TwistyWristy wrote:1. Did you ever have a desire to or wonder how Animorphs might turn out if you were writing for a slightly older audience?
2. It's been nearly 14 years since the very first Animorph book was published; what has the Animorphs series meant to you and what did you first imagine the Animorphs series would become?
3. Everyone always ask what your favorite books are but I'd love to know, what were your least favorite books?
4. Are there any characters that you hate or hated having to write?
5. When you visited people while doing research for your books, are there any particular experiences that stick out in your mind? I can only imagine you must have seen a great deal of animals up close and I'm especially curious as to whether you ever got any personal tours of jets, tanks or carriers?
1. Well, we'd probably have more graphic violence. Although we never held back much on that. But mostly we'd probably have to age the characters up and that brings sex into the picture. Oy
2. It meant different things at different levels. First of all, we were just on the verge of giving up on series. It was on the razor's edge. We'd been disappointed with the lack of success of our various YA series (BOYFRIENDS/GIRLFRIENDS being the one at that point.) We were fairly bitter, actually. At this time we were living in Sarasota, in a garden apartment complex. We used to walk around the complex at night to get exercise when it was slightly less hot and humid. And we talked as we walked. K basically felt 'screw it, we can't make it in series.' M was still pushing for a series. K said, okay then we're done with YA, I want to write middle grade. M said, okay, you're right.' And then M asked, 'Look, forget everything we've done. If there's one thing you could write, what would it be?' K said, 'I would really love to put kids into the heads of animals, to let them see that experience.' M said, 'That's a sci fi premise. We're going to need aliens.'
A year later we were making millions of dollars.
So first there was the rush of success. Being so close to giving up and then deciding not to. It was big-time validation.
Only slowly did it dawn on us that there were such things as 'fans.' And that they were paying attention. That sounds weird but neither of us is into the big ego thing. We don't take ourselves very seriously. Both of us have a deep allergy to bullshit or self-aggrandizement. Don't forget, we were together back when we were both waiting tables, and when we were cleaning toilets. We knew we were just these two somewhat immature dumbasses who had no right to get all solemn and serious. So in a strange way ANIMORPHS was like us having to grow up and take responsibility for our careers. Yes, we were in our 40's, but you'd be amazed how long you can hold onto a sense of irresponsibility.
At the same time (around book #11) we were becoming parents. So it was very much like, "OMG, we have to grow up!" A hit book series, a whole big company in part relying on us, editors, media, cover artists, fans, teachers. Plus a kid. Suddenly we had investment advisors and lawyers and a nice car and a house. It was definitely a sudden transition from really, really old teenagers to adults.
Then, there followed a period in which it was just work, work, work, try to keep up. Kind of manic, especially after we moved to 14 books per year.
The last period has been in some ways the sweetest: the discovery that despite our own dumbassery and lack of preparation we'd had a kind of lasting impact on readers. It sound so phony to say it and it's a horrible cliche, but it's kind of humbling. To this day we kind of look at each other and think, 'Wow, I can't believe anyone was listening to us. Did we really say anything worth listening to?' Then we think, yeah, look at all these smart fans. Who knew?
3. The second one, actually. It didn't gel for us. Also the first MEGA which was kind of a mess. The one with the poodle was also not a great moment. It's funny because no one ever liked the Helmacrons but we had a gas writing that.
4. None of the regulars. We really liked all of them. We didn't like Rachel all that much at the beginning, but she so grew on us over time. We both felt we became too reliant on Erek the Chee, but liked that we had him there for the last book.
5. No jets, sadly. M would have liked that. But K actually worked at an animal rescue shelter in Minnesota that became the model for Cassie and her dad's shelter. They were closely involved with a Raptor center that led us to Redtails.