Mike Kim Interview
on: July 8, 2011, 02:39
Welcome to Jack J. Lee’s Forum “Real Person Behind the Character Interview”

Mike Kim is introduced in Jack J. Lee’s second book, DbR. He is a first year medical student who follows the news and is extremely worried over the stories being reported in Africa of a possible zombie virus outbreak.

1. JJLForum: Why do you think Jack J. Lee chose you as the person he wrote about as Mike Kim in book 2, DbR?

I believe that Jack took people, he already knew, as characters, for the book, and essentially plopped them into this alternate imagined world. And, as his younger brother, he knows me, well.

2. JJLForum: Your character Mike Kim, is introduced as an 89 yr old doing the talk show circuit as one of the oldest living survivors of the zombie outbreak. Is being an authority on a subject and going on T.V. to air your opinions something you’d enjoy doing in real life?

Though I don’t seek it out, and when I am put into a position of being public, initially, I get somewhat anxious, I seem to like it, in the end – probably, because it is associated with an adrenaline rush. So, I could see myself enjoying being on TV; however, I would not seek it out.

3. JJLForum: Your character is written as someone who has always believed there is a disaster of epic proportions just waiting to happen in his life, so he’s not at all surprised when there is a zombie outbreak. Does this reflect your true personality?

In the natural history of mankind and of the world, there are times of peace and disaster. “Peace” is the norm, and occurs 99.99% of the time, while disasters are rare and occur only 0.01% of the time. Nonetheless, it is my opinion, disasters are still a natural occurring phenomenon, eg. earthquakes. So, my answer is yes – it is not unexpected that a disaster of epic proportions will occur. However, it’s rare and so far, has not occurred in my lifetime.

4. JJLForum: Your character is so convinced the zombie’s will reach the U.S. that he takes out a massive school loan to prepare and fortify. He convinces his family to do the same and saves their lives. In real life, would you be so proactive and ready to be laughed at if the threat wasn’t generally perceived as real?

I really would have to be convinced the threat was real. But, it is my opinion, viral outbreaks are incredibly difficult to contain, especially in this global society.

5. JJLForum: Jack J. Lee writes about the Kim family as if they are old family friends. The stories are great and the competitions between the brothers hilarious. As your real self, if this family was based on yours, is there any other practical jokes or funny stories you could share? (Especially if you beat Jeff Kim. We are rooting for you, Mike!)

Those stories are based on our, Jack and my, family. However, there aren’t really that many hilarious stories to tell about Jack. Throughout our lives, we really got along well with each other. I think we only actually fought with each other, once or twice. Usually, one of us would punch the other and explain why he was angry. The other would either apologize about an unintended slight, or say that it was on purpose, and punch back. However, it was only a 1 or 2 punch exchange. Then, the next day, we would go on – since we got it out of our system. The hilarious stories usually involved our little brother, who amongst us, would get arrested for incredibly stupid things, like urinating on a police car, accidentally.

6. JJLForum: On that same note, the stories told about the Kim parents and their corporal discipline and expectations of their sons were both funny yet sobering in their fierceness (in comparison to our American culture of indulging children). Is this your experience in real life growing up? If you have children would they be held to those standards?

Yes, my mother was a “Tiger Mom.” And, I married a “Tiger Mom.” So, my daughter is being subjugated to what my upbringing was like. On the other hand, my son has special needs and suffers from severe Autism, with an IQ in the 30s. And, though, the expectations, of what my daughter is to accomplish are much grander than what is expected of my son, both are expected to achieve the highest they can. Though, I should acknowledge that I myself would not be able to raise my children in such a manner, without my wife – I play only a supporting role. One has to realize, being a Tiger Mom, is work – a lot of work, constantly being on top of the children and arranging for lessons, etc. I’m just too lazy, and/or I don’t have the personality to be constantly nagging – eg. “did you do your homework?” “did you practice your piano, guitar, and violin?” a gzillion times.

7. JJLForum: Your character researched and stockpiled weapons for the coming zombie attack. He made his own spears. He hunted zombies with a crossbow. Are you an expert with any weapons and could you make your own?

About 7 years ago, Jack and I got into guns. We did so without any prior experience. For a while, we got pretty good. Though, Jack built up an arsenal, I have 3 – all pistols, 25 cal, 9mm , and 40. We got pretty good – we were able to do The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly scene with Clint Eastwood – repeatedly shooting a can (instead of a hat), further and further away, without missing, to about 100 feet. However, I haven’t shot my guns, in about 4 years.

8. JJLForum: If you could change anything Jack J. Lee wrote about your character that you believe is “off” in comparison with your real self, what would it be?

Though Jack used me as a template, for Mike Kim, I am not him. And, to complain about an imaginery character seems like a waste of time to me.

9. JJLForum: Tell us your favorite character portrayed in the 2 books and why?

My daughter frequently asks me about my favorite color, or car, etc. I don’t have any favorites. I like things a lot, but not enough to call a favorite. Similar to this book, I liked a bunch of the characters, but had no favorites.

10. JJLForum: What’s your personal “zombie plan”?

In case of any serious emergency in Salt Lake City, Utah, I would probably do some preparing – which I kind of have already done, like a few months supply of water, food, and ammunition. However, longer than that, I would probably go to my local ward and become Mormon. Mormons are totally prepared – many families have a year supply of food in their houses, and have enough guns to arm a small country. In addition, their church stock-piles all sorts of things, like food and water, and they even run drills in case of emergencies to care for the needy in their wards, like the elderly. So, for survival, I would probably become Mormon.

11. JJLForum: Mike Kim has a love interest in the older Cecilia. Jack J. Lee writes their relationship is volatile and they can’t live together without fighting. Does this describe your personality in real life in your relationships?

I used to seriously date a Yale law student, and we used to get into knock down fights, usually about politics – she leaned left and I leaned right; but in the end, we both kind of dragged each other to the middle. In addition, my wife can be easily described as fiesty – it’s kind of a requirement for Tiger Moms.

12. JJLForum: It was funny how frantic Mike Kim was during the first zombie attack at his fortified house. After, he went on an alcoholic bender for a couple of days. How would you describe how you handle yourself in highly stressful situations?

Doesn’t everyone need to get stinking drunk, once in awhile?

13. JJLForum: If the Sustainable Earth series books were made into a movie has it crossed your mind what actor would be your choice to portray you? And Mike Kim’s BFF, Alex?

I think the books would make a great movie. Don’t know which actor I would like to have play my character. But, for Alex, he would need to be kind of metro-sexual. He would be heterosexual, but kind of come off as homosexual. For example, many of my friends and family members would often ask me how my gay friend was doing. At first, I didn’t know who they were talking about, but then, I realized they were talking about Alex. Had to tell him, and of course, he was not happy about it. My relationship with Alex is kind of like JD and Turk’s relationship in Scrubs. At first, our wives did not quite understand; however, I think they just come to terms with it.

14. JJLForum: Where would you ideally pick to live in the event of a zombie outbreak?

Practically, anywhere would do. However, I kind of like the mountains.

15. JJLForum: Mike Kim took up paragliding when he moved to Utah. After the zombie outbreak, Mike built his own Powered Parachute Canopy to safely do recon over a larger area. Is paragliding something you do for fun in your real life?

No, I don’t paraglide. Rather, I enjoy mountain biking and backcountry skiing; however, my wife has gotten me into playing tennis.

16. JJLForum: Your character was a SaLT under the leadership of Director Mark Jones. In real life, how would you feel about a character like MJ being your leader?

I would be okay with it. I generally do not like being a follower; however, if the leader is competent and fair, I’m okay with it.

17. JJLForum: At the end of DbR, Jack J. Lee writes of Director Jones ordering PPC’s to herd massive amounts of zombies to take out the FDLS. When you read the book, what were your opinions of the pros/cons of this battle strategy?

It’s a good plan.

18. JJLForum: Revenge of the Meat Puppet time! What is your opinion of Jack J. Lee as an author and as someone you personally know and maybe call friend?

I was pleasantly surprised in how much I liked Jack’s books. It was a good read, and would probably make an excellent comic book or movie. Don’t really have an axe to grind – my character was pretty cool.