Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tour: Above the Universe Below by Elias Barton (Guest Post+Giveaway)

Tour Hosted by FMB Book Tours

Title: Above the Universe Below
Author: Elias Barton
Genre: Fantasy, Dark,
Publisher: Iron Glass Press
Pages: 332


Amazon US (Kindle) | Amazon (Print) | Amazon UK (Kindle)

For two years running (2011 & 2012) Above the Universe Below was was a semi-finalist in's Breakthrough Novel Award and Publishers Weekly:

"Brilliant writing carries this pleasantly odd tale of an agoraphobic artist, Carder Quevedo... Carder's road is not an easy one, but readers will be rooting for him in this unusual and beautifully written book."

An agoraphobic artist in our world but a grim reaper in another, Carder Quevedo hides at home, immersing himself in the paintings which commemorate the strange deaths he's witnessed. He ventures into public only when necessary, scrambling to his hospital job to extract corneas from deceased donors or darting to the diner to share a meal with Darren, his only friend. That's Carder's existence - and he's content.


Haika changes that. As the bored, beautiful owner of an art gallery - who also happens to be married - she stumbles into Carder in a chance encounter and soon becomes obsessed with his art. As they forge a quirky, electric relationship, Carder is reluctantly pulled into Haika's social world of wealth, status and the peculiar characters that come with it. Carder is pushed further to the edge when his teenage niece visits, rebelling against her ultra-conservative upbringing. All the while, Carder's hidden history threatens to ruin his developing chance at normalcy, and on the opening night of his art gallery show, his past finally catches up to his present and wreaks havoc upon them all.

About the Author:

Elias Barton has lived on the edge of an active volcano, worked in a Bible factory and is the author of the novel "Above the Universe Below." He was a semifinalist in both 2011 and 2012 for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He currently resides in Washington DC where he befriends gargoyles, feeds unicorns and combats two cats who try to smother him in his sleep.  

Find the Author: Website

Guest Post by Elias Barton:

Finding Inspiration: Above the Universe Below
by Elias Barton

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” – Franz Kafka

    Inspiration is a funny thing and it comes in funny ways: through a movie, a conversation, in dreams. At times, someone brings inspiration with them in their smile or wrapped up their anger. They accidentally drop it at your feet while searching for their keys. It can even come to you wearing the costume of an old memory. It’s all about listening and understanding that inspiration is there to find you – and it’s really important to latch onto it and work with it before it slips away – because, believe me, it will.
    The characters and story in my novel Above the Universe Below came in unusual ways. When I met the lead character, Carder Quevedo –an agoraphobic artist afraid to leave his house and petrified of social interaction – I had a part-time job working with the art of Salvador Dalí. Every day, I was exposed to the weird worlds inhabiting Dalí’s mind: a giraffe on fire, falling from a tower. Elephants with long, spindly legs that seemed miles long. An angel rummaging through drawers that are embedded in his body.  I was also studying Henry Darger, a hermit of a man who created reams of art for his own pleasure. Perhaps all of that imagery opened me to Carder.
    If you know writers, then you know how crazy they can be. I’m no exception. I’m telling you this because I know that how I met Carder might sound nuts: he woke me up in the early morning (we’re talking 3 or 4AM). He was awkward. His language was often bizarre. I found him immediately fascinating as he had an peculiar outlook and strange experiences. At first, I had no idea that those experiences included reaping souls in another world! Carder told me that he chose me to tell his story because he knew I would listen and that otherwise it will all remain untold. If I didn’t agree to work with this story, Carder’s life, his art, his history would go unrecorded. Upon meeting him, I knew there was something rich inside him and I decided to step forward and commit to the project.
    I also knew this would be a huge challenge. As I mentioned, Carder’s language was odd. He told me everything in a stunted way. He would beat around the bush and wasn’t always forthcoming. In order to minimize frustration, I wrote everything down as he told it and waited to edit it later into something that would reach the reader more easily. It was a sort of translation process that took several years.
    Haika was a totally different story. She was open and stepped up constantly to contribute her perspectives. She knew I loved Carder as much as she did and she knew his story should be recorded. As far as the inklings of inspiration for Haika went – I would see her walking down Brooklyn streets, or I’d be listening to a song on my headphones and suddenly know that she was somewhere listening to the same song at the same time. By the time I was done writing the novel, Carder, Haika and I had a dynamic three-way friendship. The closest thing I’ve seen to it is the relationship between Stingo, Nathan and Sophie in Sophie’s Choice. Only, I wasn’t to be in the book! I will always be thankful of my experience writing Above the Universe Below, even if it did happen mostly in my head.
    My advice, not just to other writers or artists, but to everyone is to listen and look for what inspires you. Even if you’re not writing a novel, inspiration is a form of magic that is reaching out to you – to tell you something. If nothing else, it will help you develop your artistic tastes and build structures for you to walk through when you only see darkness. Listen to what the universe is telling you – and you’ll be amazed at the story. 

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