Friday, August 22, 2014

Author Interview + Giveaway: The Universe Builders by Steve LeBel

Hola muchachos y muchachas! :D So today I have an interview with Steve LeBel for you guys, and let me tell you, his book The Universe Builders is the BEST! And guess what, you will have the chance to win your very own e-copy of said book! Yay! :D But first, a little about the book...

Bernie and the Putty (The Universe Builders, #1)
What if God got a C- in Universe Building 101?

We have all heard of the fabled perfect being, the Greek God.

Well, how about a geek god? Named Bernie, yet.

Fresh with his diploma from God School, determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie faces the challenge of building his own universe. If only it were that easy...

An old school rival will do whatever it takes to ensure Bernie's failure, even if it means destroying his world.

It’s god vs. god, guile vs. goodness, where only one of them plays by the rules. Bernie must find a way to outwit his evil foe. If he fails, it will cost him everything.

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.


Hi Steve! *waves* Welcome! Tell us 3 random things about yourself, including 1 thing people would be surprised to know about you.
  • My dad bought me a scuba tank as a reward for getting straight A’s through 7th grade.
  • I still turn over rotten logs to see what’s under them when I walk in the woods.
  • I painted over 2,000 lead figures for use in our Dungeons & Dragons games.
  • I used to raise sea horses.

Describe your novel in 7 words or less.

Young god trying to build a universe.

The Universe Builders was such an amazing story with a very original concept! What inspired you to write it? I am a HUGE fan of mythology, Greek mythology in particular, so I just have to ask this: Did any type of mythology influence you to write Bernie's story?

One of my first books was Bulfinch’s Mythology. I studied comparative religion in school and was intrigued with everything I learned. I remember the incident that sparked the idea for my book when I was in college. Someone was having a very bad run of luck, and they grumbled, “God must have gotten a C- in Universe Building 101.” It struck me as funny and when I started writing, I knew I had to write about it.

What was the hardest part about writing The Universe Builders? What was your favorite part? Why?

The hardest part was trying to move anything around in the story. The plot is heavily interconnected with other parallel plot lines. During the editing process I had to move some things around. I had to write out about 150 slips of paper, lay them out on the table, to keep track of everything. Then I had to do lots of revisions to multiple scenes to make everything flow in the new format.

My favorite part was writing about Sissy. I loved the way she (with Suzie’s help) forced Lenny to think differently about things.

Would you say you have an interesting writing quirk?

I have one in particular. I cannot read my own writing out loud. It’s silly, I know, but every time I try, I choke up. I put too much into the characters, and I haven’t learned or found a way to detach from them.

Authors write, that's a known fact. But authors don't write all the time... unless you're a robot! O.o So, Steve, what do you do when you're not writing? Anything you like doing in your free time?

Computers have always fascinated me, so a lot of what I do revolves around them. You might find me making web pages, doing tech support for friends, or playing a video game. When doing something non-technical, you might find me playing with the cats or forcing myself to get some exercise by taking a walk on the sand dunes near my house.

What does your protagonist, Bernie, think of you? Would he want to hang out with you, the author, his creator? Would he be mind-blown? I mean, you're both creators! I think I just blew my own mind just by thinking about it, ha!

I have a picture about that. Two, actually...

Actually, the idea has intrigued me also. I added a few more pics with the same theme...

I see you've done everything from being a hospital president to a stock trader and a whole lot of other things in between... SO many diverse careers you've had! If someone wrote a book about YOUR life, what would the title be?

Work Hard; Play Hard

Here is another important question: Steve, please tell me there will be more Universe Building goodness with Bernie in the future! PLEASE! Ahem... *calms down before the author is scared away* What I meant was, do you have any future books planned that will continue Bernie's story?

LOL. Yes, I have made a lot of promises to write more about Bernie and his friends. A lot of people want to see more of him.

What are your current projects? Can you tell us anything about any upcoming books? Any juicy details you are willing to divulge? *wink wink*

Okay, it was that wink that got to me. Made me putty in your hands… This is from the next book I hope to begin soon.

  • The book opens in a feudal world. Powerful sorcerers are at war. Lightning bolts streak the sky and fireballs smash against castle walls. Crops are burning. Even the mountains shake from the barrage of sorcerous magic.
  • Pan back to a god as he exits the warring universe. He is angry. The wars and chaos on the planet are interfering with his plans. This world is supposed to be growing vegetables for him to import to the God World. The constant wars on the planet make that impossible. So…
  • He takes the defective universe back to The Business. “It’s still under warranty,” he says. “You have to fix it.”
  • The head of the Complaint Department calls out, “Oh, Bernie… We have a job for you.”

And just for fun...

With some limitations, Bernie can travel into the past and future of the universes he creates. If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future?

The future. I think we are going to have amazing technology in the future. In less than 100 years, people will live multiples of our life-times. The only thing they have to fear is injury or accidents. (Hmm… that sounds familiar)

If you had a superpower what would it be?

Flying. Without a doubt. I one recurring dream – flying. Whenever I have it, I am happy for days.

Night owl or early bird?

Night owl. Hate getting up early.

If you were stranded on a DESSERT island, what one thing would you never get tired of eating?

I love the Magnum Bars, double-dipped chocolate and caramel. I owe a few pounds to those bad things.

Finish the sentence: “I can’t live without…”

“… a challenge.” If I don’t have one, then I create one. Just can’t stand to be idle. Fortunately for me, my wife has vetoed some of my more stupid and dangerous ideas.

Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?

I love talking to people about my book. If you feel like it, please contact me.

E-mail | Website

Steve LeBel - photo
About the Author:

Businessmen are serious people, right? Not always. Steve LeBel — hospital president, technology entrepreneur, algorithmic stock trader — is definitely not serious.

Not when he writes.

Whimsy overcomes him at the word processor. Whimsy is at the core of his novel, The Universe Builders, which he tells with a unique balance of seriousness, humor, and imagination.

LeBel lives in Muskegon, Michigan with his wife Marge, and Mindy and Dexter, their cats. When not writing, he is busy planning his next trip, cussing out the stock market, doing tech support for friends, or dreaming up new Universe Builder plots.

And now for the giveaway! Weeee!

The Rules and Other-Important-Stuff-You-Should-Probably-Read:
  • This giveaway is International.
  • The winner will be notified by e-mail on September 5th and will have 48 hours to claim the prize, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. (So please, when you sign in to the Rafflecopter form, use an e-mail you check often and double check that it is correct.)
  • Must be 13 or older to enter or have parent's permission.
  • 1 entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted and participant will be disqualified from this giveaway. The only exception is the "once a day" entries.
  • All entries will be verified. If any are falsified, all entries for that participant will be deleted, and the participant will be disqualified from this giveaway.
  • Prize provided by the author :)
  • Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much to Steve LeBel for stopping by and answering some of my questions! And thank YOU for dropping in and reading! Make sure you enter the giveaway 'cause you do NOT want to miss this read! Good luck! :)


  1. I think Lenny is going to be my fave character. But I do like the bad boy Billy as well! Lol!
    The raffle copter trailer link didn't work for me but I found the trailer on Steve LeBel's site and it's cute! Here's the link in case anyone else is having the same problem. 😛

  2. I think Suzie would be my favorite character!

  3. Lovely interview! Thanks for the giveaway! :)
    Also, odd question, but do you have under 200 followers? I'd like to nominate you for the Leiber Awards.

  4. I think the trailer is great. I would like to read this book thank you.

  5. I think I would like Bernie the best since the story revolves around him.

  6. The universe builders sound very interesting, I would like to read this book.

  7. The trailer looked great. Sounds like a wonderful book. Hope I get a chance to read it.

  8. I think i like Bernie the best for sure.

  9. The book sounds great. I like the premise but I sure would love to read it.

  10. I love all the great comments here. Thank you for your interest in the book. I can assure you it is a fun read. :-)