Today’s society is completely fascinated with sharks. It all started with Jaws back in 1975. Now, each summer Shark Week premieres on the Discovery Channel and garners one of the channel’s most popular ratings. More recently, we also have the cult fandom of the Sharknado movies. It will all come to fruition with Meg, when in 2018, we will get to see the world’s deadliest predator come to life through the vision of author Steve Alten. PopHorror recently got the chance to talk with the horror author and pick his mind on where he gets his terrifying ideas.
Pophorror: Why did you want to be an author?
Steve Alten: Actually, I went through ten straight years of college to coach basketball, earning a doctorate degree to be an athletic director. By the time I was 35 years old, I was struggling to support a wife and kids and was bouncing around between careers, trying to find my niche. I was an avid reader and felt I could tell a good story, when an idea came to me….
Pophorror: What drew you to write about sharks?
Steve Alten: As a teen, I had read Jaws [by Peter Benchley] and loved it. From there, I read every true life Great White Shark encounter. In most books, there was a paragraph describing Megalodon, the 70-foot, 50 ton prehistoric cousin of the Great White, usually accompanied by a black & white photo of six scientists sitting in a Meg jaw. In the summer of 1995, I read a TIME magazine cover story on the Mariana Trench and hydrothermal vents, and, remembering that photo, I set a goal to write the story that would become Meg. Because I had a day job, I had to write the book from ten at night until 3 AM and on weekends. Six months later, I had a first draft.
Pophorror: What do you believe is innately scary about sharks?
Steve Alten: Well, the sharp teeth for starters. But I think it has more to do with dealing with a creature that is at home in the water… and we are not. Plus this is a cold-blooded species with senses that it uses to track prey, and there is no reasoning with this creature – if it wants to take a bite, it will. And if it likes what it samples, the human buffet is open, and it’s All You Can Eat. Fortunately, humans are a side dish… except in books and movies.
Pophorror: Do you prefer writing science fiction?
Steve Alten: I prefer writing fictional thrillers melded with facts. If the facts are science-oriented, no problem.
Pophorror: Would you write in any different medium? Comics? Film? Television?
Steve Alten: Actually, I wrote a comedic novel called Dog Training the American Male under a pen name L.A. Knight. The story centers around Dr. Nancy Beach, a relationship counselor and radio talk show host whose relationships and ratings are failing. She meets Jacob Cope, a walking thesaurus of phobias, and the two eventually move in together. When Jacob comes home one day with a 120 pound German Shepherd, chaos ensues. But after hiring a dog trainer, Nancy has an epiphany – what if the dog trainer’s techniques can be used to housebreak Jacob? That begins a wild, hilarious social experiment that every couple and dog owner can identify with.
Pophorror: What did you think about the casting for Meg?
Steve Alten: It’s a fantastic cast, led by Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor. The women (Bingbing Li, Ruby Rose, Jessica McNamee) are gorgeous, the supports are terrific, and I’m a big Rainn Wilson fan. I couldn’t be happier.
Pophorror: Are there any other creatures that you would write about?
Steve Alten: The Loch is about the “real” Loch Ness Monster. The novel’s dramatic rights were optioned by Belle Avery at Apelles Entertainment, who is the lead producer on Meg. She also optioned Sharkman, a very cool creature thriller being released through Viper Press in 2017 or 2018. The Omega Project is about a scientist who ends up 12 million years in the future… lots of scary creatures in that one. C.H.U.D. founder Nick Nunziata and I wrote a great creature script called The Colony. I’d rather not say what it is about, but I’m toying with writing the novel with him. Nick and I worked together on Grim Reaper: End of Days. He adds a darker side to my writing, which makes things interesting.
Pophorror: Do you believe the Meg exists to this day?
Steve Alten: I believe it is possible. We’ve only explored 5% of our oceans and less than 1% of the deep waters. Megs were absolute apex predators, impervious to cold, water pressure, or other creatures… except for pods of Orca. To escape these air breathers, the Megs may have adapted by going deep…
Pophorror: Tell me more about your new book Undisclosed.
Steve Alten: Undisclosed is about a war vet who is set up to be the new Under Secretary of Defense in order to bring out zero-point-energy, a free, abundant energy source that was reverse-engineered from downed extraterrestrial vehicles. The book is filled with insider information about ETs and UFOs… the real deal.
Pophorror: And lastly, what is your favorite scary movie?
Steve Alten: Tough one. The original Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein were classic scary; I suspect after March 2, 2018, there might be an even scarier favorite in theaters.
For more information about the Meg movie or to read free excerpts of any Steve Alten novel, contact the author or purchase Meg posters and limited edition signed Meg hardbacks, go to www.SteveAlten.com. We look forward to see Meg hit the big screens March 2, 2018.