Interview with YA author, Kevin McGill, scribbler of Nikolas & Company: The Merman and the Moon Forgotten

Today I have a very, very special guest, Kevin McGill, the author of the Nikolas and Company series.  I met Kevin during the peak of a mega marketing campaign.  His goal?  Sign 1,000 paperbacks and send them to 1,000 lucky kids between 9 and 18.  Why?  To save them from summer boredom.  Ha!  I liked the guy right away and knew I had to have him for this blog takeover.  Anyone who wants to save kids from summer boredom by having them read instead of play video games scores BIG in my world.

Here’s a pic of Kevin and all his madness.

Of course it will all start over soon when his second book in the series releases in 10 days, but we’ll get to that later.  Right now, let’s get this party started.

{turns to Kevin}

Me:      Hey Kevin!  Good morning.  Wow, it’s great to have you here.  I’m sure you’re exhausted so I really appreciate you taking time to hang out here for a bit.  Maybe as an ice breaker, you can tell everyone a little about yourself.  Where you were born?  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  Where do you live now?  All those kinds of things.

Kevin:     My name is Kevin McGill and I’m the author of Nikolas and Company: The Merman and The Moon Forgotten. I hail from the great state of California. I was born at Merced Castle Air Force Base, and grew up deep in the recesses of the country. Woke up every morning to the sun rising above the Sierra Nevadas. Fast forward past High School, college, and all the way to grad school where I met and married my bride. The missus is a smart lady who works with international students at a local graduate school and is currently getting her PhD in London. She/we go there about twice a year for classes. It’s a tough life…

Me:     That sounds like it’s a tough life, but fun and full of new adventures.  Great fodder for stories.  Tell us, how old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Kevin:     My first inkling was at the young age of seven. We were given fictional writing assignments. I wrote mine in record time, and it was pretty long if I remember. Later on some of my classmates asked me to write stories for them, and even paid me two bucks to do it! Gladly I accepted. But then I found out they turned my stories in as their own.

Me:     Ah, man, that sucks.  You know, Stephen King wrote in his On Writing about a similar experience. The things others will do to get a grade.  I hope you didn’t get in trouble.

{Kevin smiles}

So, how long did it take to write Nikolas & Co., The Merman and the Moon Forgotten?

Kevin:     It took about a year or so. I wrote the entire series over a five-year period.

Me:     Where did the idea come from?

Kevin:     Remember when I said I grew up in the country? Well, one amazing thing about a place with no city lights is the moon and the stars. My stepmom always encouraged creativity, so, lying out on our pool deck one night with my siblings, she asked us to come up with a story based upon what we saw. I remember looking up at the moon, and imagining that it was part of a long lost civilization. The craters were not from meteor strikes, rather an interplanetary battle between moon and earth. Then, back in 2006, the image of a boy standing on the bow of a deck as it flew toward a planet flashed across my mind…well, I can’t say more about that bit because I’ll be giving away Episode 2.

Me:     Well, we wouldn’t want to do that, would we?  Tell me.  I always love asking this question.  Are any characters based on anyone real?  Come on, you can tell us.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Kevin:     {he smiles and slightly chuckles}  Not consciously. But I’m almost certain subconsciously. Hey, I can’t be responsible for what lurks in the recesses of my subconscious mind {big smile}.  Grand felt like a man I worked for about five years back. He also felt like my impressions of Dad growing up. Not mean, but stern. And always marching forward, though looking at you in the corner of his eye. I will say, I think I accidentally ripped off the Last Unicorn when developing Yeri. Did you ever see that cartoon? Ah, don’t worry about it. Few have. Anyway, there is a wizard in it by the name of Schmendrick. I’m pretty sure I ripped off that character for Yeri, the stagecoach driver.

Me:     I liked Schmendrick.  He was such a shy, naïve and kind soul who didn’t really truly believe in his abilities until the end.  I feel like I know Grand already.

So, I’ve seen the book trailer for the novel and it’s really cool.  Did you come up with the storyboard and animation yourself?

Kevin:     I fleshed out the basic concept, but Carlyle McCullough did the artwork and Tim Pike did the animation. I and several others did the voices. My voice work was all the creepy English/Victorian characters closer to the end. It really took a small army to pull it off. Still one of the coolest things our little studio has done to-date.

Me:     Would you say there is a moral or lesson to be learned in The Merman and the Moon Forgotten or is it straight action with a great plot?

Kevin:     Merman and Moon Forgotten is an introduction to our hero, Nikolas, but it also sets up some themes for the next three books, specifically greed. Greed is just a financial form of a black hole. The greedy party sets up a system in which all money eventually heads toward them, while the rest are without. It’s interesting that plant life dies when the balance of input and output are disrupted, and some particular specie overtakes the others.

Me:     Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

Kevin:     Ah. That’s tough. I like Nikolas, I even like Caroline, but at the moment Grand is my favorite. He is simple, but that simplicity is a thin shell covering up a good deal of complexity. Oh, and the crazy stunts he gets away with makes the teenage boy in me smile.

Me:     Ah, smiling teenage boys are a good thing, especially for parents and teenage girls.  Tell us, you mentioned sequels to The Merman and the Moon Forgotten.  Can you tell us a little bit about them?

Kevin:     There definitely are sequels. The next one will be published August 4th. It’s called Nikolas and Company: When Boats Breathe and Cities Speak. The four part series will introduce us to the fantastic world of Huron, the immensity of the evil Yeri, Nikolas and the Merrows will face, and what part Nikolas’ company will play in all of it. His friends aren’t along just for the ride ;).

Me {rubs hands together}:     Oooo, I do love a good mystery!  Okay, seeing how much you love to write, you must also love to read.  What’s your sweet elixir?  What do you prefer:  paper or e-books?

Kevin:     I don’t think I have a preference. The only time I do have a preference is when I read a sci-fi classic. Right now I’m reading Asimov’s Foundation series. It’s pretty cool to feel like it’s 1961 and I just picked up the book from some mom and pop bookstore. But that might mean it’s just a good antique.

Me:     What scares you the most?

Kevin:     Flash mobs. Oh, Jersey Shore. But mainly flash mobs.

Me:     LOL!  Jersey Shore scares me too. I kind of like flash mobs though.  Next:  ice cream or candy?   What kind?

Kevin:     Right now it would be ice cream. Dallas is nearing apocalyptic temperatures. Magnum double caramel.

Me:     Yummers.  What if you could have a super power.  What would it be and why?

Kevin:     Flying. Unequivocally it would be flying. You can go anywhere.

Me:     Okay, here’s a toughy.  If you had the power to stop time for five days, what would you do to make the world a better place?

Kevin:     Write a story. I know it sounds like a cop out, but I think the best thing I can do to make the world a better place is to write a story.

Me:     spoken like a true writer.  On that note, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with your readers?

Kevin:     Hmm…I think this goes out to any writers out there. It’s a repost but it has been on my mind in light of the cynicism and slander that continues to plague our culture.

I find we artists have one of the more unique tasks. In a world bent on demeaning and destruction, terror and tragedy, we are tasked with addition – creation. Our art does not have to be tethered to the unending demotion that is the bread and butter of so many other professions. We do not have to tear down to build up. All we artists need to do is create, and good art will have been made…if we’re willing.

Me:     Beautiful sentiment and I couldn’t agree with you more.  {pauses for a drink of coffee}  Okay. folks, I think that wraps it up for today.  Kevin, thank you so much for stopping by and doing this interview with me  and sharing tidbits about you and your novels with all my readers.  I will certainly read this story soon as well as the others in the series.  Until we meet again my friend.  {shakes hand}.  Keep writing and keep us posted on all new events.  I’d love to have you back if you ever feel up to it.  Have a super day.

Okay folks, there you have it.  You can find links to Kevin below:






Kevin’s Bio:  Kevin McGill is the mad writer of the Nikolas & Company series where the Moon is much more than we think, mermen walk on automaton legs and 14-year-old boys talk to cities in their heads. When not spinning Lunar yarns, Kevin hosts a weekly books podcast Guys Can Read along with his college buddy and co-host, Luke Navarro. Contact him at and twitter @kevinonpaper.


Ohhh!!!  Before you go, Kevin wanted me let you know about a 500 book giveaway he’s doing for the Merman and the Moon Forgotten! Yep, another one! From Kevin:  “I have a print, signed copy for anyone between the ages of 9 and 18 that likes a fun fantasy adventure. If that’s you, or someone you know (hey, we all know a teenage reader), go ahead and order a copy for them. It ends Aug 6th. Also, adults get a free, ebook copy. Order it now!”  Sounds like a great deal, guys!  Go sign up!  What are you waiting for?  🙂

5 thoughts on “Interview with YA author, Kevin McGill, scribbler of Nikolas & Company: The Merman and the Moon Forgotten

  1. Wow! I love the book covers, Kevin! Your series sounds wonderful – and I remember The Last Unicorn and loved it. It’s my daughter’s all-time favourite movie, too. Good luck with your up-coming novel, as with all the Nikolas & Company novels. 🙂

    Great interview, Jenny & Kevin! 🙂


  2. I love that picture! And I love that comment about writing a story if you could stop time. Not a cop out at all… Much better than what I would do: loot all the sweetie stores. It would be good for the world because… because.. less sweets for everyone else, so less cavities 😀


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