Book Nerd Interview
Grant has written five books in the Gone series: Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague andFear. These dystopian novels for young adults tackle some tough themes. The books received glowing reviews and a loyal readership. Grant has a talent for relating to young adults and creating characters that keep teens interested in what will happen next. The final installment of the Gone Series, Light will debut in April 2013.
The Magnificent 12 series includes The Call, The Key and The Trap. This fantasy series blends adventure and humor, providing fast-paced reading.
In 2011, Grant's BZRK had a multimedia online debut with gaming, apps and social media tie-ins beginning six months before the book's publication. The complex of websites and the book remain true to the author's focus on gripping action and light-hearted fun that aims at engaging kids -- now geared for providing entertainment on multiple devices.
With Applegate, he co-authored several series, including Making Out, Remnants, Evergate and the Animorphs series. The Animorphs books became worldwide bestsellers.
Grant was born in California, and moved many times with his military family, attending schools in the U.S. and France. He has been with Applegate for more than 29 years. Grant, Applegate, their children and pets live in California.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m blond. I mean, if I still had hair I’d be blond. Like bushy blond. It was a great relief to go bald.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Well, this will sound weird, but my IQ. A teacher who wasn’t supposed to tell me, did. It made me confident to the point of arrogance, and some problems came from that, and only gradually did I realize that IQ is like horsepower: it can allow you to go really fast. . . right into a brick wall. Kids reading BZRK are smart people, so I’d say to them that smart’s good; wise is better. I’m still working on wise.
Did you learn anything from writing the BZRK Series and what was it?
Oh, man, I learned so much awful stuff. I spent weeks, months, poring over scanning electron microscope pictures of every hideous micro-flora and micro-fauna on the human body. Much Purelle was involved.
What do you feel is the most significant change since book one?
Lear. We finally learn who Lear is, what Lear is up to, and see just how brutal the technology involved can be. The entire plot line of BZRK: Apocalypse was a surprise to me. There is an aspect of biot weaponization that’s truly bizarre and shocking, it was there all along, but I had not seen it earlier.
Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing the BZRK Series?
I am starting to get self-conscious about the fact that whenever I’m asked this question, whether about GONE, MESSENGER OF FEAR or BZRK, I always end up liking my female characters more. But even in real life I’ve tended to get along better with women than men, and of course everyone I work with in publishing is a woman. But in any case, in BZRK it’s Sadie. I like that girl.
For those who are unfamiliar with Noah and Sadie, how would you introduce them?
They are very different. Noah is a working class London kid with intense gaming skills and a warrior’s tactical instincts, but underneath all that he’s fundamentally a gentle guy, a loving, loyal guy. Sadie is fabulously rich but unaffected by it for the most part. She’s very smart, an adaptable, quick-thinking, and when necessary, ruthless person. In some ways she accepts the darkness more easily than Noah.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Caine (from GONE) meet Caligula (from BZRK) I think you two will hit it off.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King. I pride myself on being fast - he’s faster. I pride myself on being prolific - he’s more so. But the thing I admire most is that a few years ago he was run over by a van, nearly killed, shattered bones, the whole thing. Now here’s a man who had nothing left to prove, had all the money, fame, praise, whatever, that any writer could possibly want. He could have said, “Well, screw it, I’m just going to take life easy from here on in.” But instead he popped up and nailed a thousand page book. Work ethic, man. That inspired a degree of awe in me.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
I’ll give you four things. Avoid three, do one, and your life may not turn out to be a party, but it probably won’t turn out too badly, either: 1) Don’t become addicted, 2) Don’t get pregnant or get anyone else pregnant until you are absolutely sure you’re ready, 3) Don’t kill anyone, including yourself, and 4) Have a life.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Would you like a donut? I’ll say I’m on a diet, or that I’m full, but I always, always want a donut. And by “a” donut, I mean somewhere between three and six.
Who was your first girlfriend?
A girl named Laurie. I was in 10th grade in Iowa at the time. She had a car and I didn’t. She used to drive to the graveyard where her father was buried, and then we’d make out. Kinda odd? Why yes, yes it was. But I was 16 and she was a girl who would actually kiss me, so I was extremely open-minded as to venue.
What is your happiest childhood memory?
My dad was Army and we were stationed for a few years in France. I was about nine when my French pals and I decided to smoke cigarettes in the dried-out moat of the local chateau. We had real cigarettes and candy cigarettes. I tried the first, thought “these suck” and ate the candy. I never did become addicted to cigarettes, did become addicted to candy.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
My whole life is a series of “summer” jobs. I was 19 when I worked as a library clerk and occasional legal researcher at a DC law firm now known as Wilmer and Hale. My main job was getting documents from Congress — preferably before they were supposed to be available. I have a mature-sounding voice, so I quickly had various people on Capitol Hill convinced I was some senior law partner. I’d get them to agree to supply a document, then I’d send my messenger (me) over to pick it up. I was a completely non-existent senior partner on the phone, a sweaty bike messenger in person.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
Well, I was a teenager in the late 60’s, early 70’s. It was an intense time - Vietnam, rock and roll, drugs, riots in the streets, assassinations left and right. I love me some crazy, and those were crazy times.
When was the last time you cried?
When my accountant told me what I owed in taxes. Okay, really? When my daughter got her junior black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I was very proud of her, and still am.
Where can readers stalk you?
@MichaelGrantBks on Twitter. I go on, maybe twice a week and just kill time chatting with fans.
The staggering conclusion to the BZRK trilogy, from the author of GONE. The members of BZRK are preparing for their final stand, in the world's capitals and in the nano. Expect the unexpected in this novel packed with the author's trademark jaw-dropping action, violence, and pace.
You can purchase BZRK Apocalypse at the following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.
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