Steve Alten interview, NY Times best seller at

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Old April 28th, 2005, 11:20 PM   #1
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Steve Alten interview, NY Times best seller

I had a chance to interview Steve Alten, a New York Times best selling author of many books, one of which, MEG, is being produced as a big budget film. His 7th book, The LOCH, which he promises reveals the truth about the Loch Ness Monster, was just released.

By Heath McKnight

Steve Alten is the New York Times Best Selling author of MEG: A NOVEL OF DEEP TERROR, about a gigantic prehistoric Great White Shark that terrorizes the California Coast. After having the rights go to Disney’s now-defunct Hollywood Pictures, only to see it languish in development hell. Now, with the film back on track and a new novel, in addition to two new paperbacks, this is the year of Steve Alten! He has also written books that don’t have a giant shark or lake monster at its core, like the apocalyptic Domain and its sequel, Resurrection, and the submarine thriller Goliath.

As his latest book The LOCH is released, I wanted to see if I couldn’t get some extra info on what’s happening at Loch Ness, details on the Meg movie and what’s his next project.

Heath McKnight (HM): This year has already been an incredible one for you. Tell me about the Meg movie.

Steve Alten (SA): MEG was optioned to New Line Cinema (Lord of the Rings) who is fast tracking the project. It's already green lit, set for release on July 4, 2006. Jan De Bont (Twister) will direct, with Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy director), Nick Nunziata (who has a movie site,, and my longtime manager, Ken Atchity, producing. They are using my screenplay.

HM: So The LOCH is here…how did the idea first originate?

SA: The idea originated from my manager. I was really unsure, so I did a fan poll, and they really wanted it. After doing extensive research, I am now convinced a large creature exists.

HM: I understand you paid for an expedition recently to Loch Ness, run by Bill McDonald. What happened?

SA: Though I have never met Bill [personally], he's been a fan and a friend, and he provided the drawings in Domain. When I was nearly done the LOCH manuscript, he contacted me with new evidence that backed his own theories on what the creature really is. But Bill was desperate; he said he had to get to Loch Ness ASAP as things were happening. We agreed to finance his trip in exchange for the exclusive on his research. I had to delay the LOCH galleys almost two months while I incorporated his research into the novel. His discovery can be found at

HM: I also saw some interesting stuff at Without spoiling anything, do you reveal what Nessie is, if it exists at all?

SA: Oh yes. Big time.

HM: I hear it isn’t a pleisisour, but I keep seeing documentaries pointing to it being just that. Why shouldn’t we believe the common idea?

SA: Read the book.

HM: Ahhh, touché! You also got back the rights to the first Meg book. I understand you have a special edition of Meg coming out this summer.

SA: I've always wanted to go back and rewrite MEG, being as it was my first book. I felt the characters and writing could be greatly improved, and that I could expand the action scenes. My new publisher, TSUNAMI BOOKS, made it all possible by helping me repurchase the rights weeks before the movie deal was announced. We'll re-release MEG with a new cover in June.

HM: Primal Waters, the third book in the Meg series, is hitting paperback. The cover is stunning--why the change from the simple look of the hardcover?

SA: I hated the hardback cover art, I begged TOR to put a shark on the cover. They refused, and sales suffered. I came back to them with Erik Hollander's artwork for the paperback and they flipped. It's one of Erik's best. He also did The LOCH and the new MEG cover.

HM: You have a very strong reputation and relationship with your fans, why are they so important to you?

SA: Without my fans, I have no career. So I go out of my way to include them in my work and I always answer their e-mail.

HM: What's the next book or project you’re working on?

SA: Right now, I am finishing The LOCH screenplay for producer David Foster (The Thing, The Mask of Zorro), hoping we can get a movie deal for that, then I must go back and rewrite a DOMAIN script (his third book), then I have to finish novel eight, The SHELL GAME, which is previewed in The LOCH.

HM: What is Shell Game?

SA: [It’s the] new book.

HM: You keep great secrets—keep the fans guessing! Tell me about Adopt an Author.

SA: Adopt An Author is a free nationwide non-profit program designed to excite young adults about reading and writing through the use of best-selling thrillers, heroic non-fiction stories, motivational books and direct contact with the authors via personal appearances, classroom phone calls, e-mails, and interactive websites. It was originated by high school teachers, who began using Meg (rated #1 book for reluctant readers) to motivate their students to read. While young children receive an abundance of encouragement to read during their pre-school to grade-5 years, once a student reaches middle and high school, reading is replaced by television, video games and peer interaction because reading programs are no longer "cool." Enter Adopt-An-Author. In only 5 short years we've become the most popular and successful tool for teachers to excite secondary school students to read. We've been endorsed by Reading Is Fundamental, Barnes & Noble and Borders Books, TAYSHA, the School District of the City of Philadelphia, Senator Bill Morrow (CA) and Temple University's Hall of Fame Basketball Coach and Educator John Chaney, along with the more than 4,700 teachers representing over 80,000 students…and we've only just begun. And it's all free, paid for by our authors and sponsors.

HM: Anything else you want to add?

SA: We are sponsoring a great LOCH contest at where winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Scotland.

Thanks to Steve for a GREAT interview! To learn more, check out his site And to pick up a copy of The LOCH, click here.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 11:55 AM   #2
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Is the Loch Ness tooth real or not? I found this, while searching Google news:

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Old April 29th, 2005, 12:10 PM   #3
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Heath, excellent work!

Just wondering what happened with the interviews we did? Did it fall through?
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #4
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More on Steve Alten, just as a fan

Heath, great interview with Steve Alten!!
My husband & I read Meg when it forst came out and really enjoyed it, we also read the second. Until I signed up to receive his newsletter when I was looking for a book list (to see what others he may have), I didn't know he had a third book in the Meg series. He DOES respond to all your emails and pretty fast too!! He's also very kind and takes the time to answer all your questions!! We've been through a rough patch (husband in an accident), so we would have to wait and save up for buying a new book, since at the moment medical bills are a bit much. He wrote back wanting to know what happened and if he was ok! Very nice in it's self, then I wrote this long babbling letter about everything (as I'm doing now ;)!!), and his next email was to ask for our address...... I wrote back giving it to him, telling him I hoped he wasn't sending me an email restraining order or something..... he wrote back saying to expect a surprise in th mail! Honestly, I thought it would be an autographed picture, or a nameplate thing he was giving away in a contest earlier. But, low and behold.... before it was even released, we had an autographed copy from Steve and he had written a nice note concerning all we'd been through!! It was NOT expected and SUCH a nice jesture on his part that has so many other things to do.
Anyway, I read a ton about all different things, but I just had to let people know that he really is into his fans and just a nice guy!! He has poll's all the time in his news letter (on his website) about books to do etc.... He also has fans write in about themselves and will use some as characters in his books! I know he's done this in The Loch, although I don't know which ones he's gotten from his fans. By the way, I'm almost done with The Loch and it's a great book!! I love all the Highland history and the characters are GREAT!!
Now I can't wait to read the 3rd Meg book and the revised Meg!!!

Thanks for listening, just wanted to share so others can appreciate him and his work!! Thanks, Jade
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard! Steve's a really nice guy, and he's a local celebrity here in South Florida, where I live. He's the kind of person who's friendly and a great writer, instead of just a great writer like most authors out there. He spends a lot of time with his projects and Adopt-an-Author, and it shows. Plus, his writing just gets better and better.

He's living proof that dreams can come true, with his book deals and movie deals. Hard work, passion and more have lead him to where he is, and that's an inspiration to many, especially me!

Hope you and your husband are doing better!

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