Tag Archives: Michael Grant

2 x Michael Grant

The place I had to be on Saturday afternoon was a nearby author hotel, where I was going to interview Michael Grant. Again. (He interviews so well! How can a witch not go for him over and over again?)

Michael had just arrived in Edinburgh, but had skipped immediate jetlag by doing research in England first. Some nautical research, and a wide-eyed new discovery in the shape of the London Oxford Street branch of the shop that is never knowingly undersold. Michael loved it, and had had no idea such a place could exist.

He looked better than ever, tanned and thin, and pretty unstoppable. This time I made sure he had coffee that didn’t politely go cold, although it might have been dreadful coffee for all I know. I had the tea.

I’d been reading his new book, out later this week, the second and last in his Messenger of Fear series. I wanted to ask why he’d gone in such a new direction, and what will happen next, and then what comes after that. Lots of books, is the answer. We got to admire his daughter’s new hair, which cost a fortune, and my photographer learned some financial tips from Michael’s son (who wasn’t there, and nor was his sister).

We got longer than planned, as Michael was hungry and wanted a sandwich as well. He can eat and talk at the same time.

Afterwards we walked over to Charlotte Square for his event, and I can tell you that was one long queue he had, waiting patiently. It’s always good when there are lots of teenagers at teenage events.

It was fortunate that Michael had already shown us the disgusting images on his laptop, so they didn’t come as a complete surprise when he started off with them. (His wife doesn’t like them, either.) And he set us a problem to solve, making the tent into a sealed brick building, with monsters coming out of the floor, wanting to eat three humans. He wanted to know what our monsters looked like. (Blue, in my case. A bit blobby.)

This time Michael had decided to preempt the perennial question about where he gets his ideas from, not wanting to get annoyed, or claim that they come from Tesco, next to the yoghurt. That’s partly the reason he’d found himself this software that produces such creepy and disturbing pictures.

At one point I thought Michael claimed not to have been on a riding course (and I could just visualise him on this horse), when I worked out he’d not been on a writing course.

One of his book ideas he described to his editor as The Seventh Seal, but with fewer Swedes and more teenagers. (You can never have too many Swedes.) As for sex, that is more fun to do, than to write about. Although we learned that he has a past writing Sweet Valley Twins books, which is actually a bit disturbing.

Michael has completely ruined his editor, who has gone from someone who recoiled from his suggestions, to actively embracing them. With Messenger of Fear he put in everything he could from his own fears, which have mostly to do with his children, and if he got rid of them, his wife. (He has tried.) Then it’s fire, and small closed in places.

Michael Grant

He’d never put himself in the books, but when asked who in Gone is most like him, it’s Quinn, ‘the unreliable friend, the backstabbing little shit.’

And on that note we stampeded to the bookshop next door, where he signed books until he eventually got rid of his fans.

As for me, I can’t now unthink some of the ideas Michael has put into my head; from bricked up book festival tents, to being the one fed to the monsters.

BZRK Apocalypse

When you approach Michael Grant’s third BZRK novel, Apocalypse, it’s worth remembering what happened at the start of the first one. People died. They seemed nice, but they still died before you really got to know them. To think that the third book is likely to be sweeter and less violent than the first is plain ridiculous.

It won’t be. Can’t be. But how many deaths is Michael prepared to ’cause?’

Quite a few. You know what Apocalypse means, don’t you? That.

Michael Grant, BZRK Apocalypse

At the beginning there were the evil Armstrong Twins, and the slightly better BZRK, fighting them. The twins might be weakening, but not so BZRK. Although, that’s not as good a thing as you’d want it to be.

‘Excuse me. I believe I’m about to go mad. You may want to move away.’ That’s about as polite and collected as it gets, in this book where very many people go mad. It’s not a pretty sight, and it will not end well. Michael has a go at many people we ‘know’ and it would be wrong if he let characters miraculously survive, because they were on the same side as us.

After the first book I could see that someone like Bug Man would change and do things differently. Well, it wasn’t this kind of different I had in mind!

We learn who the main players behind our diminishing group of fighters are; the ones we’ve come to rely on, who will lead wisely, and make sure the world is all right. Hah!

This might be based on games, but there is still a strong feeling that it wouldn’t take much to make this reality. And while I believe that, I’m not so sure that the knowledge and bravery displayed by the ‘good guys’ is terribly likely to be there to help us.

A thrill all the way to the end.

BZRK Reloaded

As I got to the end of Michael Grant’s BZRK Reloaded, I read the quotes from reviews of the first BZRK, and found that some Bookwitch reckoned she’d ‘never feel safe again.’

I can say that again! It’s scary stuff, this, and you don’t really want to stop and think too hard about what it really means, or what might happen in real life. Because I am sure something like this will and can happen, sooner or later. (I’d prefer later, if ‘not at all’ isn’t an option.)

Michael Grant, BZRK Reloaded

Reloaded continues where we left the BZRK team. Or what’s left of the team, anyway. Keats and Plath are safe, and as Vincent is still a raving maniac after what was done to him, Nijinsky is leader of the group.

There is much for the team to do. The evil Armstrong twins are still at it, angrier than ever. Burnofsky has crazy ideas, and the ability to make them happen. Bug Man controls the POTUS (President of the United States).

Meanwhile in northern Finland, a Swedish spy enters the story, and the Royal Navy are not far behind. Send in the marines, that kind of thing. There is a whole world wide web (no, not that one) of evil doings and attempts at undoing them.

A new type of more advanced biots joins the war, and there are developments in the nanobots department as well. You don’t – or at least I don’t – want to read the ‘down in the meat’ bits in too much detail. Wimpy oldies can peer sideways to see what goes on, which is more than enough. The goings-on are gruesome to say the least.

It takes skill to write this sort of thing, making it look simple and effortless. I am full of admiration for Michael’s writing and plotting. I don’t want to look inside his mind, but I love reading his books. This is top notch entertainment for teens, building as it does on the kind of computer games us oldies know very little about. I get a migraine thinking of Bug Man marching his nanobots round people’s heads, and that’s without him being inside mine.

At least I think he’s not.

Some old bald dude

I never thought to scream when I met Michael Grant. Realise now that I was remiss in not giving him the superstar treatment. (I sort of thought of him as just an author. Almost normal. You know.)

Michael Grant

Having had to give Michael a miss this tour because he didn’t come my way (!) I obviously don’t know if he’s changed since we last met. And now I suppose those lovely Irish girls who screamed in Dublin will have ruined him for us sedate types.

It’s been very educational following Michael on facebook for the duration of his two weeks in the UK and Ireland. To start with; he himself is excited. While pretending not to be. He is polite to his fans. He answers their questions, even when he’s heard them all before.

Michael Grant

On the last day of his tour Michael wrote a long comment on facebook about how wonderful it had been with all the attention and the long snaking queues and the sold out empty bookshops he left behind, and all the events. He felt like some kind of rock star, and not just a curmudgeonly, maladjusted loner.

I suspect one reason for that would be that he treats his fans as though he really is. He is self-deprecating. The ‘old bald’ quote are his own words. He thinks we are cool. He almost doesn’t want to go home, seeing how cool we are. But I reckon he loves his wife too much to stay. And he’s always been very open about their romantic first meeting.

But we are cool. So please come back soon, old man. (I’ll even practise some screaming if it will help.)

The rest of you can read Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear and Light. In that order if you please. Then you can come along and assist with the screaming.

Bookwitch bites #105

Do you remember Reading Matters, the new bookshop that opened late last year in Chapel-en-le-Frith? Well, as befits an ambitious shop, they have a variety of events planned, and next Saturday they have ex-Chapel author Bernard Hardy coming to read from his local novel, Savannah Bound. This is an historical novel with its roots in the textile industry, and it’s precisely the kind of book I’d have read prior to my growing tbr pile problems. It’s also the type of book event that should do well, with both readers and author coming from not too far away.

And believe it or not, but through my letterbox the other day, came a sheet of A4, telling me about another local historical novel. Alice Frank has written A Bowdon Romance, which begins in Edgeley, and moves on to Bowdon, and features servant girl Charlotte.

Maybe it’s a recent bug, or it could be that people are always busy writing novels set locally. It’s admirably forward thinking to leaflet houses with what amounts to a home made version of the press releases I see every day. A Bowdon Romance is available to buy at the Book Exchange at Stockport Market.

It’s been a Grant kind of week for books being published. I reviewed Light by Michael Grant yesterday, and the day before was publication day for Silent Saturday by Helen Grant. Both the Grants like to scare and creep us out, and they do it so well. That’s two different kinds of gruesome for your pleasure reading…

Melvin Burgess, The Hit

Melvin Burgess also has a new book out. The Hit. For good measure he has two covers. You can have blue, or you can have red. I got a little confused over this, since I was convinced my copy was green. Or possibly yellow.

I suspect what I am remembering is the green spine. The yellow could be drugs. Or maybe the proof copy. Or not.

Anyway, there are masses of books out there for you to read!

Light

Bloody hell! If you’ll pardon my French.

When Michael Grant called his last book in the Gone series Light, this is not exactly what came to mind. I imagined it would be a slightly more hopeful ending to the ‘adventure.’ We would see the light and understand why and how it all happened. There would be a slow but secure path to the outside and we would cry a little over previous deaths, and all would be well. Essentially.

Hah! Not light, and certainly not lite. SPOILER,

but Michael has gone on a killing spree to make books one to five look like a picnic. One were the characters weren’t always the food.

Gross and revolting (but then I am an adult) and so very, very exciting and so well written that even though we wanted to get to the end, we didn’t really, and why did it have to end? After a while I wondered if Michael had a new kind of book series ending in mind. The sort were there isn’t a single character left.

But, some people did make it. And I won’t name names, but one survivor I was almost never in any doubt about. I felt Michael wouldn’t do that. I kept wondering if he’d take the advice of some fans and get rid of Astrid, who’s been surprisingly unpopular. And Sam, and Caine; why should we expect the main characters to pull through?

Because it’s customary? Michael doesn’t do ‘the done thing.’

And I can only say that adults and authorities are idiots. There were few surprises there. (I happened to read a piece by Desmond Tutu, describing what people no longer seem capable of doing, and how that’s why we have no future. My thoughts immediately went to Quinn, for some reason.)

After all the non-picnic stuff in Light (not to mention some awful actual picnicking) the book ends with the best epilogues I have ever come across in a novel. They are so often nothing but disappointments, but this was perfection.

Michael Grant, Light

I am so glad I didn’t stop after Gone. (But certain images are ones I will attempt to erase from my mind.)

All you need is love.

For anyone who wants to read some of the best pre-Light musings, along with a fantastic review, go visit Cynical. She beat me to it, and she did it so much better. My only contribution was – I think – to introduce her to the books. The she did the rest.

Bookwitch bites #100

For my 100th bite I am donning my gossip magazine disguise, and we are going royal. Admittedly, the combination of authors and royals in the news has been somewhat unfortunate this week.

But all is rosy chez BWB! Earlier this week Nicola Morgan casually dropped the bombshell that she was agonising over what to wear for a dinner at The Palace. She’s in Edinburgh, so that would be Holyrood. I’m not sinking low enough to deal with the garment situation, because I’m all excited knowing someone who dined with the Princess Royal!

‘It was a dinner to spread the word about a charity she’s Patron of, Opportunity International, and I was very impressed indeed by how she spoke about it so intelligently and passionately,’ Nicola said afterwards. It seems everything went well, forks and other implements behaved themselves, Nicola was suitably covered and Hilary Mantel was only mentioned ‘very quietly.’ Ms Morgan ‘found the whole thing really interesting and it was amazing being inside the palace.’

So now you know. The rest of us can only dream.

Further good news is that Celia Rees has won the Coventry Book Awards 14+ category for This Is Not Forgiveness. Well done!

More good news for Michael Grant fans. The last Gone book – Light – will be here in just over a month. So will Michael himself, and Dublin fans will be delighted to hear he is actually coming to Ireland this time. Hang on for more details.

Finally, a big WELL DONE to all of you who bought/downloaded The Storm Bottle last week. Nick has reported back that it was a resounding success, with sales both sides of the Atlantic taking his book to seventh and sixth place respectively, and a lovely fourth place in the free children’s action and adventure category.

The Storm Bottle sales

So you see, pulling together does help!