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Friday, November 2, 2012

NYMBC Interview: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Page Count: 291 pages
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And girl created boy…

In the beginning, there was an apple—

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?
At the beginning of the month I went to the book launch for Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate, hosted by Not Your Mother's Book Club. I had the awesome experience of interviewing the amazing married couple/author team and oh my God they were amazing. So, I've finally managed to transcribe the interview, mostly word for word, and here's the fantastic outcome!

Author Interview: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

ME: If you could create the perfect human, what characteristics and personality types would he/she have?
Michael Grant: She would be exactly like my wife, in every single detail and nothing would be changed.
ME: Exactly?
MG: Of course, 'cause I've been married for 33 years and I know better
ME: You're very well trained!
MG: What am I gonna screw that up? No.
Katherine Applegate: laughs hystericallyNow I will tell you, he would have a lot of Michael's traits.
MG: But only some.
KA: He would have a great sense of humor, broad shoulders, and resiliant. Dog friendly which is definitely not on Michael's list.
KA: And broad shoulders.
MG: Not a big pet person.
ME: What cat about friendly?
KA: And cat friendly.
MG: I don't hate cats as much.
KA: But she hates him.
MG: She fears me for some reason, and I'll tell you why. Because every time we go on a trip and we have to take her to the kennel, and she's very clever about knowing when she's going to the kennel, so I'm the guy who has to chase her out from underneath the bed with a broom. Like, I'm the guy who every three months comes in and tries to kill her with a broom. Hence the resentment.
ME: So he would be an animal lover?
KA: You know, I don't know, it makes it more of a challenge this way. Because I forced menageries on Michael, our whole long existence together. And he's tolerated it, and I like a challenge. No, he's perfect in every way.
MG: Perfect in every way, I think that's the quote you're going with.
KA: Okay go with perfect in every way.
ME: Okay, well it's all on record here so...
KA: I know, that's what scares me!
MG: Then don't say what we want you to say and it'll be great!
ME: But really it only matters that you say she is perfect in every way.
MG: Exactly, she is perfect in every way.
ME: She has freedom to say whatever she wants.
KA: Exactly.
MG: Honest to God, it was love at first sight. At least on my part.
KA: It was love almost at first sight. I was wary. Because I sensed trouble and I was right.
MG: We'll probably tell this out there because it's inappropriate,
KA: Oh I hate this story.
MG: We moved in together after knowing each other for 24 hours.
ME: Oh wow!
KA: Yeah exactly, what a slut right?
MG: Like the next day. Like, we have two apartments we're paying two rents,
KA: We lived in the same apartment complex.
MG: Like right next to each other.
KA: And he was right next door.
ME: So it just made sense.
KA: So it was... yeah.. it made a perfect bunch of sense.
ME: Save on rent..?
KA: Yeaah. And air conditioning in Texas is expensive.
MG: We were poor.
KA: Yeah, we were very poor. We had to ration the air conditioning.
ME: But at least you had air conditioning.
MG: True, we'd use to to occasionally stun the cockroaches.
KA: Which were like 3 inches long.
MG: We would turn on the AC and see if we could slow the cockroaches down enough to kill them.
ME: Alright... well...
MG: Good times.
ME: Sounds like a lot of fun!
Laughter
ME: Also, I love how science-y Eve is, and how intelligent she is, what was your experience with science in high school like?
KA: giggles
MG: Uh.. you took physics didn't you?
KA: I did! I did, and I somehow managed to get an A. Um, but, I just could not tell you a thing I learned. But um, I think we managed to bullshit pretty well. Can you say that?
ME: Hey, it's my blog I can say whatever I want!
MG: Wikipedia. And Google.
KA: Yeah, thank God for the internet. When we did Animorphs we didn't have that access and we were doing a book a month.
MG: We had like, thousands of books, like boxes and boxes of animal books. It was insane, I just got rid of a bunch of stuff when we moved out of North Carolina overseas to Italy.
KA: Yeah, major nonfiction library.
MG: Like dozens of boxes of stuff. Like those field guides of animals? That's how we'd done all the research because you didn't have the internet.
ME: Oh yeah, it's really interesting to think aboout that.
MG: And now it's just like BOOM right there, what I need to know.
KA: It was so hard.
MG: You need to know how DNA works? Okay here's an article, go to wikipedia.
ME: Did you have to do similar research with Eve and Adam?
KA: Yeah, a bit.
MG: It was all kinda stuff we already knew. To be serious, I'm very interested in the ethics of genetic science in the question of whether or not once we discover that some behaviors are genetically based, are we going to have the same ideas about good and evil, and right and wrong? Are we going to be able to maintain those same paradigms or are the going to fall apart in light of more understanding of it? So I've always been interested in that. But I will say this, if anybody is writing a school paper on genetics based on Eve and Adam that would be a really big mistake.
KA: busts into laughter
MG: There gonna wanna do some more research. Don't come to us looking for hard science.
ME: Good thing I'm not a science major. One thing that I thought was really interesting is the fact that you're married and writing together. How did your personal relationship affect your writing process? Do you think that it made writing easier? Or more difficult?
KA: You know the first round, when we did Animorphs, it was hard. Because we had a new born baby, and we were doing a book a month, and we had never done it before. We had collaborated as ghost writers, but something about Animorphs felt different. We took it more seriously. We did a lot of YA romances, we even did a couple Harlequin romances, that's how we started out. Our dirty little secret, and they were so bad. And they look so easy to write and they're so not easy. This time we resisted collaborating again and did it kind of under pressure from an editor who encouraged us to do it. And I thought it was a lot easier.
MG: I think it went really well, I was surprised. We thought we'd be like fighting each other like we used to do in the old days, but now we have kids and we're more mature. We don't do that kind of thing anymore.
KA: We told the editor that we should insert a claus in the contract covering marriage counseling. Did not come to that fortunately.
MG: Back in the old days when we were doing YA romances I remember one like epic fight where you [Katherine Applegate] were like crying in the shower about something about whether or not we were gonna do a sex scene, and some editor said yeah they should just go ahead and have sex and you didn't want to and I did.
KA: I know, it just was like how do you define where the lines are drawn in what we're writing, but this one was easy.
**Michael Grant then proceeded to pitch The One and Only Ivan at me because Katherine wrote it and apparently it's “her at the top of her game”**
MG: She is a much better writer than I am.
KA: That's not true, I write small and I think a lot about word choice. Michael is plot. He is amazing, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of plot.
MG: You know why? Star Trek. It's all Star Trek plots.
KA: When I'm stuck I go straight to Michael and I go, “Okay why is this plot not working?”
ME: So then it must have made writing together move smoothly, because of that.
MG: It's like any good relationship, a lot like our married life. We both share all the housework, we both share the kids, but sometimes you get resentful, like, “Why did you leave me here?” or “Why would you give me that chapter and I have no idea where the hell you're going?” All those same kind of domestic issues carried over.
KA: And this time I think we were a lot more comfortable editing each other. When we were younger it was very defensive, and now it's like, “Oh whatever.”
MG: We were under such time pressure too. Even back when we were doing YA romance it was always a gun to our heads, get this done.
KA: And we've been edited a lot. We've been through a lot of books now so you kind of go, “Yeah you know what, it isn't very good.” I just threw away a book that I'd been working on for three years and I had real doubts about it and I showed it to Michael and I said “Is this working?” and he said, “Nope.” And my editor had said the same thing. And I kept trying to make it work, and that's painful, but it's nice to have somebody in house that can help you through that.
ME: Did you choose to each write a different POV for the book, like one of you wrote Eve and the other wrote Solo?
MG: We thought about that early on, but it didn't end up working and I'll tell you the real reason why, we could give you a lot of bullshit answers, but the real reason is there's a lot more Eve and that would have been her, and she didn't wanna have to do extra work. So. It was like, no you have to do half.
KA: Well and also she was a lot more of a straight man. She was the reader ID character and the reader ID character is never as interesting as say, Aislin or Adam, they were more fun.
MG: Yeah, so what I'm gonna write all the fun stuff and she's gonna write the straight man. No, not so good.
KA: I would liken it to making sausage or legislation, it was very messy. And there's no clear line of demarkation between who did what.
MG: And honestly, now we could not go back through that thing and go, “I wrote this and you wrote this.” You never can. It's funny we've written like a hundred books together, like we claim credit for the same stuff.
KA: If it's good I wrote it.
ME: Are there any epic fights that you got into while you were writing? Like any moments where one of you wanted to keep it and the other wanted to eliminate it?
KA: No there were no fights over content, once we had it. I think we were very flexible about input. But before we started we fought about whether we could do it. We didn't think we could collaborate again.
MG: She always like to take a lot of time to prep for stuff and I don't, I just wanna charge in. This is like an ongoing conflict. She has to have the first part of the book like perfect in her head, and I don't care because I'm gonna go ahead and charge it anyways. So I'm more of a charge ahead and she's more of a planner. But we went into it so nervous that we were gonna have problems that we didn't.
KA: Also, I'm a procrastinator, and Michael is really efficient, so I thought that was going to be a problem. But in this one we found a balance, maybe because there were two of us.
MG: That'll fall apart in the next one.
KA: Yeah, cuz we're doing another one.
ME: Yeah, you'll be doing Adam and Eve next?
MG: Looks like we're doing a sequel.
KA: Is it called Adam and Eve?
ME: That's what it says in the back of the book laughs
KA: Okay, then it is. Thank you for letting us know that. I guess we should know that shouldn't we?
MG: I hadn't really thought about it much, but okay.
KA: Yeah, come to think of it that rings a bell. It actually started out as Adam and Eve.
MG: We're rewriting the bible one chapter at a time.
KA: It morphed into Eve and Adam, the editor had the idea.
MG: So we went from there and kind of got into it and I think it was probably you [Katherine] that started it.
KA: I was signing our letters as Eve and Adam as a good feminist and our editor said “Hey that's a good idea let's just call it that.” She's very good at concepts, she's the godmother to Babysitter's Club, Goosebumps, and Animorphs and Cinder and lots of books.
ME: Are you planning on working on anything else together, separately from this series?
KA: Probably not, because we wanna stay married.
MG: And we have so much work, I'm already committed to 7 other books.
KA: We have a lot of other projects, and I think we don't want to push the envelope, it's worked so far.
MG: It's not as efficient as working by ourselves, you don't get as much covered, you don't get as much done. And I've got a lot of stuff I have to do.
KA: And apparently we have a sequel. Since you've informed us.
MG: It's called Eve and Adam.
ME: It's called Adam and Eve. Your current book is called Eve and Adam.
MG: I get confused. Or some biblical reference. We don't know.
KA: What are we calling it? Biblical sci fi?
MG: Biblical-sci-fi-rom-com-thriller. That's a thing.
KA: It is now.
MG: We just invented it.
MG: And read The One and Only Ivan.
KA: My favorite book of Michael's is Magnificent 12!
MG: Which nobody buys.
KA: It's so funny!!! I think it'll have an adult cult following.


Katherine Applegate
Author Website | Twitter | Facebook
Applegate was born in Michigan in 1956. Since then she has lived in Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina, and after living in Pelago, Italy for a year, she has moved back to Southern California. She has an eleven year old son named Jake Mates, although she says the Animorph leader is not named after him. In 2003 she and her husband, Michael Grant, her co-author on many projects including Animorphs, adopted their daughter, Julia, in China.[citation needed] Following the end of Animorphs, Applegate took three years off. She is back at work and has written a picture book called "The Buffalo Storm," a middle reader novel called "Home of the Brave," and an early chapters series "Roscoe Riley Rules" with Harper Collins. Her book "Home of the Brave" has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the Bank Street 2008 Josette Frank Award, and is a Judy Lopez Memorial Award honor book.


Michael Grant
Author Website | Twitter | Facebook
I was born in a manger and grew up in a log cabin where I read law books by firelight. . . Oh, wait, that wasn't me, that was someones else.

I had a hard childhood. Hard for my parents. Not that bad for me. I was an Army brat, moved around a lot. Then I didn't settle down. I just kept moving. Why? What inner turmoil drove me? Mmmm, I gotta say none. I just have a short attention span. Easily bored.

I'm living in Tiburon, CA right now. How much longer? Don't know.

I've written 150 books. That's right, I said 150. In your face, Stephen King. Granted, mine are shorter than his. And less popular. And less likely to be made into a major motion picture. And I guess i don't play in a band with Dave Barry, either, do I?

Sorry: Salieri complex acting up.

Most of those books -- and by "most" I mean 149 out of 150 -- I wrote with my wife, the lovely, the talented, the eternally hot, Katherine (K.A.) Applegate. We've been together for 29 years. Which is a long time. Looooong time. Sweet lord what a long . . . No babe, I'm not implying anything.

Damn internets: you never know who's reading things.

Anyway, GONE. My goal in writing GONE? To creep you out. To make you stay up all night reading, then roll into school tired the next day so that you totally blow the big test and end up dropping out of school.

GONE. Imagine a world where every adult vanishes in an instant.

Coming soon, a whole other series: BZRK

5 comments:

  1. This was hilarious, cute, and sweet..thank you for sharing this..loved it and I cannot wait to read Eve and Adam.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear God I think I just died! They are such a hilarious, cute couple. I think I died multiple times from laughter earning me a few odd looks. I need to get my hands on Eve and Adam. Its been on my to-read list for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OW! *clutches ribs due to too much laughter* My ribs ..oh, thank you for the interview. That was amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not even sure what to say about this...it was just so funny! HAHAHA! I hope I get the chance to meet them someday. They seem like loads of fun.

    I think this was my favorite line: "If it's good I wrote it." Ha! If I had to pick a fave line, that is. ;)

    Great interview, Anna!
    ♥Jessica(:
    Just a Booklover

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks so much for taking the time to type this entire interview, Anna! It's absolutely hysterical. :D I haven't read Eve and Adam yet, but this interview makes me want to run out and pick up a copy immediately.
    -Rachel

    ReplyDelete

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According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from Goodreads.com unless otherwise stated.
 
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