According to K.A. Applegate

These were monthly columns that were held by Scholastic. Fans would send in questions to K.A. Applegate, and the Official Website would post them at the end of month with K.A's reply. Fans could either send their letters to K.A through an email form or through snail mail at:

K.A. Applegate, c/o Scholastic, 555 Broadway, New York, N.Y., 10012.

August 1998



Hello K.A.
I am Terenia-Rerin-Shamtul, at least online I am. Normally I go by Jessi. No last name. None. Sorry. You know the deal. I love to read your books. I love to write new versions, or my own animal books. My favorites are #4, #17, & #18. I have a few questions though. When's it gonna be winter? I mean come on! We know it gets cold & snows in winter ( Marco said so in #4), so when's it coming? Another thing. Are you going to make a Vissers Chronicles? Plus...did you copy of the books Metamorphs and Parasites?? Theres a rumor going around that you're a big copycat. Last thing. What do you do when you get writers block?
-- Your #1 fan,

Well, I've never read "Metamorphs and Parasites." But I freely confess to using TV shows and movies for inspiration. The biggest example is probably the movie "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers," which is like the original "secret alien invasion" story. I suspect I also pick up ideas from the Star Trek universe. It's never deliberate, but how can you avoid it? They've done EVERY science fiction storyline there is.
As for winter, I'd love to do winter. But if I did, then people would say "Ah hah! the secret location must not be southern California or Florida or Texas." So, maybe I just refuse to give accurate weather clues in order to outwit the Yeerks.
I don't get writer's block. Never have. I think that's a luxury people can have when they don't have a deadline every month.


Dear K.A.,
Since Ax can combine different morphs together, I think it would be cool if the Animorphs could combine different morphs too. When the Yeerks are in the Yeerk Pool, how do they know when their host sticks his head in if the Yeerks don't have eyes? In one of your books you called the rank below Visser: Under-Visser. In another book you called them Sub-Visser. My favorite book is #6 and my favorite character is Jake. Keep writing good books!
-- From Aliandria

Aliandra: Well, although I don't think I've ever gone into this at length, I think the Yeerks have a series of other senses they use in the pool, in particular touch and smell, much as ants do.
Under-Visser? Did I really? Oops.


My name is Chelsea and I'm 13 years old. I love animals and I love to read. Especially your Animorphs. I have read from #1 to #18 and 2 out of the 3 Andalite Chronicles. I have a few questions for you and I hope you don't mind answering them for me. First of all, where do you get all your ideas for the Animorphs? Also do you know if #3 of the Andalite Chronicles is going to be published separately? (I have 1 and 2 but I haven't been able to find 3c except for in the book with all 3 in it and it's kind of a waste to buy 1 and 2 again). What is the favorite Animorphs you wrote? I like #4. Have you ever considered the Animorphs morphing humpback whales? I think that would be really cool.
-- Chelsea

Andalite Chronicles is only available now as a single book that unites all three of the books. Sorry. That three-book thing was just for the book club.
I get ideas from all over. Usually it's like "Oh, man, I need a new alien. What's cool? What's different? What haven't I done already? What hasn't Star Trek or Babylon Five done already? How about a cool new morph? Better look through my animal books again. Hmmm. . . clam? No, not a clam. What would I do with a clam, squeeze Visser Three's tail? Think, Katherine. Hey! Anteater! How about an anteater? Oh, man, I'm already two days behind on my work, I'm going to fail, I'm burned out, I got nothing, NOTHING!"
And then I have another cup of coffee and come up with something. Or else I go shopping.
My favorite book currently is HORK-BAJIR CHRONICLES, which isn't out yet. But tomorrow that could change.


Hello K.A.,
My name is Jennifer, I am nine years old. I really admire your books. I almost have all of your books. Questions: When you acquire a morph, does it get older once you acquire it? How do you make the front covers of your books? Like, how is each scene on the morphing part of the front of the book look different in each scene? Do you spend a lot of money on the front covers? Are the characters real people, except for Aximili? On the Andalite Chronicles and some other books, how did you get the pictures to look so real?
-- From Jennifer

1) Good question. I have to say "no." What is acquired is DNA, which doesn't age. So why is it that the kids always morph into adult animals? Don't know. Just a part of that clever Andalite technlogy.
2) I have no involvement with covers (which are amazing, by the way.) The art professionals do all that.
3) The characters have some partial resemblence to some parts of real people, but that's it.


Dear K.A.,
I bet you get asked this question endlessly by sap-brains just like me, but I have to get it off my chest. Here goes. We all know how Rachel and Tobias feel about each other, when will they finally admit it?! I just read MM2, and each book makes me a little more frustrated. If you choose to answer this question, I will be eternally grateful! Thanks.
-- N. Adele (NAP)

Of course, you realize I enjoy frustrating all you romantic readers. It's like any romance where you know the guy and girl are going to get together, so what's holding things up? But keeping them apart is what keeps the romantic tension going.
Well, prepare to be provoked a little further when you get to #23. I'm not telling anything more, just saying that you will be both gratified and annoyed.


Dear Katherine Alice Applegate, AKA the cool person who writes ANIMORPHS: I have some questions that have been bugging me. First off, you have never mentioned the names of planets besides Leera. Is the Andalite home world Andal or something? Can you send me the names of them? Okay, on to the second of my questions: Where do you live right now? I won't tell anyone, or any Yeerks anyway. I'm on my way to Earth right now. If you ever attend any like uh... Planet Hollywoods or whatever, where you will make an appearance I want to be there to get your autograph on my MEGAMORPHS #2 copy, cause MM2 is the best book you have written. Okay, those are my nice little question things. THANX!
-- Warrior Tahaylik-Hareli-Ashul of the Dome Ship Vanarx,
and, by the way, I got Tahaylik and Hareli and Ashul from #18. BYE!

I've been going with the old "home world" dodge, on the theory that people don't make up names for their planets that match the name of their species. I mean, Earth isn't "Humania," for example. Although I guess it could be. And we aren't known as "Earthers." So I'm sticking with "home world" as a compromise.
As for where I live, ain't telling. I don't do public appearances, since those who gaze upon my countenance are turned to stone. And that's such a mess to clean up.


When you talk about Z-Space in book #18 you refer to n-dimensions and seeing how a fourth dimensional creature would see us (to see our insides and outsides at the same time) where did you read or hear this? I read it in Hyperspace. This will probably never get answered because I doubt anyone will either one care or two think about it. Or it may get answered because of that reason. I guess I won't know yet.

Wrong, Andre, I am going to answer. You know, I don't recall the names of the books where I first read about the notion of four or five dimensional beings looking at three-D humans. However, I know that part of the inspiration for the idea came from a book called "Flatland" that I gather was written in the Victorian era. In it we see a two-dimensional world where the "flatlanders" can be imprisoned within squares, but freed by the supernatural powers of three-deimensional creatures who simply lift the captive into the third dimension. Fascinating stuff, and way over my head.


Dear KAA:
At 15, I am one of your oldest (literally) fans. I have a few questions:
1. In MM2, why did Tobias' wing not heal? Was it the time travel, or the Ellimist, or what?
2. Will Marco ever grow his hair back out?
3. Why do Tobias and Ax alternate books?
4. Is David the new Animorph permanant or temporary?
5. When will we see the B.R.E. again?
Thanx for answering

Well, Shane, you want the truth? You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!
1) Or maybe you can. The great Tobias' wing debacle is an example of the Animorphs backstory getting so complicated that I can't keep it straight. I literally forgot that I had decided in earlier books that one's original form could be repaired by morphing. I wrote this whole big long series of scenes, and only then realized I'd messed up. So I fudged. I invented an unspecified problem involving time travel. It never fails: every time I do time travel I manage to screw something up.
2) Another example of what we could call serendipity. My editor, Tonya Terrific, called up one day and said, "Hey, the Marco cover model has short hair, but he's really cute! Do you think we could possibly . . ." And thus Marco got a haircut.
3) I don't know why. It just sort of happened. I've been meaning to discuss that with Scholastic.
4) Yeah, right, like I'm just going to blurt out my second-best-kept secret. The first being the location of the Animorphs, of course.
5) Even as we speak I am working on Animorphs #26, where we will spend quality time with the Big Red Eye, and a species we've heard of but never before seen.


Dear KAA,
I just want to say I love your books. Now for the questions.
3. I thought you knew that Hammerhead sharks are the only sharks that hunt in groups. But I guess you don't because you made Cassie (the supposedly animal genius) say that hammerheads don't hunt in groups.

Hi, Corey:
1) Okay, I'll tell you he'll find out. Will it be soon? Not telling.
2) Good question. What kind of relationship do you think they have?
3) Boy, I hate it when Cassie makes mistakes like that.
4) You have some good questions here, Corey. I only wish I had some equally good answers.
5) Everyone and everything dies of old age eventually. But I don't know how long it will take Visser Three to get to "eventually."


Dear Katherine Alice Applegate,
I always have loved all your books and have gotten them the first day they get into my local book store. I just have a few questions:
Will one of the Animorphs ever die?
Why do the Animorphs get sucked into Zero Space in mosquito morph and not in fly?
Why don't the Animorphs ever morph Andalites, there faster and deadlier than any animal?
How do the Chee get the supplies to build their super base/hideout, support the dogs, and still live normal lives with everyday average jobs?
What did the Andalites think happened to Elfangor the many years he was a human?

Hi, Matt:
1) I hope not any time soon. But they do lead dangerous lives.
2) They do. It works the same way: excess mass is extruded into Zero-space. It was the passing Andalite ship that created the problem--a rare occurrance.
3) The only Andalite they could acquire is Ax. Maybe Ax doesn't want a bunch of Xerox copies of him running around.
4) The Chee are very powerful, and they've lived a long, long time. It would be easy for them to amass a staggering fortune. They could have bought paintings direct from Van Gogh, or picked up some bargain real estate in Manhattan, or purchased stock in IBM back when the company was founded.
5) They didn't know. They assumed he'd been killed.


Dear K.A.,
I am 13 years old and I'll be in 8th grade next year. I'm the only person in my entire grade that reads your books, but I don't care because your books are awesome!! Ok, I have a few questions to ask you, and it would mean alot to me if you answer them.
1) Are the kids that are on the cover of the books real kids?
2) Is Marco's mom alive? I've only read books 1 through 17, so I might find out in the other books, but I'm really dying to know! (Not literally)
3) When Ax is in human morph, why can't he use thought-speak? Or does he just want to appear like a normal human? (If that's possible, not offense Ax!)
4) In Megamorphs #1, The Andalite's Gift, it says that when Rachel demorphed from the bear, "the scrathes and scrapes I'd gotten from walking barefoot through the woods were gone. I was renewed." but in Megamorphs #2 In the Time of the Dinosaurs, when Tobias broke his wing and he morphed into something and back, it wasn't healed. Can you explain this to me?
Well, that's all the questions I have for you. I know you're probably busy, so I understand if you can't answer this letter. I'll try again if you don't get around to it. I guess I'm not your #1 fan, but I can imagine I am!
P.S. Please answer, this is my 4th letter to you!

Hi, Kristina:
First of all, there's no age limit on books. Just because they say "9 to 13" at the bookstore, you shouldn't take that seriously. I don't write the books thinking, "I sure hope no 15-year-olds-get hold of this!" I write Animorphs hoping and expecting that people will like them. People. Not 11-year-old people or 20-year-old people, white or black people, male or female people, just people. You seem to be "people" to me, so I guess it's okay if you read Animorphs.
1) I think yes. I believe they use actual models.
2) This would be in the category of things I can't tell you because they involve future books. (Hint, hint.)
3) He can use thought-speak, he just thinks it's fun to use his human mouth.
4) Well, as I mentioned in an earlier answer, this is what's known as "K.A. Applegate screws up." Of course, the alternate explanation is that time travel, especially when it involved millions of years, has unpredictable side effects that may alter the rules of morphing.


Dear K.A. Applegate
I think that the Yeerks would already know that the Animorphs are human. At the beginning of every book you start out saying that we can't tell you who we are or where we live, but you drop hints about it all the time. Like it's been told that they live buy the ocean and that its a very wooded area. Plus if Visser 3 hates Elfangor so much, don't you think he will remember where he finally killed him or where the first Hork-Bajir (or is it Hork-Bajir's) escaped?
person with too much time on his hands

Well, person with too much time, yes, you make some good points. However, you need to bear in mind the possibility that the Animorphs (and I) have used subtle means of deception. For example, how do you know the hints I drop are all true? Maybe I change the settings in a deliberate effort to deceive the Yeerks.


Hi KA!
My name is Mike and I have a question. In number 8, Ax almost killed Visser Three, but the Yeerk crawled out and got away. How did he get another Andalite host?
PS--I love your writing. Can't WAIT for the new Animorph!

Dear Mike,
No, that Yeerk later re-entered his old Andalite body. You'll recall that Visser Three's Andalite host body was snakebit, but that Yeerks were known to be racing to the scene. Visser Three crawled away, left his Andalite host body to chat with Ax, and retrieved the host body later--presumably with some help from his evil minions.
PS--Thanks, Mike. I'm writing 'em as fast as I can!


Hey K.A.,
You don't mind if I call you K.A. do you? Nevermind. First off let me tell you I think you're great! And like in some of the other letters mentioned you don't look as old as you are. I want to tell you my favorite book was #6, the one where Jake gets captured, I literally couldn't put it down, it was stuck to my hand! Just kidding! But seriously I loved that book the way you wrote the yeerk and Jake talking to each other it really seemed like they were in the same head. I'd also like to say that my 16 year old, Senior in High School, brother loves your books too (I'm 13). My grandma even likes them!!!! One of my teachers at school reads them too, along with the rest of her family. I have most of the books except for a few..... But on to the questions!
1. Is the reason the Animorphs couldn't keep the dinosaur morphs because they were in the past, but the reason Jake could keep the Jaguar (I think it was) was because there were two of him and the "real" Jake sort of recieved it on the other end of things? Hard to explain what I mean? Or did he not keep his Jaguar morph?
2. Do you research the ani
mals you use before you have them morph into them? 3. Who does the art work?
4. Are the kids on the cover real kids or did the artist make them up?
I'd really appreciate it if you would reply! I like the way you really get in touch with your fans, and I hope you never stop writing!!!! Please post on the home page if you sign for another 30 books... or 40...or 50... In short I love your books and hope you know how much everybody else loves them, too!! Please answer I don't want to be left hangin here!!
Sat'r (like the name?) hint hint

Hi, Sat'r, yeah, I do like the name. Thanks for the kind words.
1) The reason the Animorphs couldn't keep the dinosaur morphs is indeed because of strange effects of time travel. The reason Jake couldn't keep the Jaguar morph is that in effect he was never really in the jungle and never really acquired it. Remember that when he came back, he came back to a time just before he made the fateful decision that propelled the Animorphs back in time. He changed the path of history and never actually went to the Amazon. Confused? Me too. Time travel books always make me break out in a cold sweat.
2) I do research. Not as much as I'd like, but enough to be fairly accurate.
3) The crack art team at Scholastic does the covers, and I think they are consistently wonderful.
4) I believe the art department uses actual models for the kids.
You know what we should do? We should have the art people take over "Ask K.A." for a week and answer all the art questions. I'd be interested in reading that.


Dear KA,
I'd just like to start by saying your books are great. My favorite character is Tobias because he's a lot like me (I don't mean that he's a lot like me becauses he's a hawk). I have just a few questions for you:
1) Why do you keep saying there's only one Ellimist in the answers to questions? When that one Ellimist took Elfangor back to his Dome Ship from Earth in the Andalite Chronicles, I thought that it said that there was morethey (the Ellimists) were fighting against someone old than even them.
2) Why are the Yeerks being secret about they're invasion on Earth when they weren't on the Hork-Bajir World or the Lerran (I think that's how you spell it) World?
3) How can the Yeerks control Allaron (I think that's how you spell his name) when Visser 3 has to go into that Yeerk Pool? I would think that it would be a little hard to control an Andalite especially when the Visser first took control of the Visser?
4) Why did Chapman want to become a Controller in the Andalite Chronicles, but he fought against it just before he became one later?
5) In #18 when the Animorphs get shot into Z-Space because they're extra mass from morphing get's captured in the pull of that Andalite Ship, wouldn't they be missing like a little part of themselves since it was still in the mosquito?

Hi, Josh.
1) There is an ongoing question as to whether there are multiple Ellimists or just one. Or more to the point, whether it matters to the Ellimist. Maybe to the Ellimist there's no real difference between one and many. Maybe there are more than one, yet all are one. Or some such thing. Or maybe I haven't decided for sure and I'm keeping the question open because someday I hope to write an Ellimist Chronicles book where I'll tell the whole story.
2) The human population is more numerous than the Hork-Bajir. Humans are also more technologically advanced, and, frankly, more war-like than the Hork-Bajir. We'd be able to resist with some effectiveness, maybe even win an open war. Remember, the Yeerks don't want to pull an Independence Day and wipe us out from orbit--they are parasites. They need us alive. As for the Leerans, the Yeerks tried to be sneaky but that's hard to pull off when the victims are psychic.
3) Alloran is chained and kept in restraints while Visser Three is in the Yeerk pool. He is indeed dangerous, but the Yeerks have plenty of Hork-Bajir.
4) In the intervening time he grew up. His memory of the Andalite Chronicles was wiped away.
5) Yes indeed. They are missing some mass, but you'd never notice a mosquito's mass missing from a human body.


Dear K.A. Applegate,
I am one of your BIGGEST #1 fans (My name is Justin S. or my nick name is J.T.), I have all your books, well so far, also I've read Megamorphs #2 in under 2 days. So my questions are:
1. How come in part #11 chapter #19 says 6:49 P.M. and chapter #20 says 6:05 P.M.?
2.Can you mix morphs?
3. If so will the Animorphs mix them (Like a tiger and a shark).
4.Will there be a new Animorph?
5.If what I've read in the Andalite Chronicles then Ax should have the leaf-eating djabala (I thought it was a lizard looking thing type animal) and a Kafit bird morph and so should the Visser 3's andalite body (The page is in in the Andalite Chronicles, the one that says an aristh has those two morphs, pg.82 chp.13, and how do you say that aristh?)
Justin S. (Age 10)

Hi, Justin:
1) I used the time cues to show that the chapters were not all strictly sequential. In other words, sometimes I backed up a few minutes to show the same event from a different perspective.
2) In theory you could, as Ax did when he mixed DNA from the kids to create his human morph. But in practice it would be messy and possibly fatal; after all, morhs are often unpredictable. Imagine something, say, half crocodile and half bear. Would it be warm-blooded or cold? Or what if you tried mixing flea and tiger? The resulting monster could not possibly survive.
3) A good example. Mix tiger and shark and would the result breathe through lungs or gills? Would it swim or run?
4) You'll have to read #20 for the answer to that.
5) I assume Ax does have those morphs. It's pronounced AIR-issth.

According to K.A. Applegate
1998 - [ June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec ]

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