Author Interview 172 – Belart Wright


Belart Wright

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Age 32

I’m a fan of Dark Fantasy, Occult, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, LitRPG, and GameLit books, so naturally, I write in these genres. My most popular books, such as the Hell’s Glitch series, mix and match several if not all of those genres into something that holds my interest enough to sit, think, and write about for hours at a time. You’ll find themes of transhumanism, duality within man, and character progression in most of what I write.

Twenty years into the future, an independent virtual reality developer named Fulton Milner creates a deeply immersive VR program that truly fools the mind. Milner’s newest industry shattering creation is a dark fantasy adventure simulator known only as Project DH. With technology that dives so deeply into human dreams, Milner is granted unparalleled access into each tester’s mind and perhaps even their very souls.

Sam Nagai thought testing video games would be a dream job until he got saddled with a ton of barely playable mobile games with shoddy gimmicks. Due to poor product and pay, Sam is usually reluctant whenever he gets a call for a new gig, but customers for his art commissions have been scarce and Sam needs all the money he can get. The potential bonus pay for this new gig catches his attention as does the description of the game. Virtual reality, a dark atmosphere and gothic fantasy world, role-playing game mechanics, and uber hard difficulty? Sam’s all in for that. After all, there’s no really any danger, right?

Join Sam on a role-playing adventure where the main goal is survival at all costs, where power and horror commingle in ways that are equally terrifying and addictive. It’s a hair-raising adventure inspired by a dark masterpiece, at least that’s what Sam thinks.

**Includes a new prologue, additional game lore, new chapters, and updated scenes.

Romelia:   WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?

Belart Wright:     Hell’s Glitch has changed a lot since its first draft.  I could never remember all those changes off the top of my head, but one of the most significant changes was to the background lore of the game scenario that Sam finds himself trapped in. The focus and scope of that lore have changed drastically which alters the story in some fun ways.

Romelia:   WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?

Belart Wright:     It was early 2015 and I was sitting down watching some anime on Crunchyroll with a subscription I shared with a friend.  I ended up watching the entire first season of Sword Art Online and two hopeless scenes in particular inspired the feel for Hell’s Glitch.  These grim battle scenes showed the protagonists faced with impossible raid bosses and in this show, a virtual death was the same as a death in real life. 

During this time, I was playing a tough dark fantasy, an adventure game called Dark Souls with a similar hopeless feel.  It brought forth a few questions: “What if someone were forced to survive in a souls-like dark fantasy game?  What psychological toll would this take on them?  And what would be their strategy for survival?”

As that idea was churning in my head, I was reading some of the early LitRPG and GameLit books of the time and saw that it was the perfect time to release a book with this kick-ass concept.  And so I did, the very next year.

Romelia:   HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?

Belart Wright:     This one is still tough for me.  I mostly wrote it for myself to satisfy this what-if concept that was burning in my brain.  I think someone who’s into darker modern videogames would definitely enjoy it.  Sci-Fi and Horror fans would also find a lot to enjoy about it.  The concept is a natural genre-bender.  It’s almost like a dark fantasy take on The Matrix.  It’s tough to pin down who that’s for exactly.  Maybe everyone?

Romelia:   HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?

Belart Wright:     A lot.  Much more than I expected, honestly.  The plot of the book required some research into lucid dreaming, virtual reality, mythology, geography, geology, demonology, world history, as well as a whole host of techniques related to editing and formatting for various print and eBook formats. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Romelia:   WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?

Belart Wright:     I can’t think of one that was particularly difficult to write.  Sometimes, I lack the experience to write a scene and I have to stop and research what I’m doing and saying for that scene.  Those are difficult due to the stop and start nature of writing those scenes and lacking confidence because of my lack of knowledge on the vital subject matter.

Romelia:   WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

Belart Wright:     Sam and I are fairly similar.  Sam’s from Hell’s Glitch.  Everyone in the books likely has some similarity with someone I know, but it’s difficult for me to compare them because I see the characters I created as individuals.  And if there’s any comparison to be had, I can never remember who might have inspired which trait.  Perhaps I never knew to begin with.

Romelia:   HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Belart Wright:     I worked on ideas and concepts for about 5 to 6 months and finally nailed the idea down. I wrote and scrapped a few sample stories as I wanted Hell’s Glitch to be set during the alpha testing period of the story I was initially planning.  Hell’s Glitch took on a life of its own and once I finally got around to writing it, I started with the first four chapters before making more detailed outlines of each chapter after.  With this process, the writing went quick.  Looking back at my notes, it looks like it took another 5 to 6 months to complete the initial 30 chapters of the book’s first draft.

Romelia:   HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?

Belart Wright:     I’m usually pretty good at coming up with snappy titles.  I’m not sure where it comes from.  I can’t remember where the name Hell’s Glitch came from but it apparently fit the story in my head.  Looking back on it, it’s a great title for the story.  Looks like it’s an original one too, according to Google.

Romelia:   WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?

Belart Wright:     Easily.  We’d both be into similar games and have similar aspirations as creatives, Sam as an artist and me as a writer.  Maybe I could get him to draw some book covers for me.

Romelia: IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Belart Wright:     I think we’d just naturally strike up conversations about videogames, books, or TV shows.  They are from over ten years in the future so I’d ask them about that.  Maybe from there, we’d discuss something with a little more depth.  Perhaps I’d ask for lottery outcomes … for reasons.

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

Belart Wright:     I lean more towards the plotter side but I’m a good mix of both.  I write outlines that are fairly detailed but whenever I get to the scene, sometimes the characters take over and leave the confines of my outline which sometimes negates hours’ worth of outline work.  I tend to let the characters do their thing even when it messes up my perfectly orchestrated plot because it really is their story and not mine.  Who am I to meddle in their lives …

Romelia:   WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Belart Wright:     An organized and clean space along with silence and stillness.  Solitude helps too, since acting out scenes and talking to myself aloud adds a lot to my creative process.  The idea of someone catching me doing either of those things is still embarrassing to me. 

Romelia:   IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

Belart Wright:     I’ve already done so, twice.  The first was Liandra from Average Joe and the Extraordinaires, who got her own title, Liandra, and the Dream Reader.  The other is Kalika of IMMORtAL_Kalika: The Speedrunner, which is a spinoff of my current book, Hell’s Glitch.  Both are kickass female characters associated with famous goddesses.

Romelia:   IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Belart Wright: Probably Alexandra Engelmann. She’s cool and does cool stuff over in Russia.

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?

Belart Wright:     It tends to be all over the place.  Since I’m getting back into writing and self-publishing after a year and a half long hiatus, I’m looking to improve my habits.  Previously, I would simply write all day, every day, with some breaks in-between to manage my life.  I would write whenever and wherever I could such as on public transportation, on lunch breaks at work, or even while out with family and friends.  Doing this wasn’t always as productive as it sounds.  So, I’m looking for more structure this time around.

Romelia:   HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?

Belart Wright:     I’ve done virtual tours of Baalbek Lebanon for Liandra and the Dream Reader.  For another story of mine, Hell Warriors, I’ve visited local abandoned car factories which are prevalent in that story.

Romelia:   WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?

Belart Wright:     Tea or iced tea.  Sometimes I pair that with a cookie or something like PB&J on Ritz Crackers.

Romelia:    HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?

Belart Wright:     I don’t really because self-publishing requires so much more work even after you finally publish your story.  That said, if there’s legitimately nothing I can do for a book after publishing but track stats and data, then I will enjoy a quiet day to myself.  Back before I had a car, I’d take the bus to some chill spot, maybe a tea shop or dimly lit diner, and I’d come up with ideas for the next story or those coming far down the pipeline.

Romelia:   WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?

Belart Wright:     I don’t write for a particular genre.  I write what interests me.  Most of what I grew up on were genre-benders.  In today’s self-publishing landscape, it’s much more difficult for new authors to gain an audience without leaning into the benefits of genre writing. Hopefully, my books will continue to resonate with others despite their lack of adherence to genre conventions.

Romelia:   WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Belart Wright:     I did so years ago to see if my books were showing up on the Google search.  If I search my name today, my Amazon book page is the first thing that pops up along with my various social media.  I must have a pretty unique name.  I see my books on the images but I also see some quotes I made years ago, now on various quote websites.  I’m not sure when that happened.

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?

Belart Wright:     I’m like the Marvel Comics character Gladiator (who is fittingly an analog for DC’s Superman).  Gladiator’s level of strength is proportional to his level of confidence and so if he’s not feeling so hot, he’s going to be considerably weaker than if he’s feeling good about himself.  I’m the same way.  When my confidence wanes, I suddenly feel powerless.  Part of my last hiatus was thanks to this waning of confidence but more of it was due to life events.  What we do as self-publishing authors requires a lot of grit and self-motivation and for that, you need to believe in yourself and what you add to this vast world.

Romelia:   TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Belart Wright:     I recently got pulled over for speeding to get some crackers and crackers only from the grocery store.  The kicker is that the grocery store was closed and the crackers weren’t even for me.  That was the most expensive box of crackers that I ever paid for and I never even got them.

Romelia:   DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.

Belart Wright:     I am an odd human being, to say the least, and often feel out of place in modern times.  I sometimes wish I were perhaps born 20 years earlier, but then I remind myself that it doesn’t pay to have these regrets.  I’m grateful to be born at all even in this confusing era.  I grew up on some of the greatest TV shows and movies, all of which have influenced my writing and I’m into videogames, martial arts, history, and mythology.

The world is complex and ever-changing.  There is so much hate already in the world that I won’t mention what I hate about it, but rather what I miss.  I do miss the time prior to social media and handheld devices.  The world had a little bit more mystery back then and for me, that was fun.

Contact:

https://twitter.com/BelartWright

https://www.patreon.com/Belart

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