The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Belart Wright Author Spotlight

Belart Wright Author Spotlight

Hello there folks! Today, I'm doing something special. I'm shining a spotlight on an author who I've come to really enjoy: Belart Wright! We sat down and had a little powwow and I dug around in his head for bit regarding his latest novel, Hell's Glitch (I did a recommendation/review post about it: http://www.dontemmcneal.com/blog/2016/6/17/hells-glitch-spoiler-review). The following is what came of that conversation.

Hell's glitch cover

Hell's glitch cover

Hell’s Glitch! As someone who has little to no knowledge of Dark Souls, you can be honest with me, this is basically a teary-eyed, chest-gripping ballad to Dark Souls, am I right?

In many ways, yes.  I love the Dark Souls series, though it took me a while to warm to it's obtuse gameplay.  Hell's Glitch came about when I was watching SAO.  Specifically there was a scene where Kirito and crew fought the Gleam Eyes and another scene where they fought the Skull Reaper.  The way the OST hit and the terrified reactions from the characters reminded me of my experiences with Dark Souls.  Once my imagination got to going, I started envisioning if permadeath was active during my playthrough of the game and suddenly I felt helpless.  The idea felt so strong to me that I knew I had to write it.  From there the rest is history.

Average Joe & the Extraordinaires cover

Average Joe & the Extraordinaires cover

So you’re coming from Average Joe, which I love the cover of by the way, a young adult novel to LitRPG. What brought on the switch?

A few things really.  Before I even knew about what LitRPG was, I'd always been interested in stories where reality crossed into virtual worlds and vice versa.  It came to a head when I got into the .hack series of games and anime.  I highly recommend that series by the way.  After reading D. Rus' first Alterworld book and finding out about the burgeoning LitRPG genre, it just seemed like the perfect time to write my own book.  I'm also an indie game designer with my bros at Flubberknuckle Studios so these books are the perfect marriage of my two interests.  Of course, there's also profit incentive and right now LitRPG is a very lucrative genre.  I prefer to write for fans like myself anyhow.

Your MC, Sam, he’s painted as a normal tester and not some uber powerful gamer who can overcome any and every challenge thrown in his path. How important was it to you to have his character be human in your reader’s eyes, to be relatable?

To me, it's core to my whole idea.  The whole point was to have this terrifying, almost impossible ordeal for this character to make his way through using his wits, courage, and abilities.  It stifles the fun and creativity when the character is nearly almighty or has an almighty ability to get them out of everything.  I just wanted Sam to be someone that we all know and maybe someone that many of us are.  He is skilled, but he's not the best, because all his life he's had other priorities.  But now he wants to be the best because of the nature of the game.  For a story like this, I think that relatability is key because you're mostly with Sam.

So after all the amazing fights with all the creepy monsters, NPCs and other tricky gamers, the emotional trials with conniving humans and real life problems the Sam has to deal with, we’re left with one question, will there be a sequel?

Oh hell yeah!  I'm working on it as we speak.  If all goes according to plan, we should have said sequel in stores in January.  I have a lot of cool additions planned.  I'm talking adding fun new stuff in just about every part of the book!

You’re a writer, which I’m sure is what you want to do with your life. But if you could pack up your life and go anywhere in the world and do whatever you wanted, no matter the cost, where would you go and what would you do?

It's taken me some time to narrow this down but I know that my ultimate desire is two fold.  I want to seriously dedicate myself to martial arts (something I currently have 0 experience points in) and I want to spend my time learning about the real world: languages, cultures, nations, cities, people, religions, and the issues everyone faces around the world.  I want to learn all this and not in a superficial way.  I believe that is the key to truly understanding people and I think to understand people is to learn tolerance.  I think the whole world, myself included, could stand to learn more tolerance.  As to where, I don't know really.  My family has always been inner-city nomads, so I don't really know or desire the concept of settling down.  So I guess I'd like to travel, whenever and wherever.

Okay, you wake up one day and you’re no longer Belart Wright. You’re now the protector of your city! What do you do, powers do you have, do you have a sidekick?

Oh, this is fun!  Let's see.  If I'm not limited here, I'd take some cool mystical ki based powers, like in DBZ.  I like the fact that training makes the powers even stronger and more refined.  And with ki, the applications seem limited only by your imagination and skill level.  You could match someone like Superman with just the power of your spirit alone.  How rad is that!  My nephew Aric has always been my Robin, so I guess that wouldn't change, and he'd have the power to make his awesome drawings come to life.  That's an instant superhero squad for me right there.  My other sidekick would probably be our friend Zach just for the lulz

For those who don’t know you, Mr. Wright, or where they can find you, why don’t you take some time to do a shameless plug?

Definitely!  Your readers can find me at

my blog: http://belartscorner.blogspot.com/

my twitter: https://twitter.com/BelartWright

my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Belart

And I'd just like to take the time to thank you Donte along with your readers.  It's great to be in the presence of such a talented individual such as yourself. To everyone out there, go out and preorder Donte's new book, The Family: The Brotherhood.  It's dope as hell!  I had the perk of reading it early, but that's no reason to be jealous.  There's a copy for everyone :-P

Matt Doyle Author Spotlight

Matt Doyle Author Spotlight

The Countdown Begins!

The Countdown Begins!