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Shop Talk Wednesday with Eric Luper

Yeah, I know. Shop Talk Wednesday doesn’t sound as cool as Shop Talk Tuesday, but yesterday was a total bear. 😉

So today, we have a fellow Class of 2k7 member Eric Luper joining us in the shop! Eric is the author of Big Slick, a young adult novel that Richie Partington of Richie’s Picks calls, “an action-filled tale involving hot girls, hot cars, very dangerous people, serious desperation, and some seriously bad choices,” and Kirkus Reviews says has “powerful momentum, upping the ante and racing the reader’s pulse like an amphetamine.”


Welcome, Eric! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip.

When’s the last time you’ve treated yourself to a manicure?

Quite honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a manicure. In fact, most of the haircuts I’ve had have been in a barbershop with an old Italian guy whose idea of cleaning his place is sweeping most of the hair from the last guy out of the path from the stack of Playboys to his barber chair.

What’s the most regrettable hairstyle you’ve ever had? Any mullets? Rat tails?

When I was in high-school, I tried to let my hair get long in the back. I’m not sure if it was technically a mullet, because I had no idea what a mullet was. I just knew I wanted to look like Rick Springfield. The problem was that my hair is curly, which resulted in a bushy mess back there. Finally, I gave up and had it all chopped off. The rest of my hair started jumping ship soon after and I’ve kept it short since then. There’s nothing sadder than a guy with thinning hair who tries to compensate by growing a ponytail.

Yeah, I’m with you on that, Eric. BTW, the definition of a mullet: Business in the front, party in the back. 😉

Okay, the ladies in my novel always answer the “Hypothetical Questions of the Week” from their favorite tabloid. So here are a few for you:

HQ #1: For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?

Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve read a lot of his work (not that my writing takes after his at all) and would love to meet the man behind all of those twisted stories. I might decline the opium though. However, I suspect the image I have in my head is far better than the real thing would be.

HQ #2: If you could hit the rewind button, which book published by another author do you wish you could have written? Which movie screenplay?

I read The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak with awe, but if I could pick a book to have written I think I’d choose Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut. The offhanded, casual voice in that book, along with the humor, just amazes me. And it amazes me every time I reread it. Now you have me wanting to go reread it again!!

As for screenplays, I’d have to go with Pulp Fiction. It was just so innovative and fresh. I remember coming out of that movie both confused and in awe and it brought me straight back to the cinema the next week. However, the screenplay I’d love to work on would be an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, the absolutely brilliant story of Bruce Wayne over 20 years after he hung up his cape for the last time. There’s a crime wave and the 60+ year-old caped crusader goes back into business. It’s intense.

HQ #3: You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

I don’t really have a single thing that I’d run off and spend it on. It’s more like I’d put the bill in my wallet and squander it on random stuff. Pizza, some coffees, maybe a cigar or a bottle of wine…and before I knew it, the money would be gone. And I’d have a sense of regret that I could have spent the money on something better, but I’d have no idea what that “something” would have been. Does that make me a squanderer? Perhaps I’m a squanderer.

HQ #4: TV execs are offering you a spot on a new reality show for writers. Do you say yes? If so, how would you be portrayed? (i.e. the boss, whiner, bore, paranoid-wreck, etc.?)

I would love to be on a reality show, but it would depend on the prize. It would have to be really good to drag me away from my family. I went to a writing retreat this year in New Hampshire (thank you, Jackie Davies!) and I holed myself up in my room all day every day. I challenged myself to write 10,000 words over the weekend. Needless to say, people rarely saw me except at meals and after dinner. I ended up writing over 11,000 by Sunday and it pushed me over the hump to finish my second novel. I suppose in reality show terms that would make me the anti-social hermit that no one likes.

HQ #5: You’re a big-time celebrity who just had a baby. If you were competing for the most bizarre celebrity baby name, what would it be?

If I were able to have a baby, just that fact alone would make me a big-time celebrity. However, if I were a big-time celebrity for something else and my wife had a baby or we adopted a newborn I think I might name him “The Baby Formerly Known as Fetus” and he would have a symbol to represent his name. That, or “Spencer.”

(Laura’s note to self: Reword that questions for guys! Hehe.)

HQ #6: Paparazzi are stalking you, looking for shots of odd things authors do while writing. What do they catch you doing, hmm?

Just yesterday I spilled a filled-to-the-brim 20-oz Starbucks coffee down the front of myself and right onto the brand spanking new carpeting in my office. I burned my forearm and ruined a shirt and new pants. More importantly, it was the first outfit I had actually taken the time to iron in like 6 months. So, it just goes to show you that you should never iron anything. I’m sorry…what was the question?

The Lightning Round—no more than two words per answer!

Do you . . .
Outline or wing it?
Wing it
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep your trap shut? Talk some
Love to edit or cringe at the thought? “Darlings” Killer
Prefer writing a new book or marketing the old? Writing anew
Write better at home or in a coffee shop? Not sure
Read your released book or nope, I’ve read it enough? Read passages

And finally, what’s your favorite . . .
Time to write?
Evenings to write new stuff; daytime to edit
Movie? Pulp Fiction
Book? Whatever I’m working on at the moment, yes, I’m egotistical enough to say I like my own work best!!!
Song? Baby Elephant Walk
Pair of shoes? My electric-blue Nike trail runners
Guiltiest pleasure? Sadly, the Internet…
Line from a movie? Tie between Thulsa Doom saying “Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe” in Conan the Barbarian, and Newt saying “…it’ll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night… mostly,” in Aliens.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Eric, and best of luck with your recently released BIG SLICK! And hey, can you tell me when the next retreat is? That sounded heavenly–I could use some anti-social hermit time. Oh, and I want you to know that whenever I hear Baby Elephant Walk, I will automatically think of you. 😉

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