Q&A with MICHAEL GRANT
What is “Go BZRK”? Is this a book or some kind of interactive story?
Both. The book comes out this winter, but the interactive part starts now. One leads up to the other, but they're part of a complete package.
There are different approaches to transmedia. Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms. My philosophy has been to make each element - ARG, app, web, book - a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK. I've been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories. The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world. I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory. I guess the answer to "why" is "because it's fun."
Is this the future of publishing?
I began a few years ago reaching out to publishers and saying we collectively needed to understand that the old models were dead or dying. I want publishing to survive, and of course I'd like my own career to thrive. So Egmont Publishing and my partners and I certainly hope this is a part of the future of publishing.
How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?
We'll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There'll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.
What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?
You don't have to do anything. You can do one thing and not another. But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get. I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books.
App? You've mentioned that a couple times now.
Just wait and see.
What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?
It's a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you're not going to expect. It's a world where if you make a false move, you're going to lose your mind.
Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?
The line between writer and crazy person is very thin. Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren't there.
What’s this other world thing all about?
Do you really want spoilers? I'll tell you this. We'll be going "down in the meat." It's going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.
Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?
Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won't get, won't understand, won't be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That's nonsense. It's the adults who are easy to creep out or scare. Say the word "biopsy" in a room full of adults. Or "audit." See? Easy to scare. Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they're immortal.