QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

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Re: QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

Postby ApplegateGrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:41 am

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.
ApplegateGrant
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Re: QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

Postby ApplegateGrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:44 am

John3Sobieski wrote:Did you ever have a timeline in mind that would correspond to real life events? Being a history buff, that would really interest me. It would also be extremely useful to fanfiction writers such as myself and capnnerefir."


Good lord no. We have never been that organized. You know when we realized we had to file corporate taxes on March 16th? On March 16th. We sort of lurch from crisis to crisis, making life up as we go. M also reads history, but that has not enabled him to become any more organized.
ApplegateGrant
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Re: QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

Postby ApplegateGrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:45 am

Luna May wrote:I would like to know how it feels like to know that people all around the globe have dedicated a fair slice of their childhood to your series. I, for example, live in Israel. I've been hooked since the age of ten. I can't even start to describe how much the series changed me as a person- from my way of thinking about morals and philosophy, to the understanding of a new kind of humor, writing style, plot structure and overall content.
I would also like to mention that the series was what connected between me and sci-fi, which I've came to love.
It also gave me a lot to draw, write and think about for years and years; my slight obsession with the series has manifested itself into Windowlites (link here), short fics, long musings, endless doodles, and even (embarrasingly enough) a book report. I even took #18 overseas with me on a trip to Argentina. The librarians were amused. As an eleven year old, I could tell that much.


We remember when we first got the Hebrew edition. It was so cool. We were like, 'Yay! It's backward!'

M's friend Alex called from the middle of Spain, way out in the desert and said, 'You are never going to believe what I just saw on the shelf at a gas station out here. Animorphs in Catalan.'

As mentioned in an earlier answer, we have an aversion to taking ourselves seriously. It's extremely cool to hear that readers learned something, saw the world differently. But we resist all temptation to start pumping up our egos. Maybe that's selfish in a way, and it feels almost self-protective. One of our earliest conversations as a couple involved the fact that you can choose to see life either as fundamentally comic, or fundamentally tragic. We definitely chose comic. And that doesn't mix well with an inflated ego and self-seriousness. So we love the idea that we did something important to people . . . and then we laugh it off.
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Re: QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

Postby ApplegateGrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:46 am

katie310117 wrote:Will the rereleased books be edited in any way? Typos fixed, or more importantly, KASUS (Particularly the Canon-busting ones like Jake using thought-speech while a human in book 1)?


This is all in the category of, "Your guess is as good as ours." It's all very preliminary at this point and no one has had a serious conversation yet.
ApplegateGrant
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Re: QnA With the Authors of Animorphs

Postby ApplegateGrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:49 am

capnnerefir wrote:1.) In book 8, Alloran (while tempoarily free of Visser Three's control) informed Ax that the Yeerks were on the Andalite Homeworld. This theme was echoed in book 18 (Ax gets worried when Visser Three morphs an Andalite bird), but it seems that nothing ever came of it after that. Is there any particular reason you dropped this plot point?

2.) Was The One the being responsible for showing Jake the alternate reality he experienced in book 41? Or was it another being entirely? Or did you just never speculate about that.

3.) Do you remember if there are any ideas for the series that you rejected (things like adding a new Animorph to the team, introducing new villains, etc.)?

4.) A great story isn't worth much if no one publishes it. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers when it comes to getting published?

5.) With the exception of the 1st Megamorphs book, all of the others involve time travel. Did you choose that theme on purpose?



1. Yes. We probably forgot it. Sometimes when you write a series you sort of scatter seeds, hoping one will grow. Unfortunately many are just eaten by birds.

2. The One is a purely future creation/event, not entwined in the backstory.

3. Yes: morphing starfish. That came from an editor because she liked the idea of the cover. We were like, how are we kicking anyone's butt as a cute little seahorse?

4. The business is going digital. And probably self-published digital. So in addition to writing skills you're going to need marketing skills. The times they are a changin'. If you want to sell books in the next 5 years it'll be tha fairly traditional route. But after that the power will flow from publishers to writers. It's scary, but life changes.

5. No. One of many examples of where we just sort of realized, "Whoa, we made a choice without knowing it."
ApplegateGrant
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