Matt Hartle is a director, designer, and VFX artist – and whether you know it or not you may well be familiar with his work, since he contributed to several of the Harry Potter films, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to name a few. Now with the release of his first book ‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy’ he is a bestselling author.
‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy’ is one of those books that grabs you from the beginning and keeps you deeply engaged to the very last page, so it’s no surprise this fascinating read has been a huge hit with readers and reviewers – and hit the bestseller list. Those who enjoy the ‘Hunger Games’ series by Suzanne Collins and ‘Robopocalypse’ by Daniel H. Wilson will love this book.
In ‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy’ the world is a deeply troubled place and fate takes Adam Wesley and his friends on a grand and dangerous adventure. On their inaugural outing of the summer, the friends encounter a reconnaissance robot, or ‘bot’ as they are known—with disastrous results. One of the friends is grievously wounded in the exchange, kicking off a race against time to get help before it’s too late!
When the friends finally make it back to the city, they find the streets are overrun with bots and martial law is in effect. Anyone caught in the open is pacified and detained; not all will survive. Adam and his friends go underground, taking up with Skip, a brilliant but eccentric hacker who has built a tech hideout called The Nest—a faraday cage suspended in the maintenance tunnels beneath the city. Using antiquated technology—dial-up modems and BBSs—the friends, begin to organize. Together, they will fight desperately to survive, unintentionally planting the seeds of a resistance that will become more important than any of them can imagine.
If you want to know what happens, and you know you do, pick up this brilliant book which is destined to be the book of the year. We are very excited that Hartle took some time out of his super busy schedule to talk to us about his book, his work and what’s coming next from this talented writer.
‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy Book One’ has been extremely popular with readers. Every book has a story about its creation, what’s the story behind this epic read?
It started with scribbles in a notebook. I picked away at it for years as I wrote other things, adding bits of inspiration, visuals, and possible dialogue phrases. The initial inspiration came from the idea of a faraday cage and why one might need something like that. For those who don’t know (I didn’t!), a faraday cage is built to redirect electromagnetic energy, protecting whatever is inside. Since nearly everything we have in today’s world is full of electronics, it seems something like this could become very important in the right situation. I’m intrigued by the idea of what people would do if technology was to suddenly fail unilaterally and everything we rely on, from smartphones to the internet, ceased to be available. Preppers, people that prepare for this type of scenario, would initially have an edge, but eventually, that would run out, leaving people with only their wits and drive to survive.
You’re a bestselling author with a lot of fans. Can you tell us what was the most interesting or heartfelt feedback or question you have received from a reader?
Many people have said the book feels like it could actually happen. I really appreciate that–I’ve worked hard to keep things as grounded in reality as possible. Despite the futuristic bend of robots taking over, I think we can all imagine how we might find ourselves in a situation of having to fight for our lives and the choices we’d have to make to do that. I like how it boils down to the most essential elements–literally food, shelter, and water. But, after those necessities are met, the focus quickly shifts to alliances, friendships, and learning to plan many steps ahead.
People have also said the book moves fast and is very entertaining! This is precisely my goal! I would love to be the book people read on a plane or on the beach–escape fiction!
It was incredibly unsettling when, as I was writing, world events seemed to parallel certain themes in the book, from the political climate to the pandemic. I guess what they say is true–reality can be stranger than fiction!
You have a very successful career in film, but writing a fantastic book like ‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy Book One’ comes along with its own set of challenges. What was one of the challenges you faced while writing this book, and conversely, one of your successes?
The book’s marketing has been an eye opener–it takes at least as much effort to market a book as it does to write one! The process isn’t entirely unenjoyable, but it has come with a steep learning curve! Good partners and friendships are essential, as is being open to trying anything and everything to find readers! As an author, I’ve always felt far more comfortable behind the ‘camera,’ but to successfully market a book, you have to get out there and introduce yourself to the world!
After actually finishing the book, the greatest success has been finding an audience! When good reviews start coming in, and people are excited about what you’re doing, it makes it all worth it!
Besides writing, what are some other activities or hobbies that inspire your creativity?
Directing is a deeply held passion of mine. I’ve directed several commercials and have made some short films. My background is in design and visual effects; I actually went to school at the Art Center in Pasadena for illustration, so visualizing things is really where my comfort lies. Finding a verbal counterpoint to the visuals has been one of the great joys of writing for me.
Also, I’m slowly getting back into painting as I have time. Portrait and figure have always been my passion as a painter, and I prefer oils or watercolor when I have time to sketch outside the studio. Painting is similar to writing–you only have what you bring to it. In this way, it feels like a pure expression of creativity!
Knowing how creative you are, I’m pretty sure you have more books in the works. Give us a little taste of what’s to come?
I’m nearing the completion of my second novel. I don’t have a final name yet, but the story takes place in a cyberpunk-type setting. Despite this future world, the story revolves around fundamental questions I think we all have to ask ourselves: why are we here, how do we serve each other, and how do we evolve to see beyond our preconceptions and biases?
After this next book, I plan on returning to the Bot Trilogy and getting to work on the second novel in the series. One reoccurring question I have received in reviews has been, “Where is book two?”! It will be exciting to write this next installment for an audience waiting! When I wrote the first book, I didn’t know if anyone would ever read it, let alone respond favorably to it!
Let’s change it up a bit. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I think I would choose not to have to sleep! As a lifelong insomniac, I seldom look forward to bed and feel I rarely have a good night’s rest. I would much prefer to use the time to write, paint, direct, or spend with my family! If that’s not really a superpower, then I would choose to fly–oh, the places I would go and things I would see!
To find out more about Matt Hartle and ‘Of Courage And Sacrifice: Bot Trilogy’ head over to Amazon.