We were privileged to have Michael Grant as one of our guests during Summerteen, the virtual conference we participated in with School Library Journal on August 9th. We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you part of the chat session he participated in with us and the conference attendees…
Conversation with Michael Grant…
Random House: How are you today, Michael?
Michael Grant: Great. The sun is out and that’s all it takes.
Random House: I agree!
Random House: We are so happy to have you in the booth- we know you have a very loyal following of both YA and adult readers- we meet them often at conferences!
Michael Grant: My fans are the best. He says, sucking up.
Random House: First question… Do you think the YA reader is more critical of the character choices between right and wrong?
Michael Grant: No, actually, I think they’re pretty forgiving. They take a sophisticated approach and generally appreciate that my characters are all shades of gray.
Random House: Do you think the area of right and wrong perhaps gets grayer as we get older, and this is why the elements of good and bad are more essential to this aged reader, even though they are also more forgiving?
Michael Grant: I think actually that kids are better about shades of gray than adults. Adults become more harshly judgmental. Kids tend to be less rigid.
Attendee: What are you working on now?
Michael Grant: Well, I finished BZRK 2 a couple weeks ago and I’m nearing the end of LIGHT. Then on to MAGNIFICENT 12 #4.
Attendee: Where did you get the idea for the BZRK series?
Michael Grant: The idea for BZRK came because I was looking for anew way to scare and creep people out. I realized I couldn’t keep going bigger — I mean, the Cloverfield monster, Godzilla, Aliens. So I went smaller. Much smaller.
Random House: Speaking to that…I love how at the core of BZRK, life at the micro and macro level seem to have equal power- do you think this is especially appealing to a person whose body is in the middle of changing and really does feel as if it may take over?
Michael Grant: I do sometimes riff off puberty – the ANIMORPHS series being the ultimate example. But with BZRK I didn’t think much about it being specifically YA, so that wasn’t a big part of my thinking.
Random House: another element of BZRK seems to be about right and wrong- and how sometimes they really can feel close to the same thing- sometimes the “good” guys are not really so different then the “bad” guys- is this how you feel?
Michael Grant: I’m fascinated with the line between good and evil. Situational morality, absolutes, all of that. With GONE and now with BZRK philosophy is always involved.
Random House: Yes, which I feel always make the best stories- and why a story can grow…
Random House: That being said…can you give us a sneak peak into BZRK2
Michael Grant: I guess my niche is Philosophy That Gives You Nightmares. A sneak peek? How about this: the President commits a horrifying crime under the influence of nanobots.
Attendee: I do enjoy those books that make you think about your personal line between good and evil; it is good for young people to read stories that make them ponder this, too
Random House: yes– lots of nightmares from your books! Especially from a wimp like me!
Attendee: Can you say more about the movie for BZRK?
Michael Grant: We have a movie deal with Sam Raimi and Sony. There is now a screenwriter attached, as they say in Hollywood. But that’s not a guarantee that a movie gets made. Call it a 1 in 10 shot right now.
If you would like a copy of the full interview, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org