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 #8

Will your new series Otherworlds affect how fast Animorphs come out?

Nope. It won't. One Animorphs a month will still be the pace. I don't know yet whether OTHERWORLD will be monthly or every other.


Dear K.A. Applegate,

I recently noticed on the official site that Animorphs will be published internationally. What are your views on this? Do you worry at all about the parts that cannot be translated, such as in #6 where the Animorphs werre trying to stop the Yeerks from infesting the governer because he could become President? After all, not all nations have Governers and Presidents. Also, where you mentioned various music groups and artists in #10, such as Alanis Morsette and Offspring, may be untranslatible. Do you worry about these parts at all?

Fortunately I don't have to worry about the international stuff. Here's what I know about it:

1) Someone from Scholastic writes to say "hey, we just sold to Norway for X dollars." 2) Eventually a copy arrives by Federal Express, all nicely translated. I have a bunch of Dutch language Animorphs in a box in my living room at the moment. I have no idea how well it translates since I don't speak Dutch. I guess the Dutch kids and French kids will just have to accept the idea of The Offspring. (By the way, they are a Michael-recommended band. My tastes are more classical and blues.)


Dear K.A. Applegate,

1) What do you think of people who make websites for you. I mean, There must be millions! Do you go on the net every once n' while and just look at them, or not. Also, what do you think of stories that other people write about the animorphs? Like Jeff's "Changes". Do you ever think "Hey now, those are my stories!"

2) Are you planning to write Animorphs and Otherworld at the same time? That would get kinda counfusing.

3) Finally, how did you get in touch with scholastic? I mean, did you do moarse code, telephone, letter, E-mail, Fax, or thought-speak (Doh! I knew I shouln't be reading and writing at the same time)? Anywho...Thank you for your time
Your Fan

I think it's amazingly cool and flattering that people do Animorphs web sites. I am stunned that people put so much talent and effort into them. I've visited dozens so far. I am also intensely flattered that people do "fan fiction." Beyond thinking it's cool, it's a great way to get practice writing. The "Changes" authors obviously learned a great deal about adotping a style and a "voice". In fact, it was eerie how well they picked up on the "voice" of Animorphs. There are big chunks of Changes that I could lift and insert directly into an Animorphs book without anything more than minor rewrites.

I have to be honest about Otherworld. I intend to hire writers to help me carry the load on some of the books. As you may know, series are often ghostwritten. Thus far no Animorphs have been ghosted and I still plan to write all Animorphs books myself, and definitely the first three Otherworlds. IF I can find writers who can do at least as good a job as I do, THEN I will hire ghostwriters to handle a lot of Otherworld. If not, then I'll write them all myself. Either way, the characters and plots will be all mine, carefully overseen by me.

I "pitched" Animorphs to Scholastic by mail. I sent them what we call a "series bible." A series bible is a loose-leaf binder containing sample chapters, outlines for a number of books, a short explanation of the idea, a longer, very complete explanation of the idea, biographies of the main characters, and, in the case of Animorphs, even some badly-drawn pictures of Andalites, Taxxons and Hork-Bajir.


Dear Ms. Applegate,

I really enjoy your series. I have two questions. One, when you write a book how much does it change from when you first get the idea to the final product? And two,will the Eliimists, Chee, or the Hork-Bajir, Jara and Ket ever show up again? You gave us a brief look at how powerful the Ellimists were in the Andalite Chronicles, and Erek the Chee showed up again in book 15. But you did not explain much about the other master of the galaxy which the Ellimists fight, and the two Hork-Bajir were never mentioned. Well, this is getting long, so bye!

Well, the initial idea for a book can be very brief or quite detailed. It depends. I have to give Scholastic an idea several months earlier so they can start on covers and so on. On occasion I have sent them three page outlines, all carefully worked out. Usually it's more like two paragraphs. Sometimes I just admit in the outline that I don't have a clue how a particular story will end. For the "new Animorph" trilogy, (Books 20, 21 and 22) I pretty much just said "look, it's just too long for me to plan out in detail." My editors are very understanding.

Sometimes books get away from me. I end up halfway through thinking "what the heck am I doing?" But I like to stay flexible. Usually, not knowing in advance works out, because I'll find some new angle and follow it. Sometimes I crash and burn. Some books go exactly where I thought they'd go. Others are like cars with bad steering.

All the folks you mentioned will be heard from again. As for the Ellimists' mysterious opponent, don't know yet. I'll have to come up with a good idea on that.


Hi. I love the boks. I just wanted to know will Tobias ever learn that his father was Prince Elfangor? Will the Animorphs ever save the earth? And will any animorphs ever... um... you know..... survive the war? Thanks I hope these get answered. Keep up the good work. I loved #16. Bye.

As a matter of fact I have already outlined the book where Tobias learns about his true father. Let's see, I'm thinking book #23. Pretty sure that's the one.

As for the other questions, now why would I just blurt out the answers and spoil the surprises?

Thanks. I'm glad you liked #16. In an earlier answer I mentioned that some books I just don't know where they're going till I get there? Book #16 was a classic example. I was clueless till the end.


Dear KA,

I've been a fan of yours ever since the beggning and I love your books! I was wondering, who is your easiet charater to write about?

Marco. I like writing humor. Plus, Marco is the most talkative of the characters, so he just seems naturally easy for me. Next is probably Cassie. Jake is the hardest. But those are generalities. There are times when I love each character best, and times when I can't stand any of them. Depends on my mood, I guess.


Well, KA, l don't think that you have to worry. The movie (or show) is never as good as the book. Remember a little science-fiction story called "Jurrassic Park"? If not, you should take some time off from writing!. Well the book was 10 times better than the movie and the movie still made a schmillion dollars! Why? because it was new; because it had never been done before; because people have an almost fanatical devotion to Michael Chrichton! And the animorphs have all those elements--multiplied tenfold! People love the characters, people love the stories, and people love you! And all it takes is a little computer animation to bring Ax to life, and since it isn't very often that he is in a frame, he could be animatronic! They should make the show an hour-long, like the X-files and that way, the show could be more true to the books. l really hope l get to meet you someday and talk. You are my favorite writer. And another thing, ARE YOU NUTS!?! Nobody is going to stop reading your books just because of a TV show they didn't like! HAWK, if you read this, Quit worrying Kathrine. She's got an intergalactic war on her mind and she needs comforting, you'll give the poor lady an ulcer and put her on prozac before she can finish the books! yeesh!
-Allison K.

-PS,Don't worry, it ain't no thang but a chicken wing

Thanks, Allison. Okay, I'll relax.

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