Author Topic: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)  (Read 13207 times)

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Offline Richard

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Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« on: January 29, 2010, 12:08:23 AM »
One question per person will be posted until Michael Grant / K.A. Applegate responds.
Please do not repeat questions: they will not be posted to be answered.

Please PM me to ask the question.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 08:27:29 PM by Richard »

Offline Richard

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 10:06:48 PM »
My name's Taormina, but most RAFians know me as Myitt (my old Yeerk rebel character, very Han Solo-wannabe).  Thanks for writing such a great series that really influenced my childhood, and keeps on influencing the way I think about the world.  I'm really glad that Animorphs is going to be back on bookstore shelves and influencing a new generation of readers.  I'm curious to know if any of the '90s-centric stuff in the series is going to be updated, like 56k modems and PlayStation Ones and so on?  Do kids these days even listen to greats like The Offspring and "Nice Is Neat" anymore, or is it all Hannah Montana?  (Please, no, wait--forget I ever said anything  ::) )

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 10:44:26 PM »
We don't know how much updating there will be.  We hope there will be some but honestly Scholastic doesn't talk to us much.  The decision is entirely theirs.  Yes, this sounds a little odd, but right now that's where it stands.  None of the people who were at Scholastic during ANIMORPHS are there now -- our editor Tonya Martin is long gone, and the boss of bosses, the series queen herself, Jean Feiwel, (Goosebumps, Babysitters Club, Animorphs) now runs an imprint at Macmillan.

The editors there now are not very familiar with ANIMORPHS.  Although we think they're familiarizing themselves with the series.

The biggest updating problem by the way isn't Offspring (which admittedly did not hold up over time) but the ubiquity of cell phones and especially smart phones.  They'd screw up many a plot point.


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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 10:47:00 PM »
Thanks for that MG/KA....

On the same topic:

Quote from: blue
How do you feel about the upcoming Animorphs Re-release(assuming this was Schoolastic's idea and not your own) and rumors about it being used to make a fan base large enough for an Animorphs movie?

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 11:24:54 PM »
We're happy about a re-release.  With some caveats.

Our preference would be for a book re-release of a limited number of books -- there's no way they can redo all the books in paper -- accompanied by an e-book re-release of all the books.  In an ideal world we'd see e-books going out for $3.99 or so.

We'd love to see a movie.  We'd be working to that end but Scholastic has essentially shut us out of any discussion or consideration of such a thing.  We are not updated, we are not consulted or involved. 

Michael has a great deal more involvement in and control over movie prospects for GONE than we have over ANIMORPHS.

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 11:38:51 PM »
Hi KA and Michael,

Thanks so much for answering our questions again! It's awesome that you guys are so cool to such nerdy fans.

Anyway, now that it's been almost ten years since the series ended, us nerdy  fans have obsessively scoured and examined every inch of the series. Though I don't expect you to look back with this level of scrutiny, now that this time has passed, would you have done anything differently with regards to the series? Character arcs, plot arcs, distribution schedule, anything at all?On a related note, if the Animorphs continuation is picked up, would you incorporate any of these changes?

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 08:39:25 PM »
There are some "inside baseball" changes maybe, like spreading the morphs out over more time.  By the end we were about ready to start morphing slugs because we'd run out of cool animals.  And we probably wouldn't have done MEGAMORPHS with shifting POV's like that -- they were hard to follow.

We might also have given Cassie a bit more edge as a character.  But maybe not.  And the Ellimist may have been too much, too powerful, too superman. 

Good question, we'll think about it.

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 08:45:27 PM »
It has been ten years since the end of Animorphs, and the fanbase is still going strong.  Your work has had a huge impact on a generation, and with the re-release it will influence the new.  When you were writing Animorphs, when did you first realize that you had crafted the new Hardy Boys, the new Nancy Drew?  When you did see this, did it change your writing style, giving it more an eye to posterity?
Also, in the new release, please use better glue.  My copy of #21 is in a looseleaf binder.

Finally, I thank you.  Your books led me to be an engineer, and introduced me to Heinlein.
(The Stranger was next to Stranger in a Strange Land.)

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2010, 07:16:57 PM »
We never did realize it was having that much impact.  Not until we were done, actually. 

We have a powerful aversion to self-importance and we hate to ever sound like those full-of-themselves writers who babble on about their craft and their sacrifice and their baring their soul and blah blah blah.  We're two people with jobs as writers, no better than anyone else with a job, no better for that matter than we were when we were waiting tables or pushing a vacuum. 

So it's good to hear such respect for our work, but we can't look each other in the eye and take ourselves seriously.  As far as we're concerned we're still a couple of dumb-asses who can't keep the house clean or pay bills on time or raise our kids competently. 

We will however take credit for introducing you to Heinlein who was Michael's personal god growing up.

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2010, 10:00:08 PM »
Hey, just my questions for KA.

1. How do you get the science to fit properly into the story so it makes sense?
2. What science fiction (or any genre) do you think influenced you when writing Animorphs and Remnents?
3. What do you think really happened during the 'regreening' process in the last Remnents book?
I loved, loved, loved Animorphs growing up, but was totally blown away by the Remnents series which I just finished reading. Love you so much!!!!


First of all, thank you so much for writing a series that's stayed with me for so long and for agreeing to answer our (probably too focused on minutia) questions.

I'm passing along a question from clibanarius at the Animorphs Livejournal community:

What happened to Qaufinijinivon and the Hork-Bajir DNA he obtained (IIRC) did he grow new (and hopefully smarter) Hork-Bajir and did they take back their planet?

Again, thank you.

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 01:27:04 AM »
1) Ah hah hah hah, good one.  We just make stuff up.  Katherine took a physics course once and instantly forgot all of it.  Michael's a high school drop out.  It's why we write fiction:  it requires so few actual facts.  By odd coincidence we were just sitting here quizzing Jake (our son, not the character) on a physics book he's reading.  He's home-schooled for now, so we wanted to be sure he's actually reading the stuff.  He just rattled off a five minute spiel on probabilities and light hitting glass and of course we understood not a word.  But we were convinced he read the book.

2) Michael was always the sci fi guy.  Katherine was the animal person.  (Oversimplifying a bit.)  M read all the old classics -- Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Dick. But actually a greater influence was probably philosophy, especially epistemology.  We both studied a bit of existential phenomenology and always were concerned with the nature of experience.  That probably had the greatest practical impact since we were very interested in the experience of seeing the world through animal eyes. 

3) To tell you the horrible truth we don't remember.  By the end of REMNANTS we were utterly burned out and running on fumes.  We'd written something like 5 million words in ten years, we had a baby after many years of being a childless couple, we were getting no sleep and we sort of staggered to the finish line like delirious marathoners.  We realize that's not a pretty picture, but you need to understand that in addition to Animorphs and Remnants we had Everworld and all the earlier series we had written -- endless numbers of books, characters, plotlines -- all crammed into our heads.  And because Jake was a lousy sleeper and had health issues we were getting 4 hours of sleep a night.  That last year was a sort of blur. There's a reason we quit when we did. 

The passed along question:  We never speculate about what would have happened in some theoretical continuation of a story.   It's the reader's job to decide what happens next. 


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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 08:06:59 AM »
Thank you so much for coming around to answer our questions; I think you know how wonderful you two are.

Part of why your books are just as important to me as a college student as they were in elementary school is because you deal with a lot of very dark topics and refuse to offer any easy answers. Was there ever times when your publishers asked you to leave out darker parts of the books or make them more kid-friendly? What were they? Did you?

Hi! Firstly, I'd just like to say how much I love your books. They were pretty much the thing I was obsessed with as a kid, and when I re-read them all again recently...well, let's just say as a 23 year old I have now gotten obsessed all over again! So thanks so much for writing them.

As for my question...I'd like to know if you decided on last names for any of the Animorphs other than Jake. And if you did, what are they?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 08:10:24 AM by Richard »

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2010, 12:21:58 AM »
Neither of us can recall any time when Scholastic asked us to cut anything.  Partly this is because we don't think they were paying much attention after about book #4.  The monthly book thing was tough for them to keep up with.

We are both addicted to ambiguity.  We just kind of hate simplistic answers to complicated questions.  And we also really hate lecturing or acting like we have all the answers.  In most cases we want to lay out the facts, lay out the issues, and let the readers figure out what they think.  There are issues where we take a stand -- on racism, for example since we don't really think there are two sides to that -- but in most cases we think it's boring to say, "Here's what you should think."

It's very cool for example that religious readers and non-religious readers have written us letters saying, "I've taken your books to heart."  Much the same with the GONE series by the way, which deals with a lot of "political" and moral issues but which doesn't really say "this is what you should think."

Not our business to tell you what to think, it's our business to tell you to think.

Now, we have a question which you can repost in some better location:  Digital publishing makes the monthly series possible again.  (Bookstores hate them, but in digital we don't have bookstores.)  Would you -- or your younger incarnations -- buy and read digital books released on a monthly basis?  And when you think about it, what price seems fair?

This is a new area and we're trying to get a handle on it.


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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 01:04:41 AM »
One of our members started a thread / discussion to talk about the digital publishing question you brought up. You can follow the discussion here.




It's maybe not a question you've been asked before, (certainly not one of the more popular ones), but did you ever think about making a character gay? Not as in, to have a token character, but just as a purely creative decision? Or, did you, but as it was a series aimed at kids/young adults, Scholastic wouldn't allow it? I read on a fanfiction a while ago that the writer claimed he talked to you years ago, and you said Tom was meant to be gay, but Scholastic wouldn't allow it, (even though I discovered he was BSing) but it got me thinking. Like one episode of the Animorphs TV series (which you probably haven't seen) where Ax and Marco danced, as Jake and Cassie and Tobias and Rachel were dancing. I thought it was pretty gutsy to have a reference to gay boy scouts in book #23, and this also led me to wonder, as I'm sure there are some gay fans of Animorphs out there.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 01:08:43 AM by Richard »

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Re: Ask K.A. Applegate / Michael Grant Questions! (part deux)
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 12:09:14 AM »
The closest we got in ANIMORPHS was Ax who was, in his human morph, a combination of male and female DNA.  That was a sort of veiled thing, but beyond tweaking people's sensibilities we never went anywhere with it.

So no, we never did have an openly gay character in ANIMORPHS.  It's a shame.  We don't know whether Scholastic would have had a problem with it or not, and of course sex was way, way off the table with Ani so in some ways it was irrelevant.  But we could have done it, we should have, but we didn't.

In GONE of course Michael has one major character who is openly gay -- Dekka -- and her seemingly doomed love for Brianna is discussed in LIES and more in PLAGUE.  There's another major character who will likely be revealed as gay. 

In writing ANIMORPHS (and other K.A. series) and in GONE we have jointly and severally tried to talk politics and philosophy without showing our hand, without preaching.  But we are nevertheless strongly of the opinion that the United States does not -- or at least should not -- have different classes of citizen.  All Americans should have the same rights without reference to color, religion, gender or sexual orientation.  We hope we will soon see the day when gay Americans have the same rights -- including the right to serve openly in the military and marry the people they love -- as straight Americans.   

We could have made a small contribution to that but we didn't.  Not our proudest moment.