Louis A. Meyer [Meyer, L.A. L.A. Meyer Biography, brief autobiography on author's own webpage. Accessed February 25, 2009.]
writes under the name L.A. Meyer
. He is best known as the author of the Bloody Jack
seafaring novels. He is also a painter.
L.A. Meyer was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Johnstown is a city in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, United States, west-southwest of Altoona, Pennsylvania and east of Pittsburgh. The population was 20,978 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Cambria County...
and currently lives in Corea, Maine. Since 1984,
[Meyer, L.A. Biography at Meyer Studio Gallery. Accessed February 25, 2009.]
he and his wife have owned an art gallery called Clair de Loon
[Clair de Loon official website. Accessed February 25, 2009.]
in Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population is 5,235. Bar Harbor is a famous summer colony in the Down East region of Maine. It is home to the College of the Atlantic, Jackson Laboratory and Mount Desert Island...
, where they sell matted and framed prints of his artwork.
He married his college sweetheart, Annetje Lawrence, in 1966.
They have two sons, Matthew and Nathaniel. Like their father, both men are painters
and teachers. Their mother was also a teacher before dedicating herself to the family's businesses and researching historical points for her husband's novels.
Meyer grew up on U.S. Army bases in Germany and the American east coast, attended high school in Pennsylvania and Florida, college in Florida, and then hitchhiked through Mexico and the American Southwest before joining the military.
During the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...
Meyer joined the U.S. Navy. He has said he did it to avoid death in a foxhole.
He became an officer after four months, assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet. He saw no combat during his tour of duty, which included ports of call in Italy, France, Spain, and Malta.
Meyer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Florida
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university located on a campus in Gainesville, Florida. The university traces its historical origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its present Gainesville campus since September 1906...
He took graduate art courses at Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...
and received an MFA in Painting in 1973 at Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...
's Master of Fine Arts program.
He has also worked as a floor sweeper, social worker, and high school art teacher.
Jacky Faber Books
Meyer had already written two children's picture books for a major publisher—Little, Brown and Company
Little, Brown and Company is a publishing house established by Charles Coffin Little and his partner, James Brown. Since 2006 it has been a constituent unit of Hachette Book Group USA.-19th century:...
—before graduating from Boston University.
Nearly thirty years later, he got the idea for the Jacky Faber character while listening to British and Celtic folk music on a local community radio station in his workshop. Meyer describes the moment on his website:
...the host of the program plays a long string of early nineteenth century songs that feature young girls dressing up as boys and following their boyfriends out to sea, the most well known of these being Jackaroe
[Jackaroe Lyrics. Accessed February 25, 2009.] and Cana-di-i-o. [Canadee-I-O Lyrics. Accessed February 25, 2009.] These songs generally end up with the girl being found out quickly and threatened with being thrown overboard, but all ends happily when she either marries the boy or the captain.
It occurred to me, however, to wonder what it would be like if the girl, instead of seeking to be with her lover, connives to get on board a British warship in order to just eat regularly and have a place to stay, her being a starving orphan on the streets of early 1800's London. What would she have to do to pull off this deception for a long period of time? What if she goes through the changes of adolescence while on board in the company of 408 rather rough men and boys, and her not having much of a clue as to what is happening to her? What if this ship goes into combat and she has to do her dangerous duty? And, finally, what if she falls in love with one of the boys and can never tell him of her female nature?
I started making notes and seven months later Bloody Jack was done.