If 7-year-old me could see me now, she would be so jealous. Why? Because on Saturday, at the brilliant Muswell Hill Children’s Bookshop, I met Michael Grant.
Most YA readers will probably know Michael Grant from his Gone series or from Eve and Adam, which he co-wrote with his wife. Me? I knew him from the amazing Animorphs and Everworld series. Admittedly, it took me an obscene length of time to realise that those series weren’t only written by his wife, Katherine A. Applegate – but once I did, he shot up onto the “GODly AUTHOR” list pretty quick.
So, the signing.
First off, the bookshop was completely packed. People were queued up outside to meet Michael – most of them kids accompanied by their parents but I also spotted a few teens and people in their twenties (so I didn’t feel too ancient!). The staff was super welcoming and engaged with pretty much everyone in line despite the limited space. To be perfectly frank, I’ve never seen such great hand-selling before. There’s a reason this bookshop is famous: great staff and great shelves.
I got there right towards the end of the signing, so I only waited about 15 minutes in line. Michael spent a lot of time with people in line, answering questions with surprising detail. Hearing him engage with everyone else gave me that extra boost of confidence to open my mouth and overshare.
Sure enough, I started off by telling him that – though I was sure that lots of twentysomethings had told him this before – the Animorphs series ruled my life as a kid, and that I’d read every single one (and still have them all). I’d written papers on the books and had, quite frankly, been completely obsessed. He had, indeed, heard this all before – so he told me about how, when revisiting the books when older, other fans had seen all the juicy extras going on in the background. It was that political vibe with its lovely moral ambiguity was what I had loved about the books when I was younger, though it was hard to spot at the time.
We then talked about how the series was published under his wife’s name, and he made a few really funny remarks about how they are in constant competition. He directed me towards the Reddit that Katherine did back in 2011 about the series (confirming that, yes, he was hovering over her shoulder for the entire time). I hadn’t known of its existence but, WOW. If you’re a fan of the series, take the time and scroll through it. There are so many great details in there!
All in all: a fantastic experience. I was so happy to see so many kids/adults/Yerks in attendance, and meeting Michael was an absolute treat. 7-year-old me is so, so jealous.
If you are in Ireland, you can still catch the tail end of Michael’s tour this week (more details here). Want to know more about Michael, the universe and everything? Check out:
- Michael Grant’s twitter and Katherine A. Applegate’s twitter
- Katherine (and Michael’s) super-detailed Reddit from 2011
- The super-detailed Wikipedia page about the Animorphs series
- My love-letter to the Everworld series