News Article

FUTURE 'PROPHECY'

Robert James Waller, meet your match. The Celestine Prophecy, the first novel by James Redfield, could be this year's The Bridges of Madison County. Redfield, 43, an Alabama-based therapist, borrowed $20,000 to self-publish his book (about an ancient manuscript that contains nine insights into the human condition) in 1993. Distributed mainly to New Age bookstores, the novel became a cult hit, and major publishers started sniffing around. After a bidding war with Bantam, Warner Books won Prophecy for $800,000 and is shipping the repackaged novel this month. ''It's a reflection of New Age meeting old age,'' says Laurence J. Kirshbaum, president of Warner Books. ''Our only job (in making it a best-seller) is to not screw up.'' The publisher has convinced major booksellers of Prophecy's potential. ''Judging from how the self-published version is doing, they may be right,'' says a spokesman from Waldenbooks. Meanwhile, Redfield is working on a sequel and taking his sudden good fortune in stride. His plans for the future: traveling. ''Money is just a tool,'' says Redfield. ''And you can circulate the planet a little more with it.''

Originally posted Feb 18, 1994 Published in issue #210-211 Feb 18, 1994 Order article reprints