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I recently had the privilege of interviewing author Steve Alten, whose latest book Meg: Hell's Aquarium hit bookstore shelves a few months ago. Steve is a science fiction author best known for his Meg series, which revolves around the survival of the Carcharadon Megalodon, an 18 million year old prehistoric shark that became extinct in the Pleistocene era.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I hated my job and needed a new career. I always felt I could write.
- How did the idea come about to write a series based on Carcharodon Megalodon?
In the summer of 1995, I read a TIME magazine article on the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, and hydrothermal vents, which support an entire eco-system. I married that info to Megalodon, which I read about as a teen.
- How much research goes into writing for the Meg series and how much do you leave to your imagination?
Lots of research. The MEG info is all factual; the imagination uses these visuals to scare the reader.
- You've done four books in the Meg series so far, with Hell's Aquarium being the latest. How many more books will be in the series or do you know ahead of time?
One more: MEG: Night Stalkers
- In Hell's Aquarium you introduced a new ancient species of sea predator - the Liopleurodon. Do you plan on branching the series off with this new creature, continuing the adventures of Jonas Taylor and his son David?
Not branching off, but MEG 5 will be a hunt for the escaped Liopleurodon.
I've read there are plans to bring Meg to the big screen. How far away are fans from seeing their favorite killer shark in theaters? And will you be writing the screenplay?
I wrote a new script, and we are finalizing financing for $150 million budget. Once we select a director, there will be an announcement.
What is your writing process like? How long does it take to finish a novel
MEG novels take 6-8 months; the DOMAIN novels take 12-18 months.
Check out Steve Alten's writing tips at http://www.stevealten.com/writing_tips_intro.htm
Books in the Meg series include:
Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror (1997)
The Trench (1999)
Meg: Primal Waters (2004)Meg: Hell's Aquarium (2009)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Running from the living room to the bedroom, I glance out the dirt-encrusted window and see ten of the living dead crossing the two-lane road. An SUV cruises down the road, then, in a sudden movement, swerves to the left, hitting a zombie in the knees. It flips up like a rag doll, hitting the windshield, before shattering its skull on the pavement. The SUV careens out of control and rolls down the short embankment before landing on its hood in our field.
As I stand with the palms of my hands pressed against the window, I witness two horrific events. One the road crawls the zombie, whose legs have been ripped off; leaving a blood trail like a snail leaves a trail of slime. The small group of zombies that I spotted earlier has now descended on the upturned vehicle. Movement from inside the car tells me that the driver is still alive and trapped half in and half out of the car. I turn away just those things start to claw and bite at the man's arms and face.
Just as I talk myself into taking another look, a gangly kid's face slams against the window. I scream and jump back, nearly dropping the gun in the process. Even though his face is battered, I recognize him as Bobby Jones from my English Lit class. He presses his face against the glass, weakly beating his fists against the window. His sister Kristen, my best friend, shuffles up behind him. Blood seeps from a ragged hole in her neck, staining her clothes red. Her white, eyes meet mine and I swear I see a flicker of recognition cross her face, before she and Bobby move off in another direction.
A sudden wave of panic grips me, as I remember the back door that doesn't close all the way anymore by the back bedroom. I run as fast as I can, but realize I'm too late, when Bobby's outline can be seen behind the door. His outstretched arms push against the rotted wood.
I try shouldering the door against Bobby's body, but it's impossible because Kristen has added to the weight. Starting to tire, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and count to three. On three, I throw open the door, hop back and take aim. I fire off one shot, hitting Bobby in the chest, but he doesn't go down. Aiming a little higher, I nail him the head and he crumples to his knees.
Kristen stumbles over her brother's body, whose blood covers her snarling face. She manages to grab hold of my arm and I jerk it away, causing her to fall forward onto her elbows. She doesn't even bother to try to stand up, but starts crawling towards me. Feeling fresh tears brimming in my eyes, I start screaming out of fear and frustration. Feeling my friend's cold hand wrap around my ankle, I lower the gun, resting the barrel against her tangled, blood-soaked mess of hair.
Whispering, "I'm sorry, Kristen" I pull the trigger.Her head jolts back, taking her body with it. I drop to my knees and let huge racking sobs overcome my body. I stay like that for I don't know how long, crying into the palms of my hands.