about bass in terms of body shape and booty.

TRAINOR: Nice. Yes, I thought like, about my thickness, you know, in that moment. We were like, "How can we make this make sense?" And I was like "Bass, No Treble." But like we've made it basically we liked that thickness, we like that body that you hear when you hear about music.

WALLACE: So, you had the phrase "All About That Bass," did you have a melody? Or did that just come to you in the chorus?

TRAINOR: We talked about, I think, how we liked to do out music and we liked old school and he played that good, tacky, upright bass sound on a keyboard. It was just like "doom, doom, doom, doom, doom," and he started making like, record beats with it. It was very impressive.

And I was like, "By the way, I can rap," and he was like, "What?" And I was like, "I can rap." So, the first verse should be like, "It's pretty clear, I ain't no size 2." And we were just like giggling. We were like, "This is so funny and no one will ever sing this and no one will hear it."

WALLACE: But how did you get, "It's all about that bass, about that base. No treble."

TRAINOR: "It's all about that bass, about that base. No treble." And I know pop music, you want repetition, you want something easy. And I learned so much from that song like after I wrote it.

I watched babies like dancing to it in diapers on tables, like "All About That Bass." And I was like, "Okay, it's simple, but it's clever." Like grandparents love it, and babies love it.

WALLACE: Well, that's why -- okay.

TRAINOR: That's the dream.

WALLACE: So, you finally get to sing it for the legendary record producer L.A. Reid, who at that time was the head of Epic Records.


WALLACE: There you are with L.A. Reid and let's look at the result.

(Clip from "All About the Base.")

WALLACE: Eight weeks at number one. It sells 11 million copies and you win the Grammy for Best New Artist. Meghan, how --

TRAINOR: Ain't that crazy?

WALLACE: How suddenly and totally did that change your life?

TRAINOR: Oh, my God. Everything was -- it was like watching the greatest movie ever and I was right there on the screen.

WALLACE: You were the star. TRAINOR: And I was also in the front row watching like, "Could you

imagine?" We're still -- my family and I -- because I kept them with me the whole ride. My brothers are still like, "What are we doing here?" Like it's -- everything is a pinch-me-moment still.

WALLACE: Was it at any point overwhelming?

TRAINOR: For sure. Yes. The schedule got crazy. I was the girl that slept in every day, then started my songwriting work at noon, you know, and now it was like, get up at 3:00 AM sing on "The Today Show," run to this place and do interviews all day, talk, hug, hug, hug, and my voice couldn't keep up. My mental health couldn't keep up. I got bronchitis all the time. I was so sick. I didn't know how to take care of myself.


WALLACE: When we come back, we explore that -- the physical and emotional toll of success. Meghan open up about her struggles in a raw conversation you won't want to miss.



WALLACE: And did you think to yourself that this great career that you've worked so hard for and that has just started --

TRAINOR: Just gone.

WALLACE: Could be over?

TRAINOR: Yes, it's gone forever.



WALLACE: From the outside, Meghan Trainor's pop career seems like a rocket ride, topping the charts at 21, sending a positive message in her music, but it has also come with roadblocks including a major problem with her vocal cords that forced her to make a tough decision.


WALLACE: Suddenly, you have a problem with your vocal cords and you've got to cancel your tour when you're just really making it and have surgery. And then a year later, you have another surgery.

How serious was your condition?


TRAINOR: I had an exploded polyp, so you could have nodes that are smaller, but a polyp is like, it looks like a boil on your -- a big pimple, a big bloody pimple on your vocal cords. WALLACE: We get the idea. You don't need to --

TRAINOR: Right, and mine popped.


TRAINOR: So there's blood and you know, it is gnarly and I had pain and they were like, if you do more, you'll lose it forever and you need to stop everything and do surgery.

And the first time that happened, I was on my tour bus. I was almost done with the tour, and then they sat me. They're like, "You need to sit, because we are about to tell you something that sucks." And I was like, "There's got to be another way? What do we do?" And I didn't lip sync. I didn't -- I didn't have any way to finish that tour. So we had to cancel, and we disappointed so many people.

And like to this day, I'll have people come up to me and say, "Oh, my God, I was supposed to see you at that show and you didn't make it." And I'm like, "I'm so sorry." I still get people who are upset about it.

So that was devastating and it was the first time I really upset people. And then when it happened again, after I got the vocal surgery, it was just after a bunch of work, just non-stop and then I went to a different doctor and got surgery, which was very tough for me because it was like the year after I won my Grammy and it was on the Grammy day. It was the only --

WALLACE: The anniversary?

TRAINOR: Yes. It was the only day that she had open.

WALLACE: Did your -- did you lose your voice? I mean, what was the -- what could you tell? Was it just that it hurt? You actually couldn't hit the notes?

TRAINOR: It hurt and then I couldn't hit the notes.

WALLACE: And did you think to yourself that this great career that you've worked so hard for and that has just started --

TRAINOR: was gone.

WALLACE: It could be over?

TRAINOR: Yes, it's gone forever.

WALLACE: You go a few years ago on CBS because you're going to announce the nominees with the other anchors. You're going to announce the nominees for the Grammy Awards. And let's take a look at that.

TRAINOR: Okay. Oh, no, I've never seen this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRAINOR: "25" by Adele. "Lemonade" by Beyonce, "Purpose" by Justin

Bieber, "Views" by Drake, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" by Sturgill Simpson.

GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Between the two of them --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adele versus Beyonce.

KING: Yes, Adele versus Beyonce.

TRAINOR: Adele and Beyonce? I mean, that's a sentence -- that's a statement right there. I don't know.


WALLACE: So you look just fine there. And you've said if I'm not revealing something that you haven't put out there, that when that ends, you go back off camera, as soon as you're away and you collapse.



TRAINOR: I got up at 3:00 AM that day to get glammed to be on the show. I haven't seen that since, I haven't seen that clip.

WALLACE: I am sorry, I didn't --

TRAINOR: No, it's all right. I'm still honored to be here. And I was so tired. I was so tired. I was working so hard.

And my assistant read me my schedule for that day and for the week, and I just knew like that was before my second surgery. So I was like, "If I do all this, I'm going to have to cancel everything again, and just be in this cycle of canceling stuff, and no one will hire me again and I am never going to survive."

And I started my first panic attack at four in the morning that day in New York, and I didn't know what was happening to me. I just knew I was sobbing, crying, and I couldn't breathe and I had to lay down and I was sweating really fast and I thought I was dying. I was like, "This is it. My body is just giving up."

And I was like, if I freak out like that again, I'm going to be live on TV freaking out. And I kept my cool, but reading the list, you can -- I can hear I start, I remember losing vision, like I was like, trying not to faint. That's what I remember, I was like "Just don't pass out on TV right now. Just get through this."

And I was supposed to jump into an interview right after, but as soon as they said like, "Okay, we're off the air." I sat down and I started crying in front of all of those people, Gayle King, every camera guy, everyone and I lost it. And my team circled around me and looked at me and we're like, "Okay, we're done."

And I found out months later that this was anxiety and my chemicals are all messed up. And I was like, "No, I must have an illness." Like I have a fever clearly and I'm sweating. And I would go to the emergency room and be like, "I must have ate something that's closing my throat, can you just check," you know?

And the doctor looks so sad coming in trying to explain what a panic attack is to me and I was like, "That's not it." You know, like "I'm very happy. I have everything I ever wanted and all is well." But I didn't realize my body was screaming for help.

WALLACE: There was one point part of the story I love and that is that at a certain point, you were ordered to take vocal rest and it was just one when you were starting to date, a fellow, an actor named Daryl Sabara, and you're worried that you're forced silence is going to scare him away.

TRAINOR: Because that's my charm. Yes, talking to him -- we finally were like -- I mean, we were like, "I love you" day six. So I couldn't, I couldn't tell it back to him and that made me sad.

WALLACE: And this is you and your now husband.

TRAINOR: There he is.

WALLACE: And the father of your little boy.

TRAINOR: And my future babies. Yes. He's wonderful. He's here today. Hi, Daryl. I love you.

WALLACE: Future baby or do we have news do you want to tell us?

TRAINOR: I am pregnant -- no, I'm not pregnant. I wish. Yes, how cool would that be? You know, I wish.

November and December I'm going to start for sure.

WALLACE: So, what is the state of Meghan Trainor today? You are and your music is light and bouncy and upbeat. Are you?

TRAINOR: Yes. So now, I feel much better. And I got the help I needed and I'm a big -- I'm a big asker for help. And hearing other people like Carson Daly talk about his panic attacks was an amazing way for me to explain to my mom who doesn't know what a panic attack is. Like, here's how I'm feeling and that clicked for her.

So, I've tried to talk about it as much as I can, even though it makes me uncomfortable and it brings up terrible memories to, just in case someone out there is like, "Mom, that's what I'm talking about. And this is how I feel." And know that if you're at that place, you should probably ask for help and someone can help you.


WALLACE: As I told Meghan, she is a teacup of sunshine.

Up next we turn the page to the world's best-selling author, and how he writes so many books. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WALLACE: James Patterson is one of the most successful writers of all time. His co-authors include Dolly Parton and former President Bill Clinton.

Patterson has written more than 200 books and sold more than 400 million copies. And I think, it is fair to say he's competitive with other big name writers.


WALLACE: I want to start with your book, "Empire" because several times in your autobiography, you know that you are the best-selling writer on earth. How important is that to you?


WALLACE: Why do you say it a couple of times?

PATTERSON: I don't remember saying, but I'm sure I did, but it isn't important -- you know, one of the fortunate things for me is I grew up in upstate New York, little town, Newburgh, New York and a blessing that I have is that I still see the world through the eyes of this kid from Newburgh, New York.

So the idea that I'm here with you, I this is fun. For me, this is a big deal. The idea that I've written books with, you know, President Clinton, et cetera, the idea that I've sold a lot of books. I'm not impressed with it. It's just, you know, I've sold a lot of books. So...

WALLACE: How do you explain it?

PATTERSON: I think mainly, I am -- I think, I'm a good storyteller. I could tell a story about anything. And I think that's useful. I have a sense for -- when I'm writing a book, I pretend there is somebody sitting across from me, and I don't want them to get up until I finish the story.

I think that's both my strength and my weakness. Strength, because it does help me to sell a lot of books; weakness because if I dug a little deeper at times, and wasn't worried about holding the reader, the books might be a little deeper.

WALLACE: You have made no secret of the fact that you sell a lot more books than Stephen King.

PATTERSON; That's a publisher doing it. That's not me. They're the ones out there throwing all this stuff around. I don't know what it is to be honest with you. I like his books and I kind of leave it at that.

WALLACE: You also once wrote a novella. PATTERSON: I did.

WALLACE: In which the characters, the villains in his book plot the murder of Stephen King.

PATTERSON: Yes. However, Stephen King was the hero of that book, he was the hero. And you'll never get to read it because we didn't publish it. I have a hundred copies, which are going to be worth several million dollars at some point. But he's the star in the book. He's a hero. And I certainly meant him no harm, and I mean, no harm here.

I think he's a wonderful writer and he is probably a very funny guy. You know, like me, two funny guys.

WALLACE: So let's talk about your process. You write a 50 to 80-page outline for every book. You write in longhand and you put ideas for books in a folder with the word ideas it.

PATTERSON: A clever title on the folder. Yes.

WALLACE: So where does an idea for a book come from?

PATTERSON: It can be anything. I mean, I can be sitting here and watch the cameraman and just suddenly, something pops and I'll just write it down.

WALLACE: And how many of those do you have in your folder?

PATTERSON: Hundreds and hundreds.

WALLACE: And you occasionally pick one out and go, "What the hell is this?"

PATTERSON: I do. I do. Although, I'll generally know what it is. It might be it sometimes it'll be years before I can actually connect a story that you know, I'll go, I liked that idea, but I don't know what to do with it, and sometimes I'll sit there and I'll begin to outline three or four different concepts. And I go okay, well, here's -- this one, I have a story with this that I can tell a story. I know kind of words going. I've got a beginning and an end. Somebody said, you know, you will --


PATTERSON: Well, I am going to say it right here. You can make a lot of money if you can write beginnings and ends. If you write middles, you get the Nobel Prize. You know, nobody writes the middle.

WALLACE: This brings us to the biggest controversy about you and you know where I'm headed on this, and this is that you write these very detailed outlines 50 to 80-page outlines and then you hand it over to a co-author to write the rest of the book and you may have --

PATTERSON: I don't think --

WALLACE: Well, let me just finish the question.

PATTERSON: But don't find it controversial. You know, I know where you're going.

WALLACE: Okay, no, no, but no, but you may have 30 projects going at the same time. And I will say that in your autobiography, you seem a little defensive about the idea that there's a book --

PATTERSON: I didn't mean it to be the defensive, but maybe it is, it could be.

Look, part of the thing is, if you think about like TV shows, invariably, there is not always but almost always, there's eight, nine, ten writers in the writers room. Is there something wrong with that? And what is wrong with collaboration? No collaboration, no Sistine Chapel? No -- we still have COVID, so there's nothing wrong with it -- with collaboration.

Collaboration is a good thing.

So I object -- Stephen King has written some collaborations. I happen to write a lot of collaborations, not everything I do is a collaboration. In one year, I wrote, I don't remember the number, like 2,600 pages worth of outlines. And the outlets are a big deal.

I had an agent at one point, and she said, I could take your outline and write a bestseller.

WALLACE: You've had a number of books that have been turned into movies or TV shows, most famously, the detective, Alex Cross in here "Kiss the Girls." Take a look.


ALEX CROSS, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: So these women are more than just attractive. They're all extraordinary in some way.

Smart, talented.

DET. DAVY SIKES, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: Something tells me he ain't choosing them just for the congeniality.

CROSS: Ordinarily, they don't. I think our guy is a little different.


CROSS: I think killing is not his ulterior motive. This guy is a collector. I bet these women are alive.


PATTERSON: Whoa, that Morgan Freeman, huh?

WALLACE: Well, I happen to think that's pretty good, but you're pretty tough on Hollywood. You say that most of the adaptations they've done were not very good and you tell a story in which when you first brought Alex Cross to Hollywood, their first note was "Make them White."

PATTERSON: Make them a White guy. And I walked away. They offered -- and in those days, I didn't have a lot of money. They offered seven figures. And I said, I don't want to do that. I don't want to do that.

So Alex, though, as smart as he is, he's in a room with a couple of serial killers in that scene. You didn't even know it. So, how smart is Alex Cross?

WALLACE: Well, good drama.

PATTERSON: Yes, it is.

WALLACE: But I mean, you really don't think that they've made good movies and TV shows?

PATTERSON; I think Morgan Freeman is great. So, you get Morgan Freeman and you count your lucky stars. I think those movies are okay and I love movies. So, you just want -- you want to walk in there and go like, "Oh, my God."

WALLACE: One of your passions is literacy. Kids reading early. Why is that so important to you? And how many millions of dollars have you and your wife, Sue, contributed to literacy programs?

PATTERSON: She doesn't distribute? She doesn't give anything. She's tight. No. No Susan is wonderful.

WALLACE: Oh my Lord. Are you always like this? Or did I just get you on this particularly good day?

PATTERSON: Well, I don't know about a good day, but yes, I'm always like this. My mother was a teacher. That's a piece of it. And honestly, I mean, just you one of the things, right now in this country, I think 47 percent of kids read at grade level. That's a disaster.

And this isn't through me, but the University of Florida is working on a program, they have it, they can get it up to 80 percent. So we have the vaccine, we just can't get the States to use it. And that's just such a tragedy because that means every year we don't use the vaccine, thousands of kids basically will get lost.

They will eventually, you know -- because if you can't read -- you know, if you're not a competent reader, you can't get through high school. You can't -- you know, if college is appropriate, you can't go to college.

So that's a big thing for me. If we can do stuff and literally save lives, this is huge.


WALLACE: James Patterson says he tries to write at least 350 days a year and that he has no intention of slowing down.

You can catch the entire conversations with him, as well as Mayor Adams and Meghan Trainor anytime you want on HBO Max.

Thank you for watching and please join us here on CNN every Sunday night to find out WHO IS TALKING next.