In the year 2040, a mysterious creature is unleashed at the world’s biggest music festival…
Where are all my dystopian sci-fi and horror readers out there? I’ve got a special book for ya today – a genre-bending tale of music and monsters…all the yes. Author B.A. Bellec joined me for a chat about all things writing and Pulse, this intriguing book of his, as part of the Pulse Book Blitz presented by Storytellers On Tour. There will be a few other features popping up across blogs and social media to show Pulse a bit of love, so keep an eye out. This is one you don’t want to miss!
Keep scrolling to learn more about Pulse and its author, check out the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a copy plus some swag!
Also, if you’d like to get a tiny taste of what to expect before diving into the novel, why not give LF: A Pulse Prequel Short Story a read!
For more info, visit the official event page at Storytellers On Tour.
About the Book
“Bellec’s descriptions are phenomenal, brutal, and heart-stopping. There were parts that made my skin crawl, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. . . I needed more!”– Jessica Scurlock, Author of the Pretty Lies Series & Pulse Beta Reader
Pulse is a multi-POV dystopian sci-fi horror thriller set in 2040, centered around a corporation, a creature, and a music festival. Think Fyre Festival, Black Mirror, and X-Files combined. The story deals with themes of capitalism, consumerism, business, politics, pandemics, climate change, activism, and technology while bouncing between a diverse group of characters sure to entertain almost anyone. The book is already being praised for its fantastic use of horror, engaging world-building, and genre-bending approach utilizing some screenplay-like formatting. This is the first entry in a new series with the sequel well underway.
Pulse by B.A. Bellec
SERIES: Pulse (#1)
PUBLISHED: December 1, 2021
GENRE: Dystopian Sci-Fi Horror
Meet the Author
Bryan “B.A.” Bellec’s debut novel, Someone’s Story, won the Reader Views Young Adult Book of the Year as well as various other honors. Someone’s Story is a young adult coming-of-age book and has seen good support over Instagram, YouTube, and Goodreads. One of the aspects that makes Bellec’s projects unique is he includes musicians in his novels and then he actually produces the songs as his book goes through the editing stages.
Bellec was born in Richmond, BC and raised in Langley, BC, before settling in Winnipeg, MB. His first adventure was a career in Finance, where he spent 15 years developing his business skills. His highest achievement was the Certified Payroll Manager designation. He currently still consults with businesses on their systems and processes. Over that period of time, he also attended Lights Film School where he started to nurture his early creative abilities.
A self-starter always interested in research, he taught himself many of the aspects of storytelling through reading books, screenplays, and material online. Whenever he found an inspirational piece of art, he quickly went to the source to find the story behind the artist who created the work. It took many years after attending film school for him to finally combine his creative skills with his life experience and tell these stories he had been holding back. Some of his favorite creative people: Lukas Rossi, Justin Furstenfeld, Peter Jackson, Stephen Chbosky, J.K. Rowling.
During COVID-19, Bellec started a YouTube channel and was awarded a grant from The Canada Council for the Arts. He also pounded away on the keyboard to bring his second novel, Pulse, from his imagination to the page. He can’t wait to release that book along with the new songs that will go with it!
For more information visit www.babellec.com or find him on social media.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, B.A. Since we already have your official bio, can we have the MC(s) from Pulse introduce you in one sentence?
How about this…the foreword for the book is written by my editor, Sarah Ritchie. She is a rockstar and her editing was essential to getting both my books through the publishing process. Here is what she had to say about me in one word:
Speaking of, would you and your MC(s) get along?
There are a lot of characters but I will say Eric and E are basically versions of me. They are focused and driven while being deep thinkers. I would fit right in with them.
Give us an idea of how Pulse came to fruition.
Film school combined with a decade+ working in Corporate America. The Pulse idea started as a pair of short film scripts. The project was massive and I didn’t even know where to start so I shelved the idea. Instead, I wrote my first novel (Someone’s Story) to teach myself a good author toolkit. That toolkit is on full display in Pulse.
The anti-corporate, anti-capitalistic message comes from way too much time spent working for soulless companies. Once I found out how to express the story in my head, I combined my business experience with my early Pulse ideas to start writing. That was about 2 years ago. Every month I added or tweaked a few thousand words right up until October when I put the final edit together.
Can you share with us something about Pulse that isn’t in the blurb?
A few years before the events in the novel (this takes place in 2040) there is a massive wildfire that decimates California and leaves the food supply chain in a state of chaos. One of our characters, Steven, was a journalist that covered the wildfire so the reader gets a reflective firsthand account of that event. It’s a brief moment, but a vital one.
The fallout of the disaster is that by 2040 most of the people on the planet are eating food out of a tube called NutriPaste. None of this is in the blurb and this little summary is part of the rich dystopian worldbuilding I have been receiving praise for.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours? If so, did you learn anything fun or interesting?
Hundreds of hours of research. I try and learn something new every day.
Here is my process when I am in writing mode, I take a spot giving me trouble in the manuscript and find a book, movie, or documentary that might help. I do a soft brainstorm of what my problems are. I then read/watch my research material with my mind thinking back to that brainstorm. Sometimes these are rabbit holes and I will watch/read 3 or 4 pieces around the same problem over a couple of days.
Generally, I do this watching/reading at night as part of my unwind process. I take light notes in my head or on my phone and then sit down the next day to bring what I learned into my manuscript or find more research material for that night.
Can you give us an example of something you edited out of the book?
My dog. For the longest time, I had written my dog into the novel as a pretty big part. 3K+ words. After my beta reading, I got feedback that the dog was to me and to young adult. My family and friends liked it, but they know me and my dog. After sharing the project with a few strangers, I made the difficult decision to take the dog out. I still have all the writing so maybe I will find a way to repurpose it one day.
What do you hope your readers take away from Pulse?
Corporations are a vehicle for the worst people to shelter themselves and take the capitalism model to the extreme. Also, we got “lucky” with COVID-19. Things could be worse and we as a society need to make some big changes to prevent and control future diseases. Which problem is worse? I don’t know…I am just an author, but those are the two big problems I was fighting in my head as I wrote.
What do you think makes a good story?
Being raw. Quentin Tarantino said this:
“My movies are painfully personal, but I’m never trying to let you know how personal they are. It’s my job to make it be personal, and also to disguise that so only I or the people who know me know how personal it is.”
Make it personal, but hide it so strangers can’t find you (as a writer) in the project anymore. If you feel emotions and you use those emotions to write, you have the personal side of the equation down. All you have to do is hide yourself between the lines now.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
That is tough. There are lots of tiny details I would change because I have improved at writing 2/3 word descriptions. I also don’t want to go back though. Someone’s Story is what it is. The rawness and vulnerability of my early writing are what gives it charm.
The other thing I knew nothing about was marketing. I released that first book thinking a few people would just find it. That barely happens. Most of the people that find my books are doing so because of all the networking and relationships I built the last two years. Here is a fantastic example of networking. I connected with K.A. Wiggins online because she was an author who lives near where I grew up. A few months later, Storytellers on Tour hosted her most recent novel in the Threads of Dreams series. I jumped on that tour and featured K.A. on my YouTube channel. A few months later I connected with Storytellers on Tour again to host Pulse. Now Pulse is going to pick up a dozen or so new readers. That is networking! That is what I didn’t do the first time around.
Have you read anything awesome lately?
I have a YouTube channel where I post my original music and review books. I make one BookTube a month. When I get more time in the future, I might start making 2 or 3 videos a month.
I have 3 categories or ways to classify the things I read:
These are authors putting up review counts on Goodreads over 1,000. I read these books and follow these authors mainly because I want to mimic the marketing of the professionals as best I can.
2021 reads I enjoyed:
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman
Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
These are smaller platform authors that range from a few dozen reviews to a few hundred. I read these because I want to help them with marketing. I am looking for authors with an okay social media presence and some existing positive reviews. After that, I look to themes and locations with an emphasis on trying to find dystopian, horror, or sci-fi and Canadian authors.
2021 reads I enjoyed:
Age of the Almek by Tara A. Lake
Magic or Die by J.P. Jackson
Both books in the Pretty Lies series from Jessica Scurlock
This Never Happened by R. Tim Morris
These are books I don’t post reviews or videos for. Usually, they are mainstream already and the reason I am reading them is to see if there is anything that might help my manuscripts.
2021 Research Reads:
It by Stephen King
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, B.A. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
My third book is the sequel to Pulse. It is already at 50K words and getting the first round of editing done right now. No official release date yet, but maybe by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Something we didn’t talk about much that I want to mention. My books always have a side character that is a musician. I go one step further and try to make the music I write about in the books. There are 10 songs I co-produced and released on YouTube/SoundCloud. One of the neat things that happened to me these last few years was getting a Digital Originals grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to make Pulse music. The songs and videos for “Limitless” and “Perduto” are very polished because I was able to bring some top talent onto the project thanks to the grant.
My pitch to a stranger that knows nothing about me is to check this music out first, then if you like what you see, grab one of my books.
YouTube playlist of all my songs: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLTmmiCiU3Tr6P-Gk1–uDXp53DPKiinG
Enter to win a signed copy of Pulse by B.A. Bellec + Coffee + Muga Rafflecopter giveaway