In this exclusive Amazon.com interview,Richard Paul Evans, the #1 bestselling author of Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, speaks with Glenn Beck about where the idea for the series came from, why Michael Vey is an unexpected hero, and what comes next for Michael Vey.
Glenn Beck: I know why I was drawn to reading this series, but what inspired you to write it?
Richard Paul Evans: Two things inspired Michael Vey. First, after writing literary novels for more than two decades, I wanted to write something just for the sheer joy of it. I’ve always loved superhero stories. When I was a boy I used to rake leaves for the neighbors for money to buy comic books. So writing Michael Vey was personally satisfying. Second, I felt like the Young Adult genre had been overrun by vampire- and dystopian-themed books. I just wanted to write an original good read—something unique and exciting without all the negative life scripts for youth.
GB: Where did the idea for electric children initially come from?
RPE: Good question. After more than 75 years of comic books, it wasn’t easy finding a unique superpower—and Michael Vey isn’t the first to use electricity. But once I came up with the idea to focus all the youth’s powers around electricity, I was able to create something that I felt was both entertaining and distinct.
GB: What’s the best story you’ve heard from other parents about their kids being introduced to the books?
RPE: While I’ll never tire of hearing that the Michael Vey series got a child to read, my favorite story came from a parent of a youth struggling with severe Tourette’s Syndrome. Her child decided that if Michael Vey could face his Tourette’s with courage then so could she. This mother said the book made a remarkable difference in her child’s self-esteem and social life at school.
GB: Michael Vey has Tourette’s syndrome and isn't necessarily the “cool kid” in school. In other words, he’s not your typical hero. Why didn’t you make him the quarterback/prom king/valedictorian that most readers are used to?
RPE: I wanted a hero that the average reader could relate to. I’ve never believed that the real heroes of this world have perfect physiques and bulging muscles. A hero’s power comes from the heart not the biceps. I wanted Michael Vey to exemplify that.
GB: The big reveal of why these kids are being hunted is really unique and original—it's not wizards or angels or vampires. Where did you get this idea?
RPE: Once I developed a plausible explanation for how these youths developed their particular mutation, it opened up an entire world of social, ethical, and political options to explore. The direction the story line can follow is infinite in possibility.
GB: Every time my kids read another book in the series they ask me this, so now I get to finally ask you: If you had to pick one of the kids’ powers to have yourself, which would it be and why?
RPE: Frankly, I’d love to have any of the Electric kids’ powers (except Nichelle’s), but, from a practical standpoint, I’d have to go with Taylor’s. The ability to reboot people at any moment would give you a tremendous amount of power over any situation. (Imagine Taylor at the presidential debates!) And reading minds would definitely come in handy—especially my wife’s.
GB: I know there’s a lot more still to come in this series. Do you have the whole thing mapped out in your head already or does it come to you over time?
RPE: Since the moment I began writing Michael Vey, the series has felt like a gift to me. I have some general ideas on where the series will go over the seven books and a pretty good idea at how it will conclude, but the details still come to me like manna—just enough for the day.