U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction/horror author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from Long Beach, California, he now resides in the evergreen state of Washington with his wife. He is a soon-to-be father, and an avid Dodgers fan.
His latest book is the speculative fiction/horror/magical realism novel, THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.
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Title: THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE
Author: U.L. Harper
Genre: Speculative Fiction/Horror/Magical Realism
Author: U.L. Harper
Genre: Speculative Fiction/Horror/Magical Realism
While in the process of bringing his wife, Sandra, back to the living, Arthur journals about moments from his past that changed him.
During the journal writing, he rediscovers how, as an orphan, his ability to animate objects and people to life may have ultimately destroyed the lives of the few who grew close to him. The old stuffed teddy bear that helped him assemble puzzles when he was a child might have been too much of a secret for his adoptive mother to keep. His friend Quincy, who had abilities similar to his, might have been scared away by Arthur’s abilities. And his grade school teacher is still harboring a secret about his biological father that she can only hope to be true.
Once Sandra is alive again, things become more complicated. She claims Arthur is not who or what he thinks he is. Her ire shines a spotlight on the insidious but most likely true, unspoken nature of their relationship.
In the meantime, a mysterious smell envelopes the community—a stench so heinous it can be fatal. As the number of deaths from the stench mounts, Arthur must decide who to animate back to life and who remains dead.
The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe is available at AMAZON.
What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
I think I’ve always been in the process of becoming an author. I used to love the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Three Investigators series of books. And I read all kinds of stuff as a kid. I started writing stories for no particular reason. Just writing in notebooks, handwritten. Stories that did nothing and went nowhere. But when I started reading Clive Barker, I was like, oh snap. Holy cow. I mean, he had a character kill her twin sister in the womb. Like, whoa, man. That blew my mind. Then Kurt Vonnegut imploded my brain. When Billy Pilgrim stepped off the fire-bombed area in Dresden and onto the grass and up to a bench to talk to the narrator of the story, I about lost it. I was like, they banned THIS…in America!? Mind exploded. Told everybody about it. So that got me going for sure. The last one I’ll talk about is Imajica. Clive Barker. The end, to this day, is the best ending to anything in movies or television. Not possible to do better. I just don’t think it’s possible. Whole-heartedly inspired by that. If you haven’t read it, you haven’t read anything. I could be wrong.
Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?
I’m not truly sure what you mean by taking notes, but when I’m watching a good film, I’ll rewrite scenes in my head as they’re happening. I do this about scenery I see in the day: how would I describe that sunset or car crash or that guy tailgating while on his phone. How would I describe the chaos on the dock at work? When I’m reading, I’m rewriting the scenes as I’m processing them. It’s why I don’t finish a lot of books. I’m busy rewriting as I go along. No, it’s not something I can turn off. However, if it’s a fabulous novel, I’m in awe because I can imagine the process behind it, the approach, and I’m learning. When it’s quite the opposite, I’m thinking, how in the world did my work get rejected?
Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?
I can think of a whole mess of writing tips for aspiring authors but I guess I’ll boil it down to the ones I find most important. 1) First of all, write what you observe, whether it be what you hear or see or even taste. Don’t try to make what is there better than it is or something it’s not. Make the reader see, hear or taste what it is from a perspective; don’t reinvent it. 2) Like a good sports commentator or musician, know when to not do too much. A lot of authors are looking for the strongest verb when they really need the best verb for the scene and timing and whatever. I always hear something like, there’s a stronger verb you can use, but I’m thinking, yeah, but is there a better one? 3) The third is connected to the first two: don’t overwrite. If a character is angry, don’t say he/she hissed or growled or something silly like that. Nobody has EVER hissed at me or growled at me. Simply say what he/she is doing or thinking. Don’t worry about impressing the reader with your word choice so much. Readers truly don’t care about your choice of words, if they want your perfectly normal characters to hiss and growl all day.
How often do you write?
I write every day. I’ll be at work delivering packages, and the whole time or at least a big part of the time, I’m just going over dialogue in my head, and it’s crazy. I’ll hear a line from someone in the day and add it to a character, or I’ll get someone in the real world’s view on something and add it to the story. Ideas just build through the day. It all seems to find a home on the page. Every day is inspiration, I suppose. Hell, give me some coffee and a conversation to listen to and it’s a good time. Recently I had some coffee and was meeting with some money consultant about buying a house with my wife. My wife is pregnant, and the consultant person asked what the child is going to be. In my head I was like, well, I guess instead of a child she could have a bowling ball or a watermelon or, shoot, a bird of some sort. A hell of a story might be about a place where you could give birth to whatever and whenever. Could you imagine going outside and thinking, that tire on that sedan—I gave birth to it. That tree out front—that’s my second born. Its name is Brian.
Are you an avid reader?
I’m not an avid reader. I try to be, though. I don’t want to sound negative, but a lot of books simply aren’t that good. I find literary work being literary more than entertaining, and I find genre fiction busy placating its audience. I think parameters bore me. But I try anything. Never read erotica though, and haven’t read any horror lately. I try to be an avid reader. Either I’m failing or the system is. Me or it needs to do better.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on book 3 in the In Blackness trilogy. It’s probably the hardest thing I’m ever going to do. My current work, The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe, took about three years to complete, if not longer. I started the third In Blackness book long before that and I’m barely to chapter, um, two. The three books are moving through genres, which makes it brutal to do properly. The first is a coming of age story the ends in the horror genre. The second book, is clearly in the horror genre but moves into science fiction. The third book takes place in the future and gets a little political, but hopefully the horror shines through. Totally brutal. Like whoa. No slasher stuff. No senseless blood or zombies or whatever but I think there will be tunnels where you can hear the Earth screaming. We’ll see how it goes.
U.L. Harper is giving away a free e-copy of his book!
Terms & Conditions:
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one free e-copy of THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.
- This giveaway ends midnight June 30.
- Winner will be contacted via email on June 31.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!