Hi folks. I had the pleasure of interviewing A. L. Butcher, a writer of fantasies and fantasy romance stories. Get to know her:
- How are you feeling this morning/afternoon/evening?
Fine today – it’s Saturday so I don’t have to go to work, which is always a bonus 😉 Working next Saturday though – boo. Off to see the Huntsman later today, and fill my face with Italian food (hopefully).
- Did your day go as you expected it to?
As I’ve just got up – yes. If we are talking about a weekday no – but then they never do. Well that’s not strictly true – I expect them to be chaos and they are – but usually it’s different chaos to the planned chaos….
- Where are the readers? Where do you think we can go to find them?
Readers are everywhere. Most authors I know read a good deal, and most of my friends and family read. Well my father doesn’t but then again he’s nearly blind so that’s why. He used to read a lot more before his sight went completely.
Finding readers for one’s books – that’s harder. I think a mix of marketing works – after all not everyone uses Facebook or Google and many who do don’t like promo on there. That said I’ve sold books direct as a result of Facebook. Keep a blog, network, advertise, talk to people, do interviews, give interviews. Talk about other things – no one wants to hear solely about your book.
- When you look back at your books, do you ever cringe (like I do when I see how I could have done something better)?
I think every writer thinks something could be better. There’s a few bits I wrote years ago and I read them back and think – wow, that’s really crap. Of course it was great at the time….
- What do you want your readers to walk away with?
Enjoyment, love of the world and the characters, the urge to read more.
- In what other ways do you perform artistic works?
I used to make candles and jewellery – I wasn’t particularly good at either. Jewellery making is fun but it’s murder on my bad back and hands. It’s hard to sell as well – unless it’s outstanding. Candle making – fun but messy. I can read music and I used to sing a bit and play keyboard a bit. I worked in a theatre for years as well. I like plays so it was a lot of fun, although the money is dreadful and the working hours suck. I think that’s definitely a job someone does for love. Let’s see – I was a dresser for years, so I can sew, at least repair costumes, I was ASM (assistant stage manager) on a couple of am-dram plays, I’ve done a bit of sound tech and lighting ops, props, stage crew and I’ve even directed a small production.
- What is your definition of writing success?
The writer is happy writing. The readers are happy reading.
- What advice would you give to an 18 year old version of yourself?
I told you so.
- What mediums do you use for writing? (Laptop, notepad, iPad, cell phone, notebooks).
- In what surprising places do you find inspiration?
In the bath, on the journey to work.
- Time for plugging. What’s your favorite piece that you’ve written?
Here’s an excerpt for The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book 1
The staff hovered nearby; Archos muttered something as it floated to his command. He tossed it across his back, where it was easy to reach and he could release it with a word. Gently, he wrapped Dii in the blanket and lifted her in his arms. For a moment, his vision swam again and he breathed heavily, gasping in air to try and clear his head. Glancing down, he smiled at the soft form and felt her Power, weak as she was, flutter around him. Never had he felt such an attraction and longing for any creature; nor quite such a resolute Power and strength in one so young and untrained.
“Do you wish me to take her?” Olek said with concern, noting Archos’ pale countenance.
“No… No, I have her now,” Archos replied softly and motioned him towards the door. Olek saw the look on his face, which said nothing would part them now.
Olek stepped into the passage, relieved to be out of the cell. Moving quickly, he led them back towards the door. Archos followed with only a fraction of his attention on where they were going. He was tired and knew he needed his magic for a while longer. As he walked, he trailed the storm behind him and slowly unravelled. Out in the darkness, he let it go and suddenly the full fury of the storm was allowed to rage.
“Run,” he breathed. “Run now!” Although by now his muscles ached and were not too obliged to respond without protestation.
They ran as the clouds raged in the sky and released rain in huge drops that froze. Whipping water determined to soak everything it could find, it was a rain that obscured the vision and chilled the bone. Wind roared in from the south, battering the banners and slamming the casements of the upper windows, raining glass in shards. The storm twisted in a tempest in the courtyard, sucking up stones and wood and slamming them into walls, ground and people without prejudice. Angry clouds spat forked lightning, cleaving the sky like the vengeance of the gods and grounded within the walls of the fort and on the roof, splitting tiles and bringing fire even in the driving rain.
As they reached the coach, the horses skittered in fear and Olek pulled the door open and jumped up, almost dragging Archos and the girl inside. He hastily pulled one of the soft rugs onto the floor, then leapt out and up to the seat as the thunder rolled and lightning sliced the air just behind them. Archos would trust no one else to drive in such a situation, and besides Simon had business elsewhere. The horses began to run in fear and it took all Olek’s skill to bring them under control enough to steer. Looking behind him, he saw mayhem. The roof burned and he could hear the sounds of panicked men and terrified horses, even at this distance. Three mounted riders rode out of the fort towards them. As the carriage picked up speed, he steered it to the forest trail.
Archos heard the storm rage and the frail breathing of the girl beside him. He flipped up the window and grinned when he saw the chaos of the storm unleashed. He felt a little hollow for having held the storm for so long and he saw the horses panic as thunder rolled close. The hoof beats behind them grew closer and he knew Olek was struggling to control the carriage as it rocked and bucked around him. As they approached the forest path, he looked down at Dii and gently he touched her, feeling her Power even now and it gave him strength.
“I bloody well hope you have a plan, my lord, those riders are gaining on us, our horses are terrified and your storm seems bent on killing everything!” Olek screamed back to him.
Closing his eyes, Archos tried to calm himself and summon the Power he needed. “Just drive for the gap in the trees, off the road,” he yelled back.
Olek looked around in the darkness and the mayhem of the storm. “Gap? What gap? Oh gods, if it was any man but you I would think you mad. I hope you have Power enough left for this.”
“So do I, my friend,” muttered the Archmage.
As the trees rapidly approached, Archos drew his Power and slammed his staff into the floor. “Wood to my will, let us pass where there is no gateway. Wood to my will, hide us from sight!” he cried into the darkness and the rapidly approaching trees.
As the spell ended, a gap appeared as branches turned and trees bent aside. The carriage plunged into the dark wood as the greenery slammed back behind them.
- What are you writing right now?
Currently I’m writing book IV of the Light Beyond series and a novella set in the same world for my Tales of Erana series.
Thanks for the interview, A.L. It was a pleasure!
Here’s more on how to follow A.L. Butcher:
A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.