Michael Grant, Author of GONE, HUNGER and LIES, Answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |June 4, 2010

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Michael Grant,

author of

Gone, Hunger and Lies,

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Los Angeles. My dad was a soldier so I grew up in various different places: Louisiana, Florida, France, Virginia, Maryland, Iowa. I attended a different school every year but one.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I think when I was 12 I wanted to be an interpreter at the UN — I was fluent in French — or an engineer. Which wasn’t a great plan because I have absolutely no talent for math.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

This is going to sound so corny, but when I was a young man I didn’t believe love was real. I didn’t believe it was possible for a human being to care more about the life of another person than about his own. And I believed this right up until I met Katherine who would become my wife. One day I believed it and the next day I realised I was an idiot. (I apologize for causing your readers to hurl up their breakfasts.)

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

1) In literature: Lord of the Rings, of course. Everyone who writes fantasy or speculative fiction was formed in part by LOTR. 2) A set of movies: the works of the Marx Brothers. They formed or at least confirmed my sense of humour. 3) The band, The Ramones, who kept hope alive for rock and roll when it was sinking under the weight of hair bands and mawkish balladeers and disco. I listen to a lot of Ramones, and other punk or punk/ska bands, like Rancid, Green Day, the Offspring, while writing.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Money. Oh, wait, that’s not a very good answer, is it? I guess I write because I have some natural talent for it. Maybe if I had a great visual sense I’d be a painter or a photographer. Or maybe if I were not completely uncoordinated and utterly rhythm-impaired I’d be a dancer. But I kind of get words, I understand what they do, I know something about story. So I do what I know how to do.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

LIES is the 3rd book in the GONE series. There will be six books in all. LIES continues the story of a group of kids trapped in a zone just 20 miles in diameter. Everyone over the age of 15 has disappeared, some of the kids left behind are developing mutant powers, and the result is anarchy and terror and courage and madness.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

My goal is very simple: I want readers to stay up all night reading under the covers after telling their parents they’re asleep. I want readers snapping through the pages, unable to stop, unable to put the book down and all the while muttering, “Oh, my God! Oh, no! Whoa, I didn’t see that coming!” Beyond that I suppose it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if readers thought a bit about the deeper issues that come up in my books. But goal #1 is always to hook readers, then keep them up all night.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Stephen King. Not just for his enormous talent, but for his blue collar work ethic, which is much like my own. He could easily retire. He has nothing left to prove. He’s been insanely successful. But even after being run down by a van, being crippled and nearly killed, he bounced back up and banged out UNDER THE DOME. I’m a working class writer, and I admire guys who work hard at their job and don’t quit.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Well, I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. Oh, something more ambitious than that? Okay, I’d like to see a lot more of the world. I’ve never been to Australia. I’ve never been to Africa or South America or Asia. It’s a travesty. All I’ve seen of the world is North America and Europe. I’d like to visit every continent including Antarctica. So long as they have room service.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read, write, and don’t give up.

Michael, thank you for playing.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • jay jays

    June 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    i love the book and plz plz plZ make it into to a movie it would be so wounderfull rilly i loved it, the story line to me is that you allways have to now how to survive no matter how young you r and that all us kids have to stick together!!!!! thats wat i think!!

    I <3 the book its so awsome WOW keep up the great books!!!!!!!!
    I <3 ur bookS!!!!!!!!!!

    • Georgina

      July 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      OMG! i totally agree!
      The Gone series is AMAZING!
      I love the story line and the drama!
      I would love to see a movie be made about the Gone series!!! To me it would be an addictive movie! 😛

      I <3 ur books! keep the books coming!! 😀

  • November 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    The gone series is amazing!!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!

  • kolton

    May 3, 2012 at 6:44 am

    There can’t be a movie because there wouldn’t be any big time movie stars. All of the characters are kids so no one is going to make a movie out of it

  • zina

    August 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I love those books he writes just totally amzing!!

  • November 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I love the book, I would also love to see a movie!!!!!!!

  • March 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Mr.Grant my name is Nigel . I go to DEMS witch stands for Daharan Elementary Middle school., my assignment is to pick a favorite auther and i picked you. I LOVE gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, and fear! I read all these books over and over and over again. You wrote the best books i can not wait till i get the next new great book. Sincerely your bigest fan Nigel Georgeopoulos In Saudi Arabia.-

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