Author Confessions: Michael Grant
Michael Grant is the bestselling author of the young adult series GONE and the highly-rated BZRK trilogy. He's also co-authored over 100 titles with his wife Katherine Applegate.
Michael is touring his latest novel, The Messenger of Fear, around the UK at the moment. We crossed the border, tracked him down and cajoled him into our Author Confessions booth for a quick heart-to-heart.
Where do you stand on spinebreaking?
Whose? Do I get to choose?
How do you react to bad reviews?
Certainly not by sending anthrax-laced letters to the reviewer. I categorically deny that rumour. I would not want any reviewer to feel in any way intimidated. Cautious, maybe, but not intimidated.
What's the most over-rated book of all time?
The Bible. There's some good stuff in there, no mistake, but as a book it's a mess. Character development is all over the place, there's no real through line in terms of plot, entire chapters could be cut and where's the love triangle? There's barely a female character at all, let alone one who has to choose between, say, a pouty Judean vampire and a perpetually shirtless Samaritan loner who only seems cold but is really just misunderstood.
Who would play you in a movie?
James Gandolfini if he were alive. Danny DeVito if he were taller. Brendan Coyle if he could do an American accent. Jennifer Lawrence if I had a whole lot of surgery done. But in any event, all my dialogue would be written by Armando Iannucci.
I can cut Hamlet's entire soliloquy down to seven words: "I say, shall I just kill myself?"
When do you write best?
It depends. Sometimes I write it after "I'm the —." Other times it goes right before, "— not, we'll probably get caught."
What is your worst writing habit?
The traditional Daughters of Charity habit. That's the one with the big cornette, the wings like The Flying Nun used to have in the ancient TV series. First of all, the starch irritates my scalp, and while the cornette does block the sun, it also tends to keep my cigar smoke hovering around my face and stinging my eyes. The Carmelite habit's not too bad if you roll up the sleeves, but only the cotton, the polyester chafes if you don't shave your legs.
Do you ever mentally edit someone else's work while you read?
Of course. I can cut Hamlet's entire soliloquy down to seven words: "I say, shall I just kill myself?" Of course that's for the London stage. If it's being performed in New York: "Am I killing myself here, or what? Hey, whaddayou lookin' at? Get oudaheah, I'm soliloquizing over here." American English is sometimes wordier than British English.
Is there a book by someone else that you wish you'd written?
Take a look at the bestseller list. All the books ranked higher than mine? I wish I'd written all of those.
Is writing a pain or a pleasure?
It depends. Am I still wearing that nun's habit?
Have you ever been propositioned by a fan of your work?
Given the age of most of my fans I believe that's what we would call a felony. But it would be perfectly legal for their mothers to take a run at me. I'll be in the UK in October, a long way from home and so very, very lonely. I mean, I'm just saying.
Competition: Win a boxful of Michael Grant books!
Thanks to Michael Grant's generous publishers at Egmont, we have a big set of his books to offer one lucky winner.
That's right, enter this simple competition for a chance of winning the full GONE and BZRK series, plus a copy of his latest novel The Messenger of Fear in hardback!
To enter, just answer this simple question in the comments below or email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org marked 'Michael Grant Competition':
Name one of the actors Michael Grant thinks could play him in a movie.
Closing date: 17:00, 22 September 2014. Open to UK entrants only.
Follow Michael Grant on Twitter at @MichaelGrantBks
Into young adult fiction? Check out our themed teen book lists for great tips on what to read next.