An Author Joins Us: Michael Grant talks about BZRK, and more!
You know a book with the title BZRK (pronounced berserk) is going to be a bit different, and it certainly is. I’m a reader who generally likes realistic, angst-filled YA, but my tastes continue to broaden the longer I read and sell books. Chalk one up for continued expansion of my literary tastes, because I loved this one, and had great fun selling it as I described it to my booksellers as “The Bourne Identity meets Hunger Games….with Science”. Impossible to put down and filled with plot twists to keep you reading late into the night, I can hardly wait to read BZRK II. -Kate
Here’s Michael Grant to give you his perspective on BZRK, writing and his books in the GONE series.
What book made the strongest impression on you as a child?
A weird mix of The Hardy Boys and Charles Dickens. Maybe Oliver Twist. There were times in my life when I wished I was an urchin.
What is one thing about you that would surprise your readers?
I’ve had a very strange past but now have a very boring, middle-class-daddy life.
What was your favorite genre to read as a teenager?
Science fiction. No question. Clarke and Heinlein and Asimov. Those guys.
As an author, how do you feel about the role social media plays in your writing life?
I’m very conflicted about social media. Half the time I think it’s great. It’s fun to interact with fans. But it also eats up time I could be using to write.
BZRK is the first of a trilogy, without spoilers, can you share a bit of what’s next for your characters?
The themes of BZRK involve the nature of reality and free will. Somewhat to my surprise BZRK 2 is a lot about love. Plus the usual intense action, tension, fear and general creepiness of course.
What inspired you to write BZRK?
I don’t think in terms of inspiration. It’s too grand a word for me. My job is to make up stories, so that’s what I do. As to where the ideas come from, I have no idea. One minute there’s nothing, and the next minute there’s an idea.
You are best known for your GONE series, what are the similarities and differences between that series and BZRK?
I don’t pull my punches in either book. I go where the story needs to go, and I let my characters be what they need to be. My characters are never all good or all bad, but I do still believe there is evil in the world and decent people – even difficult, dangerous, unreliable decent people – have an obligation to resist evil.
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
It’s probably strange but I often end up identifying most closely with the female characters and with the villains. In GONE I love writing Diana, and in BZRK it’s Sadie, who takes the name Plath. In GONE I love my bad guys — Caine and especially psychopathic Drake. In BZRK I’m enjoying the Armstrong Twins.
Are you already thinking about what you’d like to do after BZRK?
Yep. I even already know what I’m doing, but I’ll reveal that at some other point.
What has your favorite event or fan experience been so far?
Oh there have been a lot. In New Zealand I visited a school where the students performed a Maori dance. I had a great time at the Edinburgh book festival in Scotland. But I also had a great time hanging out with intense fans in a stuffy little library room in Milwaukee a couple of years ago.
Do you plan to continue writing young adult novels or do you think you might write for adults at some point?
I expect to write books aimed at adults as well, but with BZRK I’m writing quite a few adult characters so I don’t see BZRK as being at all limited. Then again, I never have felt limited writing for kids.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Have a life. If you want to be a writer – at least one who makes a living – you have to have some talent, you have to have read and written, but most of all you need to see something of life.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Not really. There are bad days or even bad weeks, but not anything I’d think of as writer’s block.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Actually the two opening scenes. The first is creepy and atmospheric, and that’s where I kind of thought, “Oh, okay, this is how I’m writing this book.” Then the second scene, which I won’t describe, but which is unexpected, out of control action.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Yes. Thanks for reading, thanks for trusting me with your entertainment dollar, thanks for overlooking or at least tolerating my quirks. And I have a promise: You have never read anything like BZRK.
Curious to know more about BZRK & Michael Grant? You can follow Michael on Twitter @thefayz and follow the books @gobzrk
Share your thoughts in our comments section too.