EDIT: Okay, Reddit, I have to sign off. Kids to put to bed, cocktails to drink. It's been amazingly fun. We are honored by your love for our books. Genuinely humbled. Very grateful. So for my husband and co-creator, Michael, for our Redditor son jakemates, for our beautiful tough chick daughter, Julia, and for me, Katherine, thanks.

Comments: 2960 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

KeeperofTerris979 karma


Miss Applegate,

To this day all 54 regular chapter books, 4 Megamorphs, 2 Alternamorphs, and the Ellimist, Andalite, and Hork-Bajir Chronicles are still proudly displayed on my bookshelf and have helped me turn all of my younger siblings on to reading. I still read them occasionally when time permits. Before Lord of the Rings, before Harry Potter, before anything else, Animorphs was my obsession. I was 6 when the first book came out, and loved it from page one. Rachel's death at the end of the series was the first time a book ever made me cry. When friends and I would play, we were never pirates or spies or whatever else kids imagine they are, we were always the Animorphs. I know that this is probably coming off as the rant of a crazy obsessed fan, but I don't care. I can't thank you enough for the impact you made on my childhood. I admit that other than the Animorphs, I only ever read the first Remnants book, and then stopped. But it was because by then I had moved on to more advanced books, not because the series was any less good.

I can't believe that I actually get to tell you how great you are. I just wanted to let you know, that you have a special place in my heart bigger than J.K. Rowling could ever hope to achieve, and that the Animorphs will always be number one to me.

Thanks for all that you've done.

Edit: Sorry for spoiling the ending for you! I never thought in a million years I'd be the top comment, and so I didn't bother. On top of that, I don't know how to do the text hiding thing. I'M SO SORRY!!!!

Edit 2: I love all the stories about roleplaying as Animorphs when you were younger! Especially the one about making the sounds and going through the whole process, because I DID THE SAME THING :D

katherineapplegate669 karma

JK Rowling? Who is this Rowling of which you speak?

To you, KeeperofTerris, and to all the crazy, obsessed fans, if I may be allowed a moment of sincerity: we love you guys and girls. As a writer nothing is cooler than thinking you had some kind of long-term impact. It's humbling which I know sounds like a bullshit thing to say, but it is because Michael and I look at each other and we know we're just these two idiots, and we know there's no reason anyone should take us seriously.

So when the reaction started coming in we were like, "Oh, my God, they think we're grown-ups." Kind of disturbing in a way.

And for 15 years the hardcore fans have kept it all alive, kept writing and drawing, and best of all felt things they might not otherwise have felt, and thought things they might not otherwise have felt, and the effect went both ways. You guys affected us as much as we did you.

animorph26 karma

I admit, I'm leaping on your reply here because there are SO MANY posts, and I am crying inside that this was the one night I chose to work for an extra few hours. And I'm also one of the most appropriate redditors to be in this thread (TheEllimist is also a cool dude).

Basically: you guys are awesome. I don't know how many times I've read your SF books (yeah, all of them, although I am behind in Michael's series), and yet I keep reading them. I even keep on discussing them on the Animorphs LJ. I spent a lot of my two months in America (I'm from England) travelling to used bookstores trying to buy all of the Remnants series. I didn't even have to read them to know I would love them (and I do, I didn't start reading until I got back home with them all - because I had to periodically post them back).

I want to tell you a story, just because I need to let it out. When I first started reading Animorphs, I didn't know when it would end (so many books), so I skipped a few out. Notably, I skipped Cassie's books, because I thought she was my least favourite character. As I got older and went higher education, I started studying philosophy and ethics. During a re-read I realised why I didn't like Cassie: she reminded me too much of myself. I thought I wanted to be like Jake, all brave and strong.

Knowing how much of myself I saw in her, and how much her ethical stances shaped me as I was growing up was kind of a revelation (to be melodramatic). It effectively showed me that I had to start loving who I was and the principles I hold. And I do. :)

(After that, I also spent a crap load of money buying the books I'd missed off eBay. Hahah. I also intended to buy the re-release. My god, I'm addicted).

I know that probably is a bit deeper than you had intended for the characters, but I do love your characterisation. It's one of the best things about Animorphs, that I can sit and discuss the intricacies of these amazing characters for hours on end.


My background, btw:

katherineapplegate22 karma

Great, now I'm crying. I am also Cassie.

smoothoperator327735 karma

no questions, just thanks for all the memories.

piglet2493 karma

I never got a chance to read through the whole series, and don't remember all of them that I did read, but Andalite Chronicles and (especially) Hork-Bajir chronicles are two of my favorite books ever.

Great memories

defalim82 karma

Yeah, the Andalite and Hork-Bajir chronicles were amazing. I'm a man in his mid-20's now, went for an interview at a market research firm a little while back and talked about the Hork-Bajir Chronicles in the interview.

EDIT: I still read the Hork-Bajir Chronicles from time to time. Actually never gets old.

katherineapplegate212 karma

So I assume they eased you slowly out of the room and suggested you get help?

saltywings441 karma

Animorphs basically made reading fun for me.

katherineapplegate494 karma

That is, to me, the ultimate compliment.

bdubaya390 karma

Ms. Applegate. Your books were a pretty huge part of my childhood. Thank you for rocking so much.

My question is, what did you think about the Animorphs TV show? I personally thought it was pretty decent, but it got canceled pretty quick. Were you very involved with it?

edit: she answered me! I feel so starstruck right now

katherineapplegate456 karma

We were not huge fans of the TV show. We wanted it to be animated because with kid actors, animals and FX it had every expensive thing in Hollywood. We knew Nick didn't have the kind of money to make it good.

thinkingthought137 karma

About 3 years ago, I posted on an Animorphs forum that the TV show was terrible. The next day, the girl that played Cassie on the show messaged me on Facebook calling me out, saying they did the best they could.

I wrote her back saying I wasn't trying to be mean or anything, and was pretty starstruck actually. She never wrote back after that.

katherineapplegate246 karma

It's not the actor's fault. The best they could do with special effects was a stick with Visser Three's head on it. They'd point the camera up at it. Visser-On-A-Stick.

relevant_rule34302 karma

No questions here Ms. Applegate. I just wanted to thank you for all the years of work you put into creating one of the most enjoyable series I read and collected.

For everyone else: This is a picture of an Andalite with boobs - NSFW

edit: wait a second, I'm NOT OKAY. WHY DID RACHEL HAVE TO DIIEEEEEEE!!??

katherineapplegate461 karma

Ahh, Anadalites with boobs. Andaboobs. We love the fan fic and fan art. Although the ones where Tobias and Harry Potter screw, I'm just not sure about those. I'm just not sure raptor-wizard sex is advisable.

Sorry about Rachel. She had to die. She was the perfect warrior. What the hell else was she going to? Get a job at TJ Maxx? Patton said something about dying of the last bullet in the last war.

relevant_rule34264 karma

I can now say I've had a conversation with K.A. Applegate about Andalite boobs and the mechanics of raptor-wizard sex. My 12 year old self would be so proud.

On a side note, I remember reading once that you went by "K.A." because you wanted to avoid the stigma of female authors, is that true? I didn't know you also ghostwrote Sweet Valley High...I enjoyed those as well.

katherineapplegate173 karma

It's hard to remember what we were thinking about KA because it was like 15 years ago. I think Scholastic may have suggested it.

It was not SV HIGH, it was SV Twins -- the younger, dumber prequel series. Also 9 books in GIRL TALK and believe it or not a spin-off of the TV show CHRISTIE. Which was hard because M and I are not religious.

likwitsnake293 karma

The Everworld series was probably my favorite thing to read as a teenager. It seems like it would be the perfect material for a movie and or series. Has there been any interest shown in that regard?

katherineapplegate305 karma

Thanks. You and six other people. No Hollywood love yet. It's all complicated and controlled by Scholastic.

likwitsnake109 karma

Was the series not popular? I figured the blend of mythology, magic and aliens would appeal to a large audience.

Also, how do you feel about the whole Twilight craze? :)

katherineapplegate722 karma

No, it died a painful (and not very slow) death.

Uh, here's the thing. We authors congregate at the same venues sometimes (book festivals, strip clubs). So I have to consider the possibility that Stephanie Meyer and I will be downing Jello shots together at some point, and she'll be asking me why I said that shit about her on Reddit.

Suoretsoperp35 karma

I too love Everworld. In fact I never finished the series, ty for reminding me!

katherineapplegate156 karma

Thanks to all EVERWORLD fans! You know what was weird? When it came out we got our first starred review. I was like damn, now we have to write them well? The expectations had been raised. What a pain in the ass. We were so depressed by this great review.

[deleted]292 karma


katherineapplegate324 karma

That's weird, I just answered this and it was eaten. (Jake blames Amazon.)

Trying again: Tobias had to be trapped to make the 2 hour tick-tock real. Loved the character, and I always thought fans would like him.

No involvement with the TV show.

ProbablyHittingOnYou167 karma

I always thought Tobias liked being a hawk better, anyway.

katherineapplegate314 karma

Life was not good to Tobias. I think he was happier.

mayonnnnaise257 karma

Do you realize you're one of the reasons I write fiction in my free time? The Animorphs series was the first novel I ever read in which I felt someone understood what my life was like. I'm crying as I type this. Tobias's story helped me get through some really lonely times and parent issues. Thank you.

Edit: I went a little crazy. I just mean that Ms. Applegate was perhaps the first writer that inspired me to write.

katherineapplegate1022 karma

So sorry to get you into writing. What a horrible thing to inflict on you. Should have just sold you crack.

martyface229 karma

<The Andalite Chronicles changed my whole perspective on shit. The ellimist, the strands of time, Al Fangor.....soooo good. I also loved the Hork Bajir Chronicles.

When I was in first and second grade I was put in a "remedial" english class. I started reading the animorphs books in '96, devouring one after the other, and by the end of third grade I was kicking ass at reading. To this day I always think about how instant messaging, texting, fb chat, etc. all equal thoughtspeech! You ever think about that?

I'm 23 now, and am in law school. Honestly, K.A., I wouldn't be here without you. Thank you!>

katherineapplegate198 karma

Coolest part of the job hearing that didn't completely screw up a generation of kids.

the_glass_gecko29 karma

How do you pronounce "Hork Bajir?" My fifth grade self would love to know. I read these with a group of friends and still often think of it, especially when I see a cool animal I want to be, or when I see a slug and have an unreasonable fear.

katherineapplegate56 karma

Hork Buh-jeer.

PicklesofTruth203 karma

What are you writing now? Any chance of an animorph reboot in the future?

katherineapplegate683 karma

Since you ask. Shameless Sel-Promotion, please God don't downvote me! ANIMORPHS is coming out with new (lenticular? Um... what?) covers. And I'm going to be at LA Times book fest on Saturday, April 30. Noon. At the Diesel Books booth. Don't hate me for prom-ing.

[deleted]187 karma


katherineapplegate277 karma

No, that was Scholastic. As was the name, ANIMORPHS by the way. We had CHANGELINGS.

[deleted]186 karma

Do you realize that you, along with Robert Lawrence Stine, are responsible for getting kids of my generation to actually enjoy reading?

I just wanted to thank you. I read pretty much all of your books when I was a kid.

katherineapplegate136 karma

Stine was who we were trying to be. Then later we would email him and he was always very generous.

imalittleweird171 karma

Oh snap! My professor David did some covers for you! ...I am waiting for his class to start now, actually.

katherineapplegate211 karma

Dave Mattingly, by chance? He sends out the coolest Christmas cards on the planet.

lostrock167 karma

Thanks for doing this, Ms. Applegate.

A significant number of Animorphs books were ghostwritten. Could you describe the process of working with a ghostwriter? Do you feel guilty about utilizing them, or do you find them to be a useful resource?

Have you ever seen a ghost(writer)?

katherineapplegate394 karma

We started as ghostwriters, so we saw it more as opportunity. We paid well, but not very well to be honest. We wrote outlines (we suck at outlines) and then got all bitchy when we didn't like what we got. Neither of us is an editor so we weren't really capable of offering decent guidance. So we tended just to sort of slash and burn. Basically without meaning to be we were probably horrible assholes to work with.

1ns4n31nth3m3mbr4n3343 karma

as a former ghostwriter for animorphs i can confirm the assholiness.

katherineapplegate273 karma

Yeah, sorry about that.

shitrus141 karma

What was the reason for making Ax's favorite food cinnamon buns?

whenever my mother makes her cinnamon buns for the holidays my brother and i look at each other and scream CINNAMON BUNS and try to devour them as quickly as possible. my mother thinks we are weird

katherineapplegate198 karma

Because we loved cinnamon buns. When we started ANIMORPHS we were usually still broke, and a Cinnabon was a good night out for us.

And you know what? Never even a note from Cinnabon.


So what inspired the books?

When did you start using reddit?

Whats your favorite animal?

Do those books still sell?

Working on anything new?

Sincerely Why is it yellow?

The answer. Because something had to be.

katherineapplegate288 karma

A strong desire to make money. Actually Michael and I had written a bunch of YA romance and were doing okay but we both hated the work. I was ready to quite series and he said, nah, let's try again but this time what is it you want to write? I said I want to really show kids what it would be like to be in the heads of animals. He said That's a sci fi premise, we're going to need aliens." We sent it off to Scholastic and boom.

I just started on Reddit but our son, jakemates, has been on for a long time.

LyssaPearl119 karma

Oh man, I was so sad when Tobias got stuck as a hawk. What ever happened? Did he go on to have hawk babies? Help some dude get a hot girl?

Edit: How could I have forgotten that?! I am unworthy! Tobias was awesome, and is an awesome name.

katherineapplegate147 karma

Tobias. After Rachel died he kind of moped in the woods for a long time. Then when Jake found a new war to fight Tobias joined up.

hottcocoa84 karma

Tobias!! My girlfriends and I all had book-character-crushes on him for some inexplicable reason. Maybe this relates to that guy-with-a-hawk-getting-the-girl memes?

katherineapplegate154 karma

I think human-on-bird action might be a bit feathery. Plus it's very embarrassing to go to prison and admit you're there for raptor fondling.

choreanz115 karma


I felt like you built up a lot of intrigue about the Garatron and never went anywhere with it. Were you initially planning to use it somehow, but then lost interest?

Also, in Book 41 The Familiar, was the being who brought Jake into that alternate world The One? Because wikipedia claims it wasn't Crayak or the Ellimist.

katherineapplegate217 karma

You got me. I should confess that books 25 through 52 were ghosted. We did all the outlines but outlines don't stay in your memory. Well, not much stays in my memory any more. We did 1-24 plus all the side series and the last 2.

A lot of hat happens in a series is you plant seeds in book X hoping to harvest them in Book Y. Usually that works. Sometimes not.

sdn102 karma

How do we know that this AMA isn't ghostwritten?!

katherineapplegate169 karma

Wow, that's metaphysical. You know it's real because jakemates says so and he is a serious, devoted Redditor. He loves Reddit more than me.

Neato37 karma

Were the Megamorphs and the Chronicles series ghost written or entirely your work?

katherineapplegate101 karma

We did all the long form ourselves.

daliminator27 karma

I KNEW IT. I never looked it up, but I distinctly remembered feeling like the writing style changed about halfway through and the stories got less interesting.

Do you have any regrets about it? I assume it must have made things a lot easier and was good for keeping up with demand, but I know I have a hard time letting go of control over my own work.

katherineapplegate35 karma

The problem for ghosts is that we can't outline very well. So I kept saying, "Hey, go for it, go off the reservation!" But that didn't happen that much. So the thing where we might find a new angle wasn't being done as often. Not the fault of the ghosts, our fault.

peridium100 karma

Animorphs basically defined my childhood-- you're awesome. Who was your favorite character?

katherineapplegate279 karma

I have to say Marco because he was based on Michael -- and Michael's right here watching over my shoulder. So . . . Marco. Yeah.

Cyndaquil95 karma

I am 23 years old, and I'll still occasionally go to McDonald's for a "Happy Meal with Extra Happy", just to see if anything will happen.

katherineapplegate98 karma

Oh God I'd totally forgotten that line.

tututitlookslikerain89 karma

I have feared this day since the first I came across the AMA boards. I knew one day this would happen... I knew you would come.

You've written some books that have given me nightmares well into adulthood.


First question:

  1. How do you write a series like the Remnants and have that classified as young adult books?

  2. My friends and I have often wondered if you have to go to the dark dank places of your soul in order to write books that never have anything go well for them. i.e. Remnants is a constant "Fuck You" to the characters... I feel bad for them. I kept reading it thinking, "will it EVER get better for them?"

  3. Are you satisfied with how EverWorld ended? It wasn't very satisfactory as a reader. Can you explain why you ended it the way you did?

Thank you for doing this!

katherineapplegate133 karma

1) I don't do the classifying, that's the bookstores and the publisher. 2) Either the dark, dank portions of my own soul, or the sunnier portions of Michaels. Heh. 3) I'm not happy with the EW ending. Basically I overcommitted. We could keep up with 140 pages a month -- barely -- but Everworld was 250. We got in over our heads.

mssylmarie87 karma

To this day I STILL subconsciously distrust anyone by the name "Chapman."

katherineapplegate100 karma

As you should. they are all bad people.

jtcoons76 karma

Did you realize what a monster you had created in the yeerks? I was so afraid of mind control for a long time after that. And slugs crawling in my earhole.

katherineapplegate141 karma

And yet it never happened. Or did it? Are you sure it was you writing that question?

Shoegaze9974 karma

How has it been working with Scholastic? I feel like they always put out a good product with great production values, and of course no one markets to younger readers better than they do ... but do they treat their writers as well as they treat their product?

katherineapplegate181 karma

Hmmmm. Long pause to consider the politics of the situation. I would say this: no one is better than Scholastic at handling series. Handling me? Eh. Maybe I'm a pain in the ass. (Michael nods head.) Any real problems we've had are with Scholastic Media. I'll let you fill in the blanks on that.

Nowarist61 karma

Holy smoke, this is awesome! I loved reading the Animorphs series as a kid and I also started reading your Remnants series but never got around to finishing it ):
I'd say my favourite book was The Ellimist Chronicles since the story was so captivating and as it also contained the most memorable line (in my mind); "Step into my lair, said the dreth to the chorkant."
Anyway, I'd just like to ask what your favourite sci-fi book is and what book you would absolutely recommend reading (from any genre)?
Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA!

katherineapplegate252 karma

Well, Michael's sitting right here, so, um. . . GONE by Michael Grant. Is that enough dear? No! Don't beat me! I plugged you! I pluuuuuuggged you!

kittiekorn57 karma

Oh, WOW. My 10 year old self is screaming with excitement. My now-former fiancé and I loved your books as kids. I found Everworld again in 2008 and read through it again; would you consider expanding on the story's origins a bit? Why did it end so abruptly, as opposed to continuing the story in Everworld?

Animorphs was my favorite series as as a kid; my son is named Tobias after your character.

katherineapplegate50 karma

Tell me he doesn't eat mice.

hbronez53 karma

typically how long did it take you to write an animorph book?

katherineapplegate131 karma

About 3 weeks. We were doing 12 regular ANI, a Chronicles and a MEGA every year. Ah caffeine and youth.

biyabo60 karma

Three weeks per book!?

As a wannabe writer, I think I'm going to go cry in a hole now.

Manumitany65 karma

Bear in mind they were smaller books (though excellent by all means!) Less than 200 pages, all of them, I think... and fewer words per page than in some other mass-market paperbacks.

Average Animorphs book had 22-25 lines of text (27 total, but partial lines at ends of paragraphs brings down average) per page, about 8-10 words per line. So about 200 words per page.

The books at the height of the series - when they were coming out every month, you know - were 150-170 pages. And each chapter dropped half a page of words for the title, plus the previous chapter usually dropped half a page as well. I think # of chapters was in the high-teens? So deduct 15 pages, you're looking at 135-155 pages overall. 27-31k words per book would be my estimate. Still seems high, though, so I'd probably figure on the low end of that. So, around 27k words per book.

At three weeks per book, that's 9k words per week. If she wrote daily, that's only about 1,300 words per day. Of course there are days off... but even just assuming a 40-hour writing week, you've got 120 hours in three weeks. To hit 27k words, that's just 225 words per hour, which is about half of a double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, letter-sized paged. Not sure if Katherine (is it okay to call you by your first name? :) did all her own copyediting, but I'm guessing she gave Scholastic a raw manuscript that they copyedited and typeset, so things didn't have to be absolutely perfect.

In other words, biyabo... take heart, it's do-able!

By the way, K.A., I'm curious as to how your contracts were based - payment per word? Per book? Royalty-based, at all? I understand if any of that is confidential. How accurate are my estimates above? Thinking of reading your books in elementary school brought me back to the other things I learned... like how to estimate how many pieces of candy are in a jar, for example (winner gets all the candy, woooohooo!)

katherineapplegate55 karma

Ah, a writer. Getting straight to the important part: getting paid.

Here's how it works. You negotiate for an advance and a royalty. The advance is a check you get "against" the royalty.

So let's say Scholastic would pay us an advance of $50,000 per book. (Actually it was less than that to start with and more than that toward the end.) And they would pay us a royalty of 8% of the cover price. If the books retailed for $4 that was 32 cents per book. We have to sell X number of books at 32 cents each in order to "earn out" which means, pay for that advance.

If we don't earn out, no problem, we keep the advance.

Complicate that further with foreign rights -- Germany, France, Spain, etc... Those all count against the advance.

Once the book earns out, the royalties flow to the writer in a new check. We still get royalty checks -- not terribly impressive since Animorphs/Everworld/Remnants have been out of print. But it's fun because it's like found money. Oh, look! Three thousand dollars! And we didn't have to work for it. Yay! Ah hah hah hah.

Kibure49 karma

What is your best advice for an unpublished author? How long did you take to publish?

Thank you in advance, I know this is a set of questions you likely get often.

katherineapplegate156 karma

We started late (in our 30's) but broke in fast. Of course we snuck in the back door by ghostwriting for SWEET VALLEY TWINS. I should say I did so, anyway, and Michael was only dragged in reluctantly. I took on too many contracts and told M he had to do a book. Standard WTF? response from him.

As for advice: write. That's thing one. Write stuff that sucks. It always sucks when you start. Keep sucking, then fix it. That's the whole job.

Lion-049 karma

I remember reading the books as they came out one by one and thinking: when is this going to end?

Did you intend the series to be as long as it is or did another party want you to keep writing more books?

Thanks for the great memories.

katherineapplegate122 karma

Obviously we had no idea we were going to 54 books. Around #11 we're thinking, shit, we've used up all the good animals!

We ended it. Michael and I looked at each other and just said, "That's it. We're done."

FG_SF46 karma

If you could, would you go back and end Animorphs differently?

katherineapplegate212 karma

No. But if you had any idea the crap I've taken over it . . . . I was doing a school visit for a book I wrote called Home of the Brave (not a plug, I swear). It's in free verse, about a Sudanese immigrant to Minnesota (so, okay, not a bestseller), and I'm giving it my all, chatting away to these bleary-eyed seventh-graders, and all of a sudden this kid in the back raises his hand. I think, hey, he wants to ask me about metaphors or some such thing, and he screams, "WHY DID YOU END ANIMORPHS THAT WAY????"

RaichuALoveSong45 karma

What was your inspiration for Remnants? I loved Animorphs, but I remember calling around to different libraries to get the new Remnants books when they came out. 2011 seemed so far away at the time!

katherineapplegate74 karma

Remnants was more Michael's idea. My husband (Michael Grant) is a disturbed man.

GCN242 karma

Thank you!

Anything new coming up that you're excited about writing? What have been some of your favorite books to read? Do you have a favorite author?

katherineapplegate88 karma

I just finsihed a book called THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. Very non-Animorphs. And I'm working on a single title we just refer to as "that damned dog book."

[deleted]42 karma


katherineapplegate52 karma

Thanks for your service. My dad was in the army for one tour and Michael's dad -- who I love, by the way -- was a 20 year career soldier. (Chief warrant, Michael says.)

It's both cool and a little intimidating to think of actual soldiers considering our tiny, safe, sitting on our butts in Minnesota and Chicago (at the time) thoughts on the morality of war.

We've both always accepted the necessity of war in some circumstances, and accepted that it's a pretty fucking awful thing to put our young men and women through. What we wanted to say was that there would be times it would be necessary, that some soldiers would find joy in it (Rachel,) some would find a sort of addiction (Jake,) some would hate it but do their best, (Cassie,) some would sail right through, (Marco,) and others would be the victims left behind, (Tobias.)

I don't know how that meshes with what real soldiers learn.

tjuicet38 karma

I know that you and Michael have had interest in an Animorphs movie, but Hollywood apparently has not. Is there a possibility of it ever getting off the ground? And please tell me that you'd wait for an offer that could provide enough funding to do it justice. I'd hate to see a bad movie kill future chances for good adaptations. There's so much in Animorphs that would be best expressed onscreen.

katherineapplegate49 karma

We agree. It would kick ass as a movie. (3-D? Yes or no? Not sure.)

wordsfilltheair37 karma

Ms. Applegate, I read each and every one of your Animorphs and Everworld books (and even watched the Animorphs TV show...). They really spurred my interest in reading, and for that I can't thank you enough!

A few questions (I would love answers to all, but I'm particularly interested in the first three):

  • What was your favorite book as a child? What about right now?

  • What books would you consider essential reading for any adult?

  • Who was your favorite Animorphs character to write and why?

  • Did you base characters off of people in your life/yourself?

  • Any plans to ever revisit the Animorphs universe? (I know you mentioned there have been no attempts to convert it to film, but I think there are a lot of 20-something year olds who would be there opening day.)

Again, thanks so much for your contributions to the world of literature and for doing this AMA! It's clear you have a lot of fans here, and we really appreciate it.

katherineapplegate41 karma

Favorite book as a child was Charlotte's Web.

Hmmm. I don't know about essential. That will be different for each person. That's something you have to find for yourself.

The most fun to write was probably Marco or Rachel, although I identified most with Cassie. Cassie was closest to being me. She was ambivalent, and inconsistently moralistic, and didn't dress well, and was into animals.

I don't usually use real people. Michael used the kids for GONE and then ended up horrified when he realized he'd hooked up our "son" and "daughter" romantically.

iratemang34 karma

The ending to me was so sudden and sad. I was wondering what you want the reader to think will happen after that. (Trying to be vague to not elicit spoilers).

katherineapplegate121 karma

I wanted the reader to understand that this had been a war story, and war stories never end cleanly. PLus I was thinking well, maybe we'll do a sequel . . .

Blandis26 karma

Could you please elaborate on the ghostwriting process? What do you feel are its advantages and disadvantages? How are ghost authors selected, and how much control do have over the process?

katherineapplegate154 karma

I started out ghostwriting (17 Sweet Valley Twins!!! I gave Jessica Wakefield her first period, assholes!!). It's a great way to learn the ropes.

Pardon the obscure literary reference.

After I gave birth to Jake and Michael and I didn't sleep for the next three years, we realized we needed help if we wanted to keep Animorphs going. We really had great ghosts (we sucked as editors, as I may have mentioned). It's not a perfect solution, but when a book comes out every month, it's often the only solution.

SnacklePop20 karma

Hi Katherine, I knew someone like you would have enough character to do an AMA. Just a couple questions about your own passions in books and writing.

  1. Can you name a few favorite books? Have any of them been lifechanging?
  2. Do you have any particular favorite authors/role-models/people in general?
  3. And yes, as cliche as these 3 questions are, I'm wondering if you have any advice to novice writers, or just writers in general.
  4. (Plug section) You currently working on any projects, or prospects that you would like to talk about?
  5. The last one is always the fun one, Care to tell us a random fact about yourself? Lot's of people like to "get to know" authors.

Anyways, thanks for your time, and regardless of a reply, keep being creative, and may you never focus your motivation purely on money. ;)

katherineapplegate116 karma

Interesting, that "purely on money" part. Because honestly, that's what got me going. I sucked as a waitress, sucked as a typist, pretty much just sucked at everything, despite (shock) my BA in English. And I was tired of eating Top Ramen and stealing toilet paper rolls out of public restrooms. I figured ghosting other people's books would pay the rent, and it did . . . sort of.

Anyway, now that I can afford the mega-pack of Top Ramen at Costco, I realize it's not just about the money. And that's the best advice I can offer a novice writer: love what you're doing, even when the Ramen's running out.

alienzx19 karma

Thank you for making junior high bearable for me! I got to escape to a world that I wish could be made into film today.

I wish the TV show had been more like the books, but it may have been too dark. I think it would have been a lot more successful though.

katherineapplegate58 karma

Let me just state unequivocally: nothing sucks harder than junior high. Nadir of my existence.