Today I am thrilled to present U. L. Harper, author of The Flesh Statue, one of my favorite recent reads. You can read my review here. The Flesh Statue is an amazing book and I'm glad not only to have this little chat with the author, but also to share his amazing novel with my readers.
So, first, please, let's give a warm welcome to
U. L. Harper
- How much are you and Langley alike? Is Langley's story your story? Myself and Langley do have our similarities but we're not the same. My family did deal with Alzheimer's but it was with my great grandmother, not my grandfather. My father didn't murder my mother. In fact, although they're not together anymore they're still friends. You know how fiction is. I made some stuff up. However, to keep the emotions real Langley's home in the suburbs is my place when I was a child. The setting isn't where I lived but the physicality of the house is. The part that rings most true is that his grandfather is in a wheelchair and had suffered a stroke. When this happened to my grandfather I seriously never spoke with him again. Not out of angst or anything but I was actually a lot more shy than Langley and couldn't find the words...for years. I still sort of regret that. I think that that particular emotion came out in the story.
- When did you start to write? I've been writing very short stories since I was twelve. At the time I didn't show anybody because I couldn't figure out why I should but I was finding paper and writing since, yeah, about twelve.
- What influenced you to write The Flesh Statue? I don't know if it was so much that something influenced me to write this particular story or rather I found that the story was there and that I was going to write it. Several of the scenarios were already there. I had started writing them as short stories or I had completed the short stories. Now, when I expanded on Bert's story, his way to stimulate the economy, I was like, this could be really interesting. Believe it or not, Langley and his grandfather were probably the last element. As you can tell by reading it, Langley ties everything together. He doesn't move the story; he's just part of it.
- What are you currently writing? I'm writing something that for now I'm calling Once Human, Now Food. And, no, it's not vampire or werewolf YA. It's four stories combined. Each of the four main characters know each other as children but for whatever reason have to go their own way. In all their journeys they separately hear about a 15 foot tall guy who eats people. But they never actually meet him. At the end they find out--and I'm not going to tell you what the scenario is--who of all the characters has kept their human qualities through all their life trials, because those who have not, well, you guessed it, the 15 foot tall guy winds up eating them. Sounds crazy but it's a lot more down to earth when you're reading it. Kind of like how a small town goes to the revolution but for only a week. As far as I'm concerned, if I can make that seem down to earth than a 15 foot tall guy is a cinch.
- You write beautiful poetry, and you beautifully implemented it into your novel. Do you have a preferred form (poetry or prose) to express yourself? You might find this interesting. At the time of writing this novel I wasn't a fan of poetry. I have a poetry background but I was never that good at it. I was never bad, but I was never the person who stood out. The problem I had with poetry is that I found a lot of it was people drooling over themselves and kind of drooling on me about themselves and I was supposed to clap. Not too much into that. For The Flesh Statue the poetry is used to further bring out each character. It also is specifically about them. The reader, if they read between the lines, can discover things about the characters that they might not find in the dialogue or in any independent action. Recently at my book readings I've been reading poetry from the book and inviting poets to perform with me. This has been amazing. Of course it reaffirms that I'm not the best poet out there but it also shows that there is some great poetry happening. Truly amazing poetry. On my new website which will be up shortly, (some time in April) I read the big Langley poem. It's on my jukebox. A friend of mine reads some Bert poetry and I'm thinking about running a contest for who wants to represent Cinci. But to finish your question, I prefer prose. That's where I live.
- Who are the authors that you admire? Is there an author not many people know about and you believe he/she deserves more publicity? I really like what Cormac Mccarthy does as far as dialogue and setting. I love Kurt Vonnegut for his wisdom and voice. I haven't read a lot of Joyce Carol Oates but she presents many styles and it seems like she's mastered all of them, somehow. And Clive Barker, although his novels are sometimes way out there, he has several on my favorites ever list. One more. Isaac Asimov. The Foundation Series changed the limits of what I thought I could write.
- If you were supposed to make a soundtrack for The Flesh Statue, it would include... Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, Napalm Death, and Radiohead.
courtesy of the author, one of my dear readers will win a copy of The Flesh Statue. As for always, my only condition is that you are a follower through Google Friend. Extra points for spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook, blog sidebars etc. To enter, just leave a comment with a way to contact you if you win. Since the book will be sent to you by the author himself, this giveaway is restricted to residents of USA. The winner will be announced on April 17th.