Exclusive interview with author Michael Grant


Spoilers included! Watch the video and hear Grant discuss 'BZRK' and 'Fear'

Michael Grant was in town (Chicago) for a few days as part of his world-wide tour for his trilogy, ‘BZRK.’ He was also willing to discuss ‘Fear,’ the latest in the ‘Gone’ series.

Grant has answered many questions about BZRK on different websites including bookmachine.org, so this interview is about Grant himself, not just his books. And Grant is a pretty interesting guy.

Both Grant and his wife, Katherine Applegate, have worked at many jobs including delivering flowers, waiting tables and cleaning toilets. They both much prefer writing books! Before meeting Applegate, Grant literally was living under an overpass until finding a job bussing tables in a restaurant, then waiting tables.

He fell in love with Applegate when he saw her through a window. He also saw she was on the phone, so he went back four times before she was off the phone (talking to her mother) and asked if he could borrow a can opener. They’ve been together ever since — 33 years!

After ten years together, Applegate told Grant that it was time to “put down the bong” and get a career and maybe have kids. He didn’t believe the part about kids, but now he has two kids, two dogs and a cat. The number of animals is a delicate balance — she’s for more, he wants fewer. (Read none.)

Rescue folks reading this — appeal to Applegate. She’s the softie of the pair.

Although Grant was born in LA and still prefers California (for the weather), Evanston, IL is near and dear to his heart. He and Katherine lived there for five years — perhaps their longest sojourn anywhere.

But it was in Sarasota, Florida, where Applegate came up with the idea for the Animorphs series. They were walking the cat (yes, the cat) on a leash at night and he asked her if she could write anything at all, what would she want to write.

She said she wanted to put kids into animals bodies. They wrote a 30-page pitch and made a six book deal. Before the series ended, there were 63 books in total.

Recently, Grant and Applegate have received letters from college kids who were avid Animorphs readers. Some are four pages typed and read something like, “I am the person I am today because of Animorphs. Those books taught me right and wrong and shades of grey.”

The Yale drama club performed a musical version of one of the Animorphs books. They are definitely more than “just” an adventure series to their fans, and to Grant and Applegate, who are really glad that the readers “get it” after all.

Michael Grant is a fascinating person and a brilliant author. His latest book, BZRK, is a riveting science fiction novel about technology that is only a hair’s-width away from reality.

His goal when writing a book is to surprise and shock the reader. “I want to fire everybody out of a cannon.”

Toward that purpose, he doesn’t plan his books in advance. He is working on ‘BZRK’ number 2 right now (it’s almost done), but he hasn’t started ‘Light,’ the last in the ‘Gone’ series. And, he has no idea how it will end or even how it will start. (See interview video for spoilers taped on April 1, 2012)

He says he’s excited to start writing it. He will be making it up every day. His philosophy? If he doesn’t know what comes next, there is no way the reader will know what comes next. To Grant, writing a book is like a game or a challenge. He must outwit the reader by surprising the reader at every turn. He said, “You don’t know how it will end because I don’t.”

However, he was willing to reassure fans that ‘Light’ won’t reveal that the whole series was a dream or fantasy. It will be real and have a defined ending. We’ll all (including Grant, himself) have to wait to find out just what that ending will be.

Once ‘Light’ is written and published, that doesn’t mean the series will be over. Both ‘BZRK’ and the ‘Gone’ series are being considered for movies, ‘BZRK’ with director Sam Raimi (of Spiderman fame), and Grant couldn’t be happier (he’s a huge fan).

Fans of Grant (and Applegate) will be happy to know that there are eight books he will be working on. ‘Eve and Adam’ is coming out in October of this year. ‘Eve and Adam’ number II still needs to be written, as does the next in the ‘Magnificent 12’ series, ‘Light’ (the last in the ‘Gone’ series), a new trilogy and a stand-alone title for Egmont.

(NOTE: This is a reprint of an article from April 1, 2012)

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