Recently I had the opportunity to interview amazing author Christine Butler who shared a bit about her work and her thoughts on writing. Welcome Christine!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I am now 39 years old, and have published nine novels. I get excited, like it’s the first time, with each new novel, because I have been dreaming of being an author since I was a little girl. I used to write stories and poems starting the minute I learned to put letters together to make sense. Before that, I used to scribble as I told the story out loud to my mom.
What inspires/motivates you to write?
I am inspired by so many things. I am a very visual person, so the things I see on a day to day basis often lead to a new idea, and then I start playing the “what if” game with myself.I’ll come up with 20 different ways the scene I just witnessed in real life was different, and some of those deviations from reality are quite hilarious. Plus, I’m a dreamer. Obviously, I day dream, but my dreams at night are super vivid too, and more times than I can count I have woken up in search of pen and paper to write it all down before I forget it. A couple of those dreams have already been written into books.
What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your books?
I write paranormal fantasy and science fiction books. While there are little messages hidden inside about not judging things on first sight, and that’s there usually a bigger story to life than you’re privy too, I think the biggest thing I want people to take away from my books is just pure entertainment. I like to make people forget their own troubles for just a few minutes of the day, because let’s face it, we all need an escape to another world once in a while. 🙂
Has your writing process changed from when you first started?
Hahaha in a huge way! It took me a long time to work up to writing novels. I used to be a poem and short story girl, because I have had attention issues all my life. I lack focus. My first book took me about a year and a half to write with a partner. We were both barely functioning, chaotic writers. We had notes for the book everywhere. There wasn’t a clear plan, we just wrote, and bounced ideas off one another and wrote again. Once I was able to finish book one with a partner, I thought about how it could have gone better. I started plotting out the story ahead of time instead of just letting unruly characters have their way with my story. 😉 These days – I get an idea, I write the basics down, then I start plotting an entire outline, I write out character notes, notes about the settings used, and then I start writing based on the outline. I deviate from it, because sometimes as you write your characters grow or move beyond the outline, but the basics of the story are still there to focus me on how I need to get to the finish line. The great thing about my plotting is that instead of taking a year and a half to write a book, I can now write one in about two weeks to a month’s time.
Are you a plotter (do you outline) or are you a “pantser” and prefer to just see where an idea leads you?
I just accidentally answered this question in the previous one. I am definitely a reformed pantser, and current plotter! 😉
Do you ever get writer’s block and how do you work through it?
I do get writer’s block, and sometimes it can be crippling. I’m not so sure I work through the block so much, instead I tend to work around it. As I said before, I am a very visual person. I also dabble in graphic design and make book covers. So, when I feel blocked with words, I go play with images. Many times it allows me to just imagine things differently, and more often than not it starts the “what if” game I mentioned before. For example, while playing with hair on a model (in photoshop): “What if her hair weren’t just black, what if it were made of magical properties and the right person would see it as a thousand twinkling stars…” Of course that example might be pure garbage, but it just made me think outside the box, and it starts a tumble down effect that jumpstarts my creativity for me. If I still feel blocked with a particular writing project, I will put it aside and go to work on something else. When I can come back to a project I felt blocked on, later, with clear eyes, I can usually see where the problem was and fix it at that point.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your work?
There really are two that stick out in my mind. A long time ago I wrote a young adult book, The Voodoo Follies. Someone mentioned it on my Facebook page, and my daughter (who is in college now) was tagged in the post. One of her friends, who my daughter hadn’t seen in years (we move around a lot) started gushing about that book. My daughter explained that I was her mom, and this girl had a mini freak-out about it. “Oh my God! Oh my God! You can’t be serious!” hahaha I can’t even explain the feeling. I was equal parts grateful for the compliment and amazed by it all at the same time.
The other time was when one of my fans (also a friend now) posted a picture of her birthday cake. Her friend had made the cake with the spines from her favorite books showing, and one of them was a book I wrote. My name was literally on her cake. It was the must surreal thing to see. I had been in the middle of commenting that I wanted a cake like that for my birthday, and there it was – my name – my book! Crazy!
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
Stephen King – Christine was the first adult book I read, when I was in second or third grade. I checked it out from the public library from a frazzled librarian who didn’t realize what she was giving me. Of course, I picked it because it was a killer car with MY NAME! lol Little me played into ego a bit, even if she was shy. 😉 I ended up on a writing tangent of making inanimate objects have personalities in stories after that. None of it was good material, but all of that writing was great practice.
Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison – These ladies were among the first adult urban fantasy / paranormal fantasy stories I read, and I LOVED them! I’ve always been a fan of things that go bump in the night as not just the horrible creatures of nightmares, but as real beings who are multi-faceted. Anyway, as I read their stories, I was thinking, “what if they had done this instead?” Of course, my what if game is a constant. But they really jump started my writing in that genre, because it was one I loved and finally there were books being written for that masses. Books that I wanted to write and absolutely loved to read.
Joss Whedon – Because when he was asked why he writes strong female characters he said, “because you’re still asking that question.” He’s a darling, and I’ve been a fan for ages, because he did break the mold, and he was a big part of making it okay to have a kick butt leading lady in entertainment. Plus, I really liked the X-men comics he was writing. They were my favorites.
And most recently – Jennifer L. Armentrout. When I first stumbled across her books, I had never heard of her, she wasn’t recommended to me, I just literally saw a book in a list and tried it. The writing was so smooth, fluid, and inviting. It was like coming home to the pools of sarcasm-laden conversations in my own home. We’re a bunch of smart alecks here, and her books drew me in for that reason. The banter was witty. The female characters were strong, but also not afraid to admit that it’s okay to ask for help, because we’re not all super heroes – even if we possess unbelievable God-like powers! 😉 She inspired me to make sure my writing was just as inviting. It gave me a whole new way to look at how I was approaching my work, and ways to make it flow better.
Which one of your characters would you most like to travel the world with?
I would most like to travel the world with Seraphine LaLande. She is the main character from my YA book, The Voodoo Follies. I choose her because she’s kind of a klutzy mess of a person. I like that. I like that nothing would be predictable with her, and besides, she’s a voodoo priestess. She could totally kick butt if she had to, that is, if she didn’t screw it up! 😉
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I have so many projects in the works. My newest release – Breathless, which is the first book in the Death Viewers series, revolves around Lacy McAdams who has the uncanny ability to touch a corpse and see up to 12 hours of their life before their death. She uses her abilities to help the police solve homicides, but ultimately it comes at a price. Death Viewers are looked down upon in Lacy’s world, and because of that she leads a pretty lonely existence. Watching her navigate the memories of the dead while trying to date in a world that hates her ends up being a little sad and a lot hilarious. These are some of my new favorite characters to write.
I will have a new Young Adult / New Adult series coming out this year as well. This series is literally split in two. One is on the YA side (high school), the Arcane Academy Books, and the other is on the New Adult (college age) side and is tentatively known as the Necro Series. They are slated to start rolling out this summer.
If you want to check in on what’s going on with me or my books, you can do so over at Moonlit Dreams Publishing: http://www.moonlitdreams.org or my author page through Moonlit Dreams which is, http://www.authorchristinembutler.moonlitdreams.org
You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M00nlitDreams
Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/ChristineMButler and
*** Checkout Christine’s Goodreads Book Giveaway***