Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Author Interview with C. David Belt

C. David Belt is the author of a paranormal series called, "The Children of Lilith.  

We are so excited that he took time out of his busy schedule for an interview!!

Welcome, David. What made you start writing?

Thank you, Kersten!  

What made me start writing?  The voices in my head, of course!  (One of them just happens to be a 270 year-old Scottish penitent vampire who lives in Salt Lake City.)  Seriously, though, I get an image in my mind—a tableau, if you will—that won’t let me go until I turn it into a story.  Story ideas can haunt me for years.  The image that inspired “The Children of Lilith” possessed me for a decade before I finally gave voice to it.  My current work-in-progress has been tickling my brain since I first read “King Lear” in high school.  

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been writing short stories most of my life and some (really awful) poetry.  When I was a twelve, I remember writing a dreadful werewolf story of which I was particularly proud at the time.  I didn’t start my first novel until 2009.  I finished that one about a year later.  It took another year before it was published.  The first copy sold almost immediately.

How do you decide what topics to write about? 

I write whatever’s screaming loudest to escape my noggin.  I love stories of redemption, selfless bravery, and the courage to stand firm in the face of evil.  Stories of personal sacrifice and pure love make me weep like mom at a missionary farewell.  

How do you research your topics?

I’m a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  If I need an expert on just about any subject, chances are I know one.  We’ve got doctors (of various specialties), lawyers, rocket scientists, criminal psychologists, professors of ancient scripture, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.  We’ve got people who are fluent in just about any language spoken on Earth.  We’ve got engineers, nurses, pilots, sailors, soldiers, and homemakers.  I once needed to research details about intubation during emergency surgery.  All I had to do was wait for Thursday night’s rehearsal.  I needed to understand the mind of a serial rapist.  We’ve got an expert on that in the Choir, believe it or not!  I also do a ton of research online.  I do hands-on research.  A variety of swords are featured prominently in “The Children of Lilith,” so I had the perfect excuse to expand my sword collection.  “Honestly, sweetheart, I NEED that German bastard sword so I can write about it accurately in my latest novel!”  (Truth to tell, that works more often than you might think.  I have a wonderfully indulgent wife, at least when it comes to swords and armor!)  

What type of writing schedule do you have? 

Mostly, I start writing at 11:00 PM after the family goes to bed.  About 2:00 AM, I look up, notice the time, reluctantly acknowledge that snoring in my office at work the in the morning might not be the best idea, and slink off to bed.  I also take my laptop with me and write anytime and anyplace I can find a free moment.  I even put the manuscript on my Kindle and take it into the Choir loft at the Tabernacle or the Conference Center and write there if I can find a free moment.   

How do you handle life interruptions?  

Decades ago, as a B-52 pilot in the USAF, I developed the ability to refocus quickly after a distraction.  When you’re flying at more than 400 MPH at 200 feet off the ground (in a jet with a 192 foot wingspan) through mountainous terrain at night, you must always snap back to the task at hand… that or die.  Handle the interruption, take a deep breath, and get back to work.  

What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet? 

Something that will actually be sold at Deseret Book.  For some unfathomable reason, they don’t carry LDS horror… yet.

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?   

The most?  It is that unexpected moment of pure delight when a character speaks up in my head and says something like, “I would nae ever say such a thing, laddie.  Here’s what I’d say…”  

The least?  Writing action scenes!  I’d much rather write dialogue (especially if the character is dictating it to me).  And action/fight sequences in zero-G are the WORST!

What is your next project? 

I have two projects in the works: one, a standalone science fiction novel with a main character who is LDS, and the other, non-fiction.

“Time’s Plague” borrows themes and character names for Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and is set roughly a century and a half in the future. It starts out on a penal colony on Callisto (one of the moons of Jupiter). The story centers on Edgar, an innocent man, who has been sentenced for life (there can be no parole and no escape from the Hades Penal Colony) for a murder he did not commit. He was framed by his ex-wife, his best friend/business partner, and the cargomaster on the interplanetary freighter that he captained. The prison has no warden and is ruled by the prisoners, all of whom are male. The only non-prisoner is an android doctor who resides in the infirmary, separated from the prison by a secure airlock.  Hades is literally a hellish place populated by murderers and rapists—the worst of the worst. New prisoners and supplies are dropped from orbit and no ship ever lands on Callisto… that is, until a shuttle crash-lands. There is only one survivor—Edgar’s ex-wife, the one person in the universe he hates more than any other. No woman can survive on Callisto. Edgar has to figure out a way to get her off-world and protect her from the other inmates.  And he wants to know WHY she conspired to condemn him to hell.  

I’ve finished the first draft of an untitled non-fiction book on “the whole armour of God”, using the Roman imagery that Paul and his audience would have been familiar with at the time.  I still need to do a reference pass to provide sources for the information I present, and we need to do the photo shoot.  All the photos in the book will be of my son wearing the armor of a Roman officer.  (Yes, I do own all the weapons and armor.)

What is your advice for other writers?  

Be honest.  Don’t cheat.  Do your homework.  Research.  Research.  Research.  Get feedback early and often.  (I get feedback after every chapter.)  And above all, tell the story that YOU want to tell, regardless of whether you think anyone else will like it. 

Thank you so much for that interview David!  I love your advice about getting feedback on every chapter!!  David's website is Here, if you'd like to check out his vampire series!!!

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