Friday, May 28, 2010

FRIDAY FREESTYLE DOUBLE FEATURE: Eric Luper Releases a Love Manifesto!

Today we are celebrating with Eric Luper on his upcoming release of Seth Baumbartner's Love ManifestoFor our readers, here'’s the flap copy:       
Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life.

His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee's), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee's!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It's like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can't figure out what's going on.

To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring "what love is, why love is, and why we're stupid enough to keep going back for more." Things start looking up when Seth gets a job at a golf club with his hilarious and smut-minded best friend, Dimitri, and Dimitri's sister, Audrey. With their help, Seth tracks down his father's mystery date, hits the most infamous bogey in the history of golf, and discovers that sometimes love means eating the worst chicken-salad sandwich you can ever imagine. 
If that doesn'’t make you want to run out and buy the novel, you'’re not a true YA fan!

Eric is one of those brilliant and elusive authors who writes for BOYS.  (We know, gasp!)  

OY: Eric, did you set out to start writing for male readers, or did it just happen that way?

EL: First of all, I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with the word 'brilliant' when it comes to writing for boys. I just got back from Book Expo America (BEA) today and I spent time with R.L. Stine, Lemony Snicket, Jon Scieszka, David Lubar, Mo Willems, Jeff Kinney, Adam Rex, and oodles of other 'authors for boys.' Those guys are brilliant and I really don't consider myself in their league. Plus, somebody brilliant probably wouldn't use the word 'oodles.'
As far as making the decision to write for boys, I think it is second nature for a male to write a male protagonist. So, I suppose it just happened that way. However, I'm giving some thought to writing a novel with a female protagonist soon. Stay tuned...

OY: Ok, we're all really jealous that you were at BEA.  But changing gears, we don't want to be too presumptuous, but we're sure you wanted to describe your settings as accurately as possible.  So how many times did you eat at Applebee’s while writing Love Manifesto?  Like, does the wait staff know you by name now?

EL:  Ha! I only went there a few times, but while I was writing the book Applebee's underwent a uniform change and a menu change so I was faced with making some last-minute decisions. The good thing is that I was able to write off my visits to Applebee's. Perhaps for the next book I'll get brillianter and have scenes for my novel at Tavern on the Green.

OY: Tell us a little about the characters in Love Manifesto. Do they drive the plot, or is the other way around?

EL:  That's a tough question to answer. The characters in Love Manifesto are quite colorful. Each one amuses me for different reasons, but it's really the characters in a certain situation with certain stresses put upon them that drives the plot. Different characters would certainly lead to a very different plot.

OY: This is your third published novel.  Bug Boy - a historical novel about a young jockey set in Depression-era Saratoga - and Big Slick - a contemporary about growing up, gambling and tough choices - all seem very diverse.  Where do your ideas come from?  

EL: My ideas come from different places, but usually I have what I've heard other authors call an 'aha' moment where an initiating situation sparks in my head. Not a plot, necessarily, but more of a challenge or a 'what if' question. Then, I conceive of the characters and decide what they would do presented with that challenge. As things go on, my job is to type and to periodically make things harder for everyone.

OY: Bug Boy did incredibly well.  I remember hearing about it on national news coverage and it drew acclaim for drawing in reluctant male readers.  Are you looking to do more historical fiction?

EL:  Historical fiction was really an accident. I'm not what you would call a genre writer; I set my books in a time, place and world that suits the story I'd like to tell. I love to explore human nature and to play in that realm where young people realize that the world is made of many shades of gray rather than black and white. I knew I wanted to write a horse racing novel and in learning about the industry I discovered that 1934 was not only an interesting year in the sport, but it also served my story best.

OY: We dipped back into your blog archives to find that you aren’t necessarily an advocate of the advice: write what you know.  You would amend it to: write from where you know about what you’re passionate.  You obviously had an interest in certain “soft underbellies” when writing Bug Boy and Big Slick. What sparked your interest for Love Manifesto?

EL: The concept of love is something we all take for granted. We all know it when we feel it, but does anyone understand what love actually is? Why do we fall in love with one person and not another? Why does one love last for sixty or more years and another fizzle out in weeks? Scientists are just beginning to study the topic and have already identified eleven distinct types of love. It turns out your brain dumps different hormonal cocktails into different parts of your brain depending on the type of love: love for a spouse is different than infatuation. Love for your dog is different than love for a parent or sibling. And different stimuli can change how we perceive that love. And one type of love can change over time into others. It's a fascinating subject and one I wanted to explore.

OY: For those of us still striving toward publication, what’s the absolute best part of being a published author who’s no longer amongst the starving?

EL:  Before I was offered a contract on BIG SLICK, I racked up more than 100 rejections on various pieces I was working on. In retrospect, the work was not good enough. I was not ready. After awhile, I began to feel as though I was tossing my manuscripts over a ten-foot fence only to have them tossed back over with a rejection slip clipped to it. That is a tough feeling when you want something so badly. My best advice is to learn to grow a thick skin and take the rejections as a signal that the piece isn't quite there yet. Keep honing your craft: take classes, go to conferences and get involved in critique groups. Getting feedback is the only way you will grow as a writer.

OY: Okay, before you get too proud of yourself, we see you posted a YouTube video about the biggest fails of 2009.  Got to love the #fail.  If there was an Eric Luper fail, what would it be?

EL: It would probably be in third grade. I was new in town and it was my first time in gym class. We were playing basketball and some kid I didn't know was shooting a foul shot. He missed and when the rebound came down, it landed in my hands. I started dribbling and running to the other end of the court. I heard shouting from behind me, shouting I was certain was the cheering of my teammates. I was destined for new-kid glory. I took my shot and made the two points. When I turned around, the captain of my team called me stupid and snatched the ball away. I had scored a basket for the other team... #LUPERfail

OY: Very funny!  On a more serious note, it’s obvious from your website that you are committed to giving back to the community.  Was there any defining moment that made you get involved?  What would you tell people who don’t think they have the time or the means to help?

EL: I feel like I don't do enough. So many of my friends are on the boards of different charities or donate their time to different causes. I believe the efforts of a few people can change the lives of many and I like to come up with ways to do that. I'm in the process of rebuilding a dilapidated library for a not-for-profit residential and therapeutic school for at-risk girls age 12 to 18 called St. Anne Institute. I've already collected over 600 books from authors, friends, publishers, agents, and librarians, but these girls need so much more. If you want to help out or learn more, check out my blog entry at:

To the people who claim they do not have the time or means to help, take it from a guy who writes a book each year, has two small kids, another full-time job and a house to maintain: you have the time.

OY: We see you’ve sold your fourth novel - a middle grade number - which as of April was in title Limbo.  Congrats!  Please tell us more about it, including a name if you have one now.

EL: The current title for my next novel is JEREMY BENDER VS. THE CUPCAKE CADETS. It's a middle grade book that can be described as Bosom Buddies meets the Girl Scouts. The book is about two 6th grade boys who are in a financial pinch when they accidentally destroy the engine of an antique boat. After exploring other options, they finally decide to enter a competition held by the Cupcake Cadets by masquerading as two female scouts. The trouble starts when they discover they have to earn several Achievement Badges and sell a slew of cupcakes before they can enter the competition.... and being a girl is a lot harder than it seems! CUPCAKE CADETS is slated for publication in Spring 2011.

Oh my gosh!  This sounds absolutely hysterical.  So love that concept!
BONUS QUESTION:  If you were stranded on a desert oasis and could only have one artist or band on your iPod, who would it be?  Is that the same selection Seth Baumgartner would make? 

EL: Seth and I both have quite eclectic tastes when it comes to music. My iPod has music on it that ranges from classical to hip-hop. It would be really hard for me to pick one artist or band because what I want to hear changes depending on my mood. If I had to pick one single artist and I was going to be stranded for longer than a week or two (assuming I had an unlimited battery), I would have to pick Beethoven. That music has such a broad range of moods that I could listen to it over and over. Also, there are long stretches of quiet parts when I could listen out for the hungry pumas that were likely stalking me.

Thank you, Eric.  We've enjoyed having you visit our Oasis.  We hope you'll drop by again soon.

Thank you for having me!!

And don't forget, it's still not too late to enter to win a copy of Beth Fantaskey's Jekel Loves Hyde.  Hurry!  We'll select a winner on May 31st.


  1. Sounds like a great and funny book, I can't wait to pick it up :)

  2. If anyone has any additional questions, feel free to post 'em here! I'll watch for any new ones throughout the day.

  3. Great job, Jessica. Thanks for your time, Eric. Enjoy your weekend ladies.

  4. Is this guy funny, or what? Sounds like perfect summer reading to me!

  5. All of his books sound really funny! Thanks for the interview.


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