He was born in Holdrege NE. It was there that he met his wife, Brooke. They have 3 beautiful daughters. Mikhail joined the army when he was 17, and is still currently in the guard as a Sergeant. In 2007 he was deployed to Iraq for a year. And it was there that he began writing his first story, Z Plan-Blood on the Sand. “I am a husband, a daddy, a nerd, a gamer, a soldier, and a zombie enthusiast!”
Sierra: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Mikhail: In my own opinion I think I first approached writing seriously when I deployed to Iraq in 2007. In between missions and rounds of Halo 3 it took me about five months to ‘finish’ the first book.
Sierra: Tell us a little bit about your first book in the series, “Blood On The Sand”.
Mikhail: “Blood On The Sand” is a journey of a young American Soldier. Who is in a foreign country for the first time in his life. What makes it even more difficult is back home he left his wife and three month old daughter. Confusion and panic ensues on the army base as it becomes evident that it’s not just some flu epidemic sweeping the country, but much deadlier one. Or rather…an undead one.As a few fellow soldiers and he become deserters in order to survive, he begins the long and unexpected journey home. Their plan is to move west, find a boat and maybe with a bit of luck make it back to America. Cale is tested in more ways than he could ever have imagined. Bringing him to the near brink of insanity as he loses friends, and fights the undead masses not only in real life but in his waking nightmares. It seems hope is lost when he finds himself alone and adrift at sea. But you’ll have to wait until “Red Tides” comes out to see where Cale’s journey takes him.
This story was inspired by and written during my deployment to Iraq as a U.S. Army soldier in 2007. I’ve been a fan of zombies from a very young age and while on a mission this idea came to me; what if a zombie apocalypse happened right here and now? How would I get home from Iraq?
Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Mikhail: I feel like the genre chose me. Does that make sense? I’m a HUGE science fiction fan. From Star Trek to Underworld to Return of the Living Dead. I think fiction is a good way to escape. Ya know?
Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?
Mikhail: Can’t say there was a specific chapter. I really liked the interactions between Zach and Cale. Thinking them out and making them real. But I also really liked some of the zombie heavy chapters. It was fun coming up with ways to make Cale’s adventure more unpredictable.
Sierra: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Mikhail: My imagination mostly, but I used real experiences as influence.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Mikhail: Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” really intrigued me. I had read it long before it became a requirement in my senior year English class. She did a great job of keeping the reader guessing. At the time I never thought I’d ever try my hand at writing, but when I did I aimed for the same suspense her books contained.
Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?
Mikhail: Frequently actually. My brain can come up with great twists and turns and major plot developments, but what I get snagged on is the small interactions between characters or moving characters physically through the terrain I’ve manufactured.
Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?
Mikhail: Off of the top of my head I can’t decide. Bouncing ideas off of Robert Kirkman or Max Brooks would be amazing. Or chatting with Agatha about ideas for plot twists.
Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?
Mikhail: I’m about one third of the way done with the next installment, Z Plan: Red Tides. All I can say is Cale’s ‘rescue’ isn’t what it seems and you’ll be surprised at what he may have to do to survive.
Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?
Mikhail: I can’t think of anything I would change, it’s all worked out pretty well so far.
Sierra: Do you have any advise to give to aspiring writers?
Mikhail: Write what you know. And if your heart is in it, the story will be good.
Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Mikhail: Thank you for taking a chance on an indie author. I promise there’s a lot more to come.
Thank you so much Mikhail! Be sure to check out Mikhail Lerma’s book, “Blood On The Sand” the first book in his new series, “Z Plan”!
You can also check out my review of his book here: https://simpletasteforreading.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/z-plan-blood-on-the-sand-by-mikhail-lerma/