Today I am pleased to introduce you all to Dennis Meredith, a writer of science fiction who has the credentials to back up his book, who has agreed to be interviewed by me, so let’s dive right in.
How long have you been writing?
I first got the writing bug in high school, when I took part in contests called “Ready Writing,” where you walked into a room, were assigned a topic, and had to write about it. I just loved writing and knew that’s what I was supposed to do. I knew I would end up writing science fiction because I loved science, as well. I wrote my first science fiction story when I was in high school. It was a goofy tale of an alien piloting his spaceship at enormous speed through a star system desperately looking for. . . a bathroom! When I read it in class, the other students laughed, and I knew I just had to keep telling stories that people would enjoy. Since I’m 73 now, that would mean I’ve been writing for some 60 years!
What inspired you to become a writer?
Besides just loving to tell stories, it would have to be reading the great early science fiction writers, including Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, and Ray Bradbury. I actually met Bradbury, and I have an autographed copy of The Martian Chronicles!
What genre(s) do you write in?
I write in a sub-genre of science fiction, which has been called several names, including “science thrillers,” “speculative fiction,” and “scientific fiction.” That is, I write novels based on real science, avoiding such physically improbable things as faster-than-light travel. I even go so far as to include a reference list for each novel on my web site [www.DennisMeredith.com] That’s not to say I don’t stretch the truth, but my objective is both to tell a riveting story and to interest people in real science and its societal impacts.
Is there any genre you would like to write in but haven’t yet?
I’ve got some cool ideas for murder mysteries, and I’ll bring to them the same level of geeky research that I do for my science thrillers. And the murder mystery ideas I have involve some cool science.
Would you rather be commercially successful or critically successful?
I think I would trade huge commercial success for the satisfaction of writing great stories that inspire a smaller group of readers.
If you could live in any book genre (historical, sci-fi, space opera, fantasy, paranormal, horror, etc) which would you pick and why?
Well, the interesting thing is that I am already living in a “sci-fi world,” in that science and technology are moving at a sci-fi velocity to bring new developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, and so forth.
What do you see in the future for your writing?
I have more than two dozen science thriller novel plots percolating in my brain, so there’s lots more to come! I’m sure I’ll stay in that genre because of my background as a science writer and the rich source of plots arising from future science and technology and their impacts. I’m also writing nonfiction books on subjects including the dangers of climate disruption and the barriers to human space travel.
Who is your favourite author to read for relaxation?
Actually, I find my reading time so consumed with researching my nonfiction books, I have little time or energy to read fiction. Also, I find that my nonfiction reading inspires my novels.
What is your latest novel?
Sometimes writers get a wacky, fun, irresistible plot idea in their heads that they just have to write, and I got an idea like that for my latest novel, Mythicals, a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
What if all the creatures of legend were real—like fairies, werewolves, pixies, ogres, and angels? And what if they were really aliens who had been sentenced to exile on the planet for their crimes. They had been hiding in disguise for millennia, and. . . well, I won’t give away any more of the plot. Let’s just say it’s a kind of sci-fi fairy tale and it has a powerful environmental theme.
Dennis Meredith brings to his science thrillers an expertise in science from his career as a research communicator at some of the country’s leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at the nation’s major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written well over a thousand news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.
Besides Mythicals, his other novels are The Rainbow Virus, Wormholes: A Novel, Solomon’s Freedom, The Cerulean’s Secret, The Happy Chip, and The Neuromorphs. His novels seek to extrapolate real-world science into compelling stories that speculate on their ultimate implications.
He is also author of the nonfiction book Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work.
He has served on the executive board of the National Association of Science Writers and has written numerous articles and guidebooks on science writing and science communication. He has also served as a judge and manager for the NASW Science-in-Society Awards and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Science Writing Awards.
He was a creator and developer of EurekAlert!, working with the AAAS to establish this international research news service, which now links more than 12,000 journalists to news from 6,000 subscribing research institutions worldwide.
In 2007, he was elected as a AAAS Fellow “for exemplary leadership in university communications, and for important contributions to the theory and practice of research communication.” In 2012 he was named the year’s Honorary Member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
He holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Texas (1968) and an M.S. in biochemistry and science writing from the University of Wisconsin (1970).
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