Ask K.A. Applegate Q&A

Before the Official Website held it's "According to K.A" monthly Q&A sessions with the fans, Jeff Sampson from the Animorphs fan site had kept in personal touch with K.A herself by showing off his fan website to her. K.A agreed to his request of answering questions from the fans on his website. Unfortunetly, due to legal reasons, K.A soon had to stop doing this on a fan website, and it was from there that the Scholastic began holding "According to K.A" Q&A sessions once every month on the official site instead. These are the columns of questions that K.A answered to before moving to the Official Website.

Column #11

Dear KAA,

Lots of kids like me are asking complex questions, but I couldn't think of one, so I'll just ask a simple one that has been bugging me and hasn't been explained in the books. When the Animorphs or Ax acquire an animal, how do they know when they're finished? It's probably an obvious answer, but I can't find it.
Your #1 fan (nothing different, but...)

Hmmm. I say, hmmmm. Well . . . Um . . . Hmmmm. How do they know when they're finished. Uh . . . Let's see now . . . Okay, that's one I'm gonna have to work on. I will have the answer in a future book. (Something later than book #21 which I just finished.)


Greetings K.A.,

I have read your books ever since the first one ever came out. I thank the Elemists for bookfairs! And they are like the most detailed journals of the animorphs and my cousins adventures. They are truly awesome! I should know since we are always in touch. But see I have never left my domeship and I thought that maby you could answer a few questions for me since you have such a vast knoledge of the universe.

Question #1: I have never seen a hork bajir,Taxxon, or Gedd in my life, what color are they ? I haven't ever seen a description of their skin colors.

Question #2: My friend Nyroca and I always fight over this. Exactly how do you pronounce "Visser" ?

I know that these questions seem sorta obsolete to an Andalite such as myself but these are things I do not know.
Thank You My Friend,
Ranoraj Khaon Isthil - 16 (in human years)

Well, Ranorj, you have caught me in a fudge. I have never decided on the colors of Taxxons or Hork-Bajir for a probably stupid reason: I wanted to give the cover artists as much leeway as possible. Way back when I started I thought they'd surely be using Taxxons and H-B's at some point on the cover. I have enormous respect for the artists and I literally thought "you know what? I'll bet the artists will come up with something really cool then I'll just insert the details into the text." Well, as you may have noticed, book after book, and no Hork-Bajir, no Taxxons. In my mind's eye the Taxxons are pale, semi translucent. The H-B's are a very dark red almost black.

However, I am confident that the Hork-Bajir Chronicles, out in like 6 months or so, WILL have H-B's on the cover. I guess we'll see if the artists agree with my own vision.

As for Visser, that's an easy one: rhymes with Kisser.



I've been wondering--why do you use K.A. Applegate on the books instead of Katherine Applegate or Katherine Alice Applegate?

P.S. I love your books! Another question--how did you think up the little ideas (Andalites, Dracon beams, those funny Andalite words...) for Animorphs? I was wondering because I write short sci-fi stories and get terribly stuck on the little things.

Using "K.A." was Scholastic's idea. I wanted to call myself Tawny. Okay, no I didn't. I think actually the K.A. was used so people could imagine I was either male or female and not be put off by my being female and a science fiction writer.

The weird words mostly come from me playing with sounds. Just nonsense words till I get a sound I like.



Obviously there's no way for a Yeerk to fit inside small animals, like flies. But when Jake was a Controller in #6, the Yeerk was able to control him even in fly morph. How?

While you contemplate that one (or contemplate how could I be stupid enough to have missed the very obvious answer to that one, as the case my be) here's another one. How long does it take you to write an average novel, and how long between the completion of its writing and its publishing?
-Stalk Eyes

You are certainly not stupid. You ask a good question. In fact, I had to call the Andalite home world to get an answer. Fortunately, they have an 800 number.

Actually, it is simple: morphing technology affects everything within the creature who is morphing. Thus, when Jake morphs a fly after eating a pizza, the pizza doesnt remain at normal size forming some massive lump. It morphs, too. Same with the Yeerk. The excess mass is extruded into Zero-space.

I do a book a month. I usually take a day to do the outline. Then I shop and dawdle and avoid getting down to work till I feel the deadline anxiety really building up in me. When I get good and scared I start writing. The first 3 days or so it goes great. Then I slow down. Then I start getting pouty and wonder why I have to work all the time, boo hoo. Then the anxiety builds again, so I launch into overdrive. Then something happens: I get sick, someone bugs me, my computer breaks, I have to take the car in to the shop, and I lose two days I can't afford. So now, it's warp factor five as I race to the end, delivering the manuscript exactly four days later than I promised I would.

Beginning to end of actual writing is about 3 weeks.


#1. I was wondering, is it possible that those "big eye on throne" guys that the Ellimists play tricks on helped the Howlers that destroyed the Pemalites? That maybe they're giving the yeerks a little bit of help the same way the Ellimists are helping the animorphs? You know, a little zap here and there against the Andalites?

#2. The Asteroids that attacked the andalites and yeerks in Andalite Chronicles, are they sentient species? Do they pose a future threat to the andalites? You know, "First came the yeerks, and now the Attack of the Rocks that eat EVERYTHING!"
R.T. Sayer

Dear R.T.

1) Definitely possible. Quite certainly possible. Did I mention, it's possible?

2) I saw them as being more of a localized phenomenon, and not sentient. More of an automatic sort of thing. Like antibodies that attack germs without being sentient. So I doubt we'll hear more from the Rocks That Eat Everything.


I am a 9 year old kid that really would like to ask you a million questions but I'll just ask you 3.My first question is is Cassie really going to leave the animorphs and take up violence in #19?Okay my second question is will Marco ever get his mom back?The third one is will Tobias find out his dad is elfangor and his uncle is Ax?

Well, "nine year old kid," you write pretty well for being nine. If I wrote that coherently at nine I'd have a Pulitzer prize by now.

I'll be glad to answer your questions. 1) Where on earth did you ever get this idea? Read the book. Not even close. 2) That I have not decided, yet. I'd have to know first whether the Yeerks will win in the end. And I don't know that. 3) Since I've been evasive so far I'll give you a simple, straightforward answer: maybe.

Hey, what do you want me to do? Give away all my secrets in advance?

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