INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MICHAEL GRANT
Q: What gave you the idea to write The Magnificent Twelve?
A: Well, there’s my deep desire to avoid getting a real job. Actually, I wanted to write something funny. The GONE series has very little humor. In fact, none. Which is odd because in real life I take nothing seriously. So I wanted to do something witty and funny because that’s closer to who I am as a person.
Q: How do you want people to feel after reading The Magnificent Twelve?
A: Look, I love it when someone makes me laugh. So it would be very cool if I felt I was doing that for readers.
Q: What makes Mack and the rest of the Twelve so special?
A: Each of the Twelve is descended from one of the great heroes of long ago: the first knights, the first samurai, the first great warriors in the the battle between good and evil.
Q: Why did you choose to pit twelve-year-olds against the Pale Queen?
A: Because older people lose the ability to see things as they are, to see the magic in the world. On the other hand, go much younger and you see nothing but magic. Twelve is the sweet spot: young enough to still see magic, but wise enough to know something of the world.
Q: How many books will be in the Magnificent 12 series?
A: We’ll just have to wait and see how the series unfolds.
Q: What makes Mack different from other heroes?
A: He’s a leader. Leadership is a weird thing. You never quite know who’s a leader until there’s some kind of crisis. Then it’s suddenly obvious.
Q: Were you anything like Mack at his age?
A: I hadn’t thought about it, but yeah, I guess I was. I was a good talker, moderately amusing, sarcastic, brave in some ways, and a huge wimp in others. Hmmm.
Q: Why did you decide to draw the members of the Twelve from all over the world?
A: I was hoping to get some free travel out of it. That plus it just makes sense: If you’re going to save the world, then don’t you need the whole world to help out?
Q: What areas of the world do you plan to send Mack to throughout the series?
A: I’m not totally settled on that, but so far definitely Australia, China, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, maybe India, maybe South America, but I haven’t decided which country. I’m also thinking of Indonesia because I’d love a good excuse to visit.
Q: Have you traveled to any of the places Mack will go to?
A: I’ve traveled all over Europe but have not been to the Far East despite the fact that our daughter is from China. Various complications meant I had to stay in the States while my wife went to pick her up. I was so jealous.
Q: Why did you decide to include an entirely new language in the series?
A: I looked to the original for inspiration: Tolkien himself, who used language as his starting point for Lord of the Rings. I thought, now that’s the way to build a magical world! So I followed in Tolkien’s footsteps and started with a language, using that as the taking-off point for the magical elements in the series.
Q: How did you come up with the Vargran language? How many words have you created so far?
A: It’s a work in progress. I have fifty verbs so far and about that many nouns.
Q: Who’s your favorite character in the series?
A: Risky. I always love the villains.
Q: What’s your writing process like?
A: Well, it involves a lot of two-finger typing. I like to write outside. So if it’s warm enough I go into the backyard with a cup of coffee and my MacBook. I put on headphones with some loud music. And then I bang away until I have a book.
Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve written 150 books. No, you don’t have wax in your ears. I said one hundred and fifty. In your face, Stephen King! Granted, my books are shorter than his. And less popular. And less likely to be made into a major motion picture. But hey, a number’s a number, right? Most of those books—and by “most”, I mean almost all—I wrote with my wife, the lovely, the talented, the eternally beautiful Katherine Applegate (K.A.). But the GONE series I wrote on my own.
Now, on to the personal stuff . . .
Q: What’s the one song that would best describe you?
A: “I Don’t Want to Grow Up.”
Q: Was your first crush anything like Risky?
A: I’d have to say my first crush was the Jaguar XKE. That’s right: a car.
Q: What would your perfect day include?
A: Let’s see, I’d start with breakfast at the beach, then take a ride on a roller coaster, then go on a walk through a new city, and finally dinner at Alinea in Chicago. Children of mine: Are you taking notes??
Q: What would you be if you couldn’t be a writer?
A: A chef. In fact, I cook breakfast for my wife every single day. I’ll take that husband-of-the-year prize right about now.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what book would you bring with you?
A: Lord of the Rings.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing or reading?
A: Let’s see, I chauffeur my kids around . . . I watch TV . . . and of course I do a lot of work in theoretical physics and um, brain surgery, and then I translate Babylonian poetry and advise the president on economics. That’s all true, right up to the word TV.
Q: What’s your favorite item of clothing?
A: That’s easy: a plain black T-shirt.