April 27, 2010

Interview With Author U.L. Harper: The Flesh Statue


When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I’ll keep my answer succinct. I was something like twelve and I was writing one page stories. I simply couldn’t write any longer than that. I’ve been writing with a writer’s mind ever since.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

It depends on how old I was. Right now I’m all about Cormac Mccarthy. One reason is because I love how he doesn’t use quotation marks and he’s horribly honest when he writes. People don’t write honest anymore. 

How do you create the characters in your books?  Are they based on people you know?

Yes, I take from real life. It’s how I get cadence in voices and distinction in body language. I don’t take entire people because people, a lot of them, really aren’t that interesting. You have to kind of piece them together. It works out though. The parts that I make up obviously comes from me. When I have to create a certain type of person I simply rely on stereotypes. As much as people like to say that they don’t like them, if a character doesn’t fit certain stereotypes then the reader considers them unbelievable. For instance, someone might say, “He doesn’t seem like a cop.” Or, “A school teacher wouldn’t do that.” It’s stuff like that. So you have to consider the stereotypes.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?


If you weren’t a writer, what be your profession?

I’d probably go into teaching or become one of those people who teaches after-​school program instructors. I don’t really want to do anything but write. Everything else, really, is just crap, to be honest.

If you could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, who would it be and why?

I don’t know. Some comic book character. They all seem to be overly muscular for no reason and get all the women. Sounds like a good gig. I wouldn’t even have to work.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

An electronic book reader so I could keep downloading books, water and a boat. 

What is your favorite movie of all time?

There Will Be Blood

What is the one thing that you want all your fans to know?

562.234.4518. Call me anytime.

If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?

Anyone who read my book before it got published. Because they deserve that much for all their work.

About the Author

U.L. Harper was born in Los Angeles California. However, he was raised in the public school system in Long Beach California. He attended Lincoln and Madison Elementary and moved to San Pedro where he attended Richard Henry Dana Junior High School. For the last few months of junior high he moved back to Long Beach where he attended Franklin Junior High School. He then went to Long Beach Poly where they told him he wouldn't be anything when he grew up and that he wasn't allowed to take a creative writing class. The teachers called him stupid. At least before 1993. U.L. originally went to college for journalism. He got his feet wet at UCLA (University of Cypress Lincoln Avenue). But his writing started as a part time slam poet, moving around different cities cursing at the audience in the name of art and style. His writing continued as writer and Editor in Chief for the Cypress Chronicle. But if one were to examine fully the writing career of U.L. Harper they'd find that he wrote a story in fourth grade about a boy who had to vacuum up somebody else’s urine. This earned U.L. a conference with his teacher and an awkward talk with his mother at home. Later in life U.L. would also write a poem so visceral that he would not be allowed into a friend’s home. The words that got him kicked out went as follows: “Someone needs to put the mother back in f..ker. Someone needs to put the God back in damn.”  ??Eventually he moved into the short story form where he completed a story called The Resurrection of Greenwell. It's a short story about a discussion group that decides it needs to talk about a way to take power away from the local government. This story would find its way into The Flesh Statue.  Seeing that his career as a reporter started him out at a whopping $7.25 an hour he decided to hang it up, or get fired, depending on how one wants to look at things, and become an usher at a movie theater. It was the down time allotted at his new work that fed his inspiration to write The Flesh Statue. U.L. is now an after-​school program director where he attempts to influence students to expand their imagination. He still lives in Long Beach. You can visit him at ulharper.com. The author encourages direct email from his website. 

iUniverse, Incorporated
July 2005
364 pages

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  If you purchase a book using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

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