Monday, September 26, 2011

❤author: UL Harper Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a Pump Up Your Book virtual blog tour, I will be hosting sci-fi author, UL Harper with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, UL! Will you please share a short bio with us?

U.L. Harper is an after-school program Site Director in Long Beach, California. Over one hundred students attend his program.

He previously worked as a corporate manager, and a journalist for a now defunct news agency in Los Alamitos, California. Newspapers are part of his writing background but he also dabbled in poetry. His poetry is published in The Body Politic chapbooks.

He is the author of In Blackness, The Flesh Statue, and the short story called Guidelines for Rejects.

❤ Tell us about your newest release, In Blackness.

As children, Lenny and Saline’s parents brought them to Southern California to escape the nightmares. But after their parents die in a horrible car accident, their adoption by longtime family friend, Busek, proves nightmarish in its own right. Busek is abusive to his son, Dustin, and does very little to hold the young family together. The trio of kids become friends and grow up as a family. Outwardly, they are unruffled by life’s events, yet as teens the emotional aftermath of Saline and Lenny’s parents’ deaths lingers and eventually catapults Lenny and Saline on individual journeys back to their old hometown.

Saline journeys with a small church group which has regular excursions to her old hometown in Lowery, Washington. She discovers the group is protecting a powerful secret that will change her life.

Lenny, on the other hand, becomes stranded in King City. There, he meets someone who unexpectedly and unknowingly guides him to a place in Washington where something might be waiting for him. Impulsively, he makes his way there and discovers that the simple world he has been living in is vastly different from what he could have ever imagined.

Meanwhile, Dustin remains in Southern California and meets a group of youth who stumble upon the city's plan to replace the local library with a jail. In the process of this discovery they learn of one of the largest secrets society has ever kept, a secret waiting for them underground, in blackness.

❤ What inspired you to write it and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

First off, this book has been in the works for a while. Inspired to write it is not how I look at it. It was a work ethic. It had to be done. These characters had to be written. I’m sure there was a succinct inspiration at some point but that has long left. It wound up being duty to myself and the characters involved. They had a story and I had a word processor, so everything worked out. That fact that it can be purchased is only a miracle. And that’s it.

❤ How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

I add in all of my real life. In fact, there is barely any fiction. Aliens appear in this story, so obviously that didn’t happen in my real life, but the places the characters visit, the people they meet, the food they eat, what the characters smell and think and even become, is pulled directly out of the real world. I often get frustrated by stories that start off by saying it was based on a true story. Well, what story isn’t?

True point! What are your biggest motivations for writing?

I need to write. Once the story is there, I have to get it done. I still use writing to expel emotions so it’s a meditation tool as well. How’s that for motivation? I’m cranky if I don’t write.

❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

My style is to-the-point but oddly vague. I like to let the reader to connect the dots, if I can. I like to say exactly what is happening, but only show emotion. I can’t stand talking about emotions. It bores me to tears reading about why someone is crying. If they’re crying for a reason, then I’ll know what that reason is. I tend to write the same way.

 Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Oh, here’s a piece of advice: your originality is in your tone and in your characters. Your story will not be new or original, most likely, no matter the twist or how many vampires you add to it. Stories usually come down to the same social issues or political schemes or relationship conflicts. But we can meet a new character still, I think. We can still appreciate a solid vibe, and oh yeah, style counts.

❤ What's something about you that might surprise your readers?

I actually have a sense of humor: why did the punk rocker cross the road? Give up? Because the chicken was nailed to his chest.

What's the most interesting comment you've received about your books so far?

Someone said I write how I talk. Everything is fine and then it’s all loud and crazy and out of control.

❤ What's next for you?

Sequels, of course, and in between, I’ll have something called The Miracles of Arthur Lowe, a story about a man who can clearly perform miracles but with rare and interesting motives.

Books to look forward to! Where can you be found on the web?

At my website:

❤ Thank you for being here today, UL! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your writing better :)

 Thanks to UL's tour publicist, Pump Up Your Book, one lucky reader will win their very own copy of In Blackness. To enter the giveaway, tell me:

How do you find new or lesser-known authors? Are you a big fan of any indies in particular? If so, name them! I love supporting indie authors and want some recommendations.

Giveaway runs through October 10th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time). International readers may enter for a Smashwords DOWNLOAD of this book, but if you want to enter for a print copy, you must be a US or Canada resident.
Please include your email address in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!