September 03, 2003 01:04 PM

Despite admissions that her memory of the events that propelled her into the national spotlight is spotty, at best, former PEOPLE covergirl Jessica Lynch has struck a $1 million deal for a book that will tell the story of her capture and rescue in Iraq, reports the Associated Press.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, known for its strong literary backlist as well as for being the publisher of the popular Anne Rice “Vampire” series, announced Tuesday that the former prisoner of war will write “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story.”

Her collaborator will be former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize winner. (In the interest of full disclosure, Knopf has also published the author of this column.)

Lynch’s tome is due for this Christmas season, with the initial printing of 500,000 copies expected in stores by mid-November, says the AP.

While specific financial terms have not been disclosed, Lynch and Bragg are believed to be splitting a $1 million advance, with any royalties going to Lynch. (Royalties kick in only once a book has earned back its advance.)

“Many folks have written, expressing their support for me and for the thousands of other soldiers who serve their country,” Lynch, 20, said in a statement issued by Knopf.

“I feel I owe them all this story, which will be about more than a girl going off to war and fighting alongside her fellow soldiers. It will be a story about growing up in America.”

In a widely reported falling out with his employer, Bragg resigned from the Times in May after the newspaper suspended him over a story that carried his byline but was reported largely by a freelancer.

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