Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert's eldest son, had been harangued by agents, publishers and fans alike to finish the series. Having written several novels of his own - including co-authoring Man Of Two Worlds with his father in 1985 just prior to his death - Brian wasn't sure if he wanted to take on such a monumental task. Besides, he didn't know exactly where his dad was going with the Dune series before he died.
After more haranguing by agents and publishers, Brian was contacted by an editor who introduced Brian to his future, energetic co-author.
By the first week of May 1997, more than 11 years after the death of Frank Herbert, Brian finally met up with best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson, and they began throwing ideas around. After months of painstaking research and deliberation, they decided to start setting the groundwork for three prequels to the original Dune (Dune: House Atreides, Dune: House Harkonnen, and Dune: House Corrino), but still had no clear idea how the final book should end. What did Frank Herbert have in mind for 'Dune 7'?
I don't know if that contradicts anything that was said before, but I was under the impression that KJamesA contacted him directly.
"Just keep a backup copy of everything you write off premises," Brian told me he had said to his father on several occasions. "It was the insurance agent in me talking," he recalled later. "Fire, flood, or any number of disasters could have ruined his work if he wasn't careful. Little did I know he would take my advice to the extreme." Brian's advice would bear fruit he couldn't have imagined...
Brian found himself, along with an estate attorney and the bank manager, covering their ears as two safety deposit boxes were drilled open for lack of any keys.
"I can't remember exactly what I was thinking at that particular moment," Brian said to me about this momentous day. "I knew there must have been something important in there for Dad to have kept it locked up."
The boxes were laid onto a table and Brian watched as the lids yawned open, as if waking from a deep slumber. From the first box, the attorney handed Brian volumes of recipes his father had cooked up (the "I write" man was also an excellent chef). In the second box were a few very old five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disks with stacks of papers underneath.
"I remember being handed the papers and placing them on the table," Brian said to me, his voice rich with anticipation. "Then I uncovered the top page and my heart nearly stopped."
I also found this very interesting...
What Brian saw was beyond imagination and hope. He'd uncovered an item that'll be shared with millions of people. On the cover of the first page, scribbled in Frank Herbert's unmistakable hand, were two words: 'Dune 7.'
"Sharing the notes with millions of people" must have meant, "We'll crank out some shitty books and really clean up with them."