ABOUT THE BOOK:
Langley, sick of his suburban life and sick of watching the man who raised him wither from the relentlessly ugly clutches of Alzheimer’s, moves to Long Beach with the hopes of finding more. What he finds is a group of poets with a message, a message they want to get out.
When Langley moves to Long Beach he instantly finds himself in a new world of poetry and graffiti. A world that is in the throws of destruction and in the need of revolution. Langley is forced to make the decision; does he stay in this new world with its collapsible revolution, or does he attempt to endure a life marred in the memory of his death mother and in the current state of his Grandfather.
The Flesh Statue follows Langley on this search for answers and along the way introduces us to an array of characters from the eratic Cinci who is trying to escape a troubled past, to Bert, a man who is willing to fight and burn for his ideals, to Latrail, a young woman taking on the role which Langley should himself be filling.
Q: In your book you cover the topic of Alzheimers disease. Did you do a lot of researching on this subject or was it first hand experience?
A: I had experience with this first hand. So I went into my memory to recall physical moments and emotions from that time. Though, I had to fill the gaps so I did quite a bit of research. I actually did this research while researching Mad Cow Disease for another story. You’d be surprised at the similarities.
Q: Were you often surprised by where the story or the characters took you?
A: There was this one moment towards the back of the book where I was like, wow, that just happened. I had no idea that was going to go down like that. Very impactful. The characters generally didn’t escape me. Some of the phrasings surprised me. Some of them were awkward but I kept them anyway. The term Bang Daddy is used. When I saw that in print I nearly died.
Q: What are your characters names and how did you come up with them?
A: Okay, this might be rather disappointing. Langley Jackson is a hybrid of someone I once new. Leland Jackson. Just a good name for an average person. Then there is Cinci which is short for Cincinnati. That’s where she’s from. Her other name in the story is Barbara. Of course there is Infami whose name was also Infamy, both of them his tagger names, oh so briefly, but his god given name is Bucky. A cousin of mine was named Bucky. I think his real name was James. Not sure. Then there’s Bert. That’s simply the first name that came to my mind. Notice there aren’t any last names. Nobody in the story has a nationality. Something none of my readers ever mentions.
Q: Having published your debut novel what do you think you’re still learning about writing?
A: At this point it’s not so much about learning as it is about execution. It’s getting people to trust your style. People give all kinds of tips about this and that this and that. But I read pretty frequently and I’ll tell you what: there are some horrible books out there that sell, for real. Some of these authors overuse adjectives, over describe basically everything, have horrible dialogue or they’re straight up boring. People don’t seem to care. Authors and publishers worry about all these POD’s publishing subpar books. Well, books have been subpar with traditional as well. Really subpar, I wonder how some of these people sleep at night. Or maybe they wrote their book in their sleep.
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.