Everyone loves an aquatic beastie. Whether it’s the lurking terror of Jaws, or the gore soaked splatterfest homage of Piranha 3D, there is just something about blood in the water that entertains and frightens in equal measure.

So as we rush headlong towards our 1st birthday as a website we have something very special for you Outposters. A New York Times bestselling author has stopped by to talk to us. A man with 21 books, and counting, either published or in the pipeline.

You could say he is King of the Aquatic Beasties as they are the stars in many of his books. The writer of The MEG series of novels that were the basis of the 2018 blockbuster The Meg, starring Jason Statham. The man himself, Steve Alten.

Hi Steve, welcome to The Last Movie Outpost.

“Good to be here. Thanks for having me!”

Last time we spoke was back at our old website and we were a couple of weeks out from The Meg being released in cinemas. How does it feel, now, looking back on it,  being the man behind the idea for a summer blockbuster that did $500m In global box office?

“Relieved. You know the story of how long it took to bring it to the screen. It took 22 years, three studios, two reversions, 40+ producers and a dozen scripts. Even right before the movie was released there were detractors in Hollywood and the press predicting a flop.

I knew what the fans were saying, what people were talking to me about in the lead up to release. Commentators said flop, fans gave me the feeling it would be a hit. Then it did what it did. #1 in both the US and the world back in August 2018. So relieved, and vindicated. I had faith.”

What was the final ingredient that bought MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror to the big screen in movie form after 22 years?

“One incredibly determined producer — Belle Avery. She spent eight years raising funds, bringing in investors along with Gravity Pictures… she never gave up.”

From L to R – Branden Alten, Kim Alten, Steve Alten and Belle Avery at the premiere of The Meg, August 2018
Speaking of Belle, who you referred to last time we spoke as your “super Producer”, maybe you can settle an ongoing argument between me and one of the other guys here. She is also an actress and was in fact part of a very famous scene in the opening sequence of a James Bond movie, wasn’t she?

“Yes, that’s right. The Living Daylights. She was on the yacht that 007 parachutes onto at the end of the pre-title sequence.

But she’s not the only Bond girl I know. Back in 2005, while I was writing MEG: Hell’s Aquarium, Lana Wood who played Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever  emailed me. She told me she and her grandson were big fans of The MEG series and asked me to make them characters.

Well, I’m a huge James Bond fan. I read all the Ian Fleming novels as a teen. So of course I said yes, and I wrote a scene in Hell’s Aquarium where she gets eaten by one of the Megs while saving her grandson’s life.

We became friends and I flew her and her grandson out for a photo shoot holding a book in the largest Meg jaws ever made. This was made by a friend, the late Vito Bertucci who sadly drowned while diving for Meg teeth.

So one day I’m on the phone with Belle and just for shits and giggles I added Lana by conference call and had a 3 way with two Bond girls, how many guys can say that!”

Lana Wood in the Meg jaws
So now Belle Avery will be producing more movies based on your work?

“Yes. Belle and her production company, Apelles Entertainment own the franchise rights to The Loch, Sharkman and Goliath.”

Speaking of which, is there any news on The Meg 2?

“Production was pushed back because of the Coronavirus, but I heard the script is amazing… dark and very intense, just like the book, The Trench.”

Sticking with the world of Jonas Taylor and the Megs, there is still a lot going on. I just finished reading the first novella in the Meg: Angel Of Death series – Survival. What made you want to return to earlier in the timeline of the Meg universe?

“Well the timeline between MEG and The Trench has a gap of four years, I thought it might be fun to explore what happened right after book 1 ended.”

What’s next in the novella series? A straight continuation from the end of Survival?

“We’ll see.”

What is the latest on Meg: Purgatory?

“It’s the seventh and last novel in the series (Origins and Angel of Death being short novellas).

I wrote the first chapter as a teaser, but I won’t get back into it until I finish The Loch: Heaven’s Lake, book 3 in The Loch series (Vostok being book 2).”

What else are you working on outside of books?

“Right now, I’m working on what is definitely my biggest and most complex project ever. The story and concept came to me about eight months ago during a very stressful period. As much as I love writing novels publishers have cut advances by 70%. The amount of time and effort it takes to complete the research on a 500 page manuscript is exhausting, with no guarantees it will sell.

I am 60 now, and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at 47, so things haven’t gotten easier. The MEG movie helped, but my medical expenses doubled and tariffs on China combined with the Corona virus to push back production schedules – and pay days — basically leaving me without an income for six months. And then, in late December, something new and different came to me, only I realized it wasn’t a novel, it was something much more.”

This is your new online project, Sea Monsters Cove? Your passion project? Can you tell us what it is?

“It’s a website combining a virtual theme park where subscribers will be able to tour futuristic aquariums holding the most terrifying sea creatures in our planet’s history AND follow the adventures of them being captured in an episodic web series that would take place on and around this very unique and very real island location in the Northern Marianas.

For weeks I’d awaken every morning about 4am with a rush of creativity and new details, all of which went into a business plan. While I continued working on the story, my assistant, Kelly placed ads on my social media sites, looking for the talent necessary to bring the concept to life.

So now we are working 14 hour days, seven days a week with a talented international team of artists, 3D animators, computer programmers, actors, producers, directors, a museum curator/shark expert and an engineer – everyone dedicated to bringing Sea Monsters Cove to life.”

There is more to it than just a website, right?

“Much more. There will be a web TV series —  we have a film crew in Paris working on the first episode of the web serieswhile another crew is in Texas filming the actual aquarium visits. Meanwhile an amazing 3D animation company in the UK is giving birth to the stars of the series and the futuristic theme park.”

This is separate to the world of The Meg?

“Very much so. No Megs, and all characters both human and beasts tied to my MEG series are off limits. The species featured in the theme park and web series are all new, including the two new animal stars – prehistoric cousins of the Black Demon, a legendary shark believed to be inhabiting the Sea of Cortez.

While my Megs came from a Great White lineage; the demons are massive, toothy giant prehistoric Makos that escaped extinction by inhabiting a deep water cove located 2 miles beneath the ocean floor. Rival inhabitants date back over the last 300 million years, and evolution has run amok, bioluminescence playing a major role in the web series, the park, and the video game.

There is no limit to the potential of what we can offer. For instance, the park’s massive “O-Quarium” was designed as a virtual 5 star hotel with suites that share floor-to-ceiling windows with the shark tank. There are also condominiums reserved for movie stars, musicians, and other celebrities who want to make green-screen-cameos with our 65-foot, 70,000 pound predator exhibits. There is an outdoor arena that can host actual virtual concerts.

All this will be available to fans and members for less than the price of a movie ticket.”

You aren’t giving up on movies though? Our Scottish writer on the website wanted us to make sure we asked if there are any plans to adapt your novel The Loch into a movie.

“Actually The Loch is one of the book series that were optioned to Belle and her team.”

What’s next for you? What is Barkley? It was mentioned as we were talking with you and your publicist to set up this interview. We are intrigued. All we could come up with is that maybe it refers to Barkley Sound in the Pacific Northwest near Vancouver and Victoria. You have set quite a lot of Meg action in that area in your books over the years. Are we close?

“Barkley is the latest addition at Sea Monster Cove. We’ll be posting footage mid-to-late June on the new hold page at www.SeaMonsterCove.com

Steve, thanks for your time.

“Always a pleasure to talk to you.”

(Updated) Meet Barkley

Steve was kind enough to give LMO a first-look at Barkley in his tank at Sea Monster Cove, and now the footage has officially been released, we can now share it with you. Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet Barkley –