Monday, 5 September 2011

Interview with Doc Lucky Meisenheimer, author of "The Immune"

Today I'm interviewing the talented author of the entertaining sci-fi book, The Immune, Doc Lucky Meisenheimer.

Interview with Doc Lucky Meisenheimer:

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Well, I guess I’m a bit eclectic. I am a board certified Dermatologist, Mohs Surgeon, and the chairman of the Division of Dermatology for the Orlando Regional Health Care System. Yet, I am perhaps best known for some of my more unique activities. I currently hold the Guinness world record for the largest yo-yo collection. I also hold Record Holder Republic world records for swimming a half-mile with my foot-in-mouth and for ear wiggling.
I have also held some FINA world records for Masters swimming in the past. I continue to be a bit of a water person. Although I don’t do much competitive pool racing anymore, I still do several open water races each year and I host a daily lake swim at my home (known by the swimming/triathlon community as Lucky’s Lake Swim). I also play underwater hockey and have coached Orlando’s Special Olympics swim team since 1993.
When I’m not in the water, I am usually involved in a film project or two. I am a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and I own a small production company called Lucky-Rose-Films. When I’m not doing projects, I hang with my wife and three boys.

How did you become interested in writing?

I think I have always enjoyed writing. I remember a trip to the principal’s office in fourth grade for a short story I wrote called “Super Fink.” It involved some of the same themes as the currently popular captain underpants series. In the 60’s, that stuff got you sent to the principal’s office. Now it makes you a millionaire and garners teacher awards.
My fourth grade teacher didn’t feel I had much of a future as a human being let alone a writer. I guess when a copy of my first non-fiction book, “Lucky’s Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos” was placed in the Smithsonian Institution, this proved her wrong. Not about the human being part, but definitely about the writing.
Later in medical school, I was asked by the administration to not write for the annual Lampoons, as I was a bit too edgy. The irony there was that I eventually wrote a featurette film for National Lampoons that was released on one of their DVDs. I think I was always a writer in search of the correct audience.

Can you tell us about your book, The Immune?

To sum it up in one sentence, it is a Sci-Fi thriller with political intrigue.

The longer version would be: A biological crisis of epic proportions threatens the world. Biogenetically created creatures called airwars (which are like airborne man-of-wars the size of zeppelins) threaten humanity and are difficult to kill because they reproduce upon death. A very small percent of the population are immune to the stings and one of these “immunes” discovers a way to enter and kill the monsters without having them reproduce.
In the meantime, the government uses the crisis to consolidate power and to try to control the “immunes.” Although The Immune was written as a fun adventure, the substance of the book is allegorical and a commentary on current societal troubles with warnings for the future.

Why did you decide to write a sci-fi novel?

Well I’ve always loved the genre. I grew up consuming Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burroughs. For many of my younger years, I was only interested in reading science fiction and about ants. I don’t know why I liked reading about ants, but I still find them fascinating. Currently my reading breadth is a bit more widened, but Sci-Fi was a first love. I like writing speculative science fiction because I feel it gives me a voice.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate?

I have absolutely no clue where my ideas come from. They just pop into my head. I have never had a problem with writers block and I’m not sure this could happen to me with so many ideas always swirling around in my brain (I’m going to knock on wood for that one).

Do you have a certain writing routine?

I write whenever I can, but my best work seems to be late at night or in the early morning hours. I seem to be the most creative from about 10-12 pm, but I edit the best about 4-6AM. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way it is. I also tend to write in spurts instead of a little bit along. I will go sometimes weeks without writing, then I will spend many hours writing for several days in a row. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this routine as it wreaks havoc with your sleep cycles.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Finding time. I squeeze as much out of a day as just about anyone, but I wish I had a clone or maybe a pair. I could work them to death for 100 years, and still not get everything done that I would like to do in this lifetime.

How do you research your books?

I tend to write my stories straight through without stopping and just leave blanks where I need to fill in some factual information. I look the specifics up later, then mold the story to fit. I see most of my writing like a movie in my mind. I just write down what I hear and see. It’s a fun process for me.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Well, I like a quote from Ben Franklin, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." My preference would be to do both at the same time. You will find they are synergistic.

What’s next for you?

We just released a new book I worked on with my sons called The Zombie Cause Dictionary. It was a hoot doing the writing and we are planning on doing an internet show based on the book. I also have someone interested in doing a Teachers’ Guide on The Immune, and I would love to help them along in that venture. It would be great to see The Immune being discussed in the classroom.

You can read more of Doc Lucky Meisenheimer at his blog:

My review of The Immune:

Spotlight on The Immune:

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