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RS Belcher, a Roanoke-based author, is making waves with his latest book, “The Brotherhood of the Wheel.” The idea of the urban fantasy series, in Belcher’s words, is “the Knights Templar—whose original commission was to protect the roads of the holy lands so that pilgrims and merchants could travel them safely— went underground prior to their near-extinction. Today, a secret society made up of truckers, one-percent bikers, state police, and others who work and travel the highways, carry on that tradition as the Brotherhood, protecting travelers from evils both supernatural and all-too real.”
Belcher, who began writing at the age of nine, has made a successful career for himself. Writing for local community papers turned into editorial and reporter jobs, all the while continuing to write and market his fiction work. In 2009, Belcher was the grand prize winner of Simon and Schuster’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest. Two years later, he sold his first novel to Tor Books, a “weird-western” called “The Six-Gun Tarot.” With its success came agent representation and a full-time writing schedule. Fast-forward to 2016 and he’s now seeing as much, if not more success, with “The Brotherhood of the Wheel.”
“Brotherhood” is very much influenced by Belcher’s childhood in Roanoke. As a child of the ‘70s, he recalls the period of time when the trucker/CB radio craze took America. He would listen to the highway rush by his window at night.
“I seem to have a soft spot in my writing for my childhood heroes—cowboys and truckers,” he says. “In my mind, both are iconic, and very uniquely, American heroic archetypes.”
The main character of “Brotherhood,” a trucker named Jimmie Aussapile, first appeared in Belcher’s urban fantasy/noir novel, “Nightwise,” released in 2015. Belcher’s agent liked the character so much he recommended a series. Tor was on board with the idea and bought “Brotherhood,” and a sequel called “King of the Road,” which Belcher will be writing later this year. He is currently finishing up the third book in his “weird-western” series, called “The Queen of Swords” and then writing a sequel to “Nightwise,” called “Crystal Myth.”
And somehow in the middle of it all, Belcher works on the road as he markets his newest release. He knows being accessible and open to any audience is very important for any writer. He’s even going on trucker podcasts and live radio shows to promote his work.
“I love doing anything that lets me get out and meet people and support the books. Any writer today— doesn’t matter if you’re self-published, small press, or with a traditional publisher like Tor— has got to go out and market their books themselves,” Belcher says. “I’ve had the chance to talk to people from a lot of backgrounds that normally wouldn’t pick up a fantasy book, but they picked up “Brotherhood” because it was about people like themselves or people they know.”
In addition to his novels and editorial work, he also has short stories published in several anthology collections. His short story “Orphans” was published in “Strange New Worlds 9” by Simon and Schuster.
“I’m very lucky do to what I do, and I have always loved writing,” he says. “When I’m at the end of my career, I’ll look back and see how successful I was then. I am extremely grateful to everyone who takes time to read my books and who supports them. Those people and their encouragement is how I judge my success as a writer.”