Hey there, everyone! Welcome to the kickoff of the Katy of Clay Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This upcoming week we’ve got a busy schedule of features from our Roadie bloggers and Bookstagrammers showcasing U.L. Harper’s horror fantasy novel, Katy of Clay. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a great week!
Back in February I participated in the cover reveal for this beautiful book, where it initially piqued my interest. I’m really excited to hear what people think one, as it seems like a book unlike any other. Today I’m excited to welcome U.L to the blog for a chat about all things bookish, Katy of Clay, writing, and what lies ahead. So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author and read the incredible interview!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Katy of Clay. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
AUGUST 15TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (@whispersandwonder)
The Fictional Journal
Sadie’s Spotlight (@sadiesspotlight)
AUGUST 21ST – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
Sometimes, to truly live, you need to die a little.
Katy’s father claims he created her out of special clay, literally with his hands. Adding that she will soon slip into another world because of it does not make his assertion any less farfetched, not even to a highly creative art student such as her. Nevertheless, she suddenly finds herself in that other world with nothing more than skills as an artist and her father’s insistence she travel across this incredible landscape to an old family refuge.
Not long into the journey, she discovers the inhabitants are fleshy ghosts forced to perpetually relive murder and suicide. It is in this violent environment where she comes to terms with an unusual benefit of her artistic talent—with it, she can free ghosts from their deaths.
In this reality bending tale of magical realism and horror, Katy will learn answers to questions she has never been brave enough to ponder, all while traveling through a bizarre world with only a sketchbook and pen to defend herself.
Meet The Author
U.L. Harper writes literary fiction that teeters on the edge of fantasy, magical realism, and horror.
Originally from Long Beach, California, he now makes his home in Tacoma, Washington, with his wife and daughter.
Keep in touch by joining The World of U.L. at ulharper1.com
Give us an idea of how Katy of Clay came to fruition.
I remember the initial idea of it being about two young guys going on a road trip and dying in a car accident. But they don’t know they died so they continue their trip. Slowly they realize everyone they meet is dead, then it dawns on them that they’re dead, too. That’s where it started, at least. There are a few characters that are built off this initial story, but even that is truly different. In the future there will be a string of shorts based on that universe. Really fun stuff.
Can you share with us something about Katy of Clay that isn’t in the blurb?
Yes. The relationship or missing relationship between Katy and her mother is unique. I present it as less than a side story, but Katy can’t remember what her mother looks like. It’s a mystery as to why. In the original description it’s mentioned but because of how violent the novel is, that part of the story was dropped from the blurb.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
I had to research a lot of suicide and murders. I had to double check to see what I had witnessed in the past could be explained to an audience. Eventually, I stopped caring if it seemed authentic and just wrote it authentically. That first sequence where Roger relives his suicide a few times, is just a lived event. Me and few friends discovered him mid suicide attempt. I had to recreate that scene and take out things that nobody would believe. I had to research—only a little—to see what wasn’t believable. The most unbelievable thing was our reactions to the event. Originally Katy acted like us, but then I had to add things.
What do you hope your readers take away from Katy of Clay?
The overall point, the big theme is that through creativity we can overcome or find our way through most anything, even if it’s long after the fact. Like I was telling a friend, while most stories are about life and have death added to them, this story is about death and has a bit of life added to it.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Honestly, I’m not sure I have a plot for this. There’s no villain. There’s no good guy. We’re in this thing finding out where individuals fit. Once we find out where they fit, we take it from there. At its core it’s a literary novel based on personal growth. That said, I imagined the world based on trauma before anything. So, the setting came first. When you traumatically die, that energy stays there in some fashion and you keep dying that way, indefinitely. With that, every other block can be a different time and year. Everywhere she goes someone is being killed or about to be killed or is murdering themselves. Then I was like, wow, who are these people?
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Katy is my favorite character. I think her outlook and her voice is unique. The decisions she makes are like no other character you’ll run into. And what she finally decides to do is almost unfathomable. I think about her being there right now as I type this and I wonder what trauma she is trying to encounter, what death she is trying to make better, what year she’s doing it in, and when she’ll finally give up.
What do you think makes a good story?
Interesting timing and characters make for a good story. The paths they take. To me a story is more how things happen rather than what is happening. I don’t need a ton of plot when reading. I prefer voice, details and cadence. I prefer empathy. I’m fine with a sad ending. Oh, and the characters need to be interesting. I don’t need to like them. But they need to be interesting.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
That first novel would simply be shorter. It’s amazing. I will release it again one day after editing it down and finding a new cover. I love my old style. Super deep and it just didn’t care. A bit verbose, however.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I’ve been running into younger writers more lately, both in real life (pre-covid) and online. I’ll say to them that there IS bad writing. A lot of people like to say, well, it depends on who you are and the reader. Yeah, sure. Just remember plenty of readers like bad writing. There is also good writing. And just because it’s entertaining, it doesn’t make it good. It’s like cigarettes. They can be great and fun and really social. People love cigarettes. But they’re bad. Did I just compare bad writing to cigarettes? Yes, I did. That raw broccoli that you don’t want, it’s good. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, cigarettes are bad.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Don’t play with me emotions.
Winter or Summer?
Summer. Driving in rain and snow sucks.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Physical books for collecting. E-books for actual reading.
Mountains or Oceans?
A prefer a wall with graffiti. I love people.
Beer or Wine?
Wine, red, at night, with good friends. Whiskey when I’m alone.
Books or Movies?
I’d rather watch a bad movie than read a bad book.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens, and it’s not close.
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
They both suck equally. But, yeah, give me the graffiti.
Work hard or Play hard?
I don’t want to do anything that’s hard, especially work. If playing is hard, I’m out.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, U.L. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
You’ll hear about a string of shorts based on Katy of Clay coming out soon. A few are out right now. Latrice and The Basement. I’m working on a fantasy novel. It ought to be interesting.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Katy of Clay tour page over at Storytellers On Tour to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to share!