Good morning, Happy Monday, and welcome to A.L. Butcher, the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and featured author of the week at the Goodreads Paranormal group. I invited Ms. Butcher here to talk a little bit out her work, her writing, and a few other topics as well. Without any further ado, let’s get started –and don’t forget to click through a few links and check out her stuff!
Q (Infamous Scribbler): Tell me a little bit about yourself and your writing — something that I won’t read in your biography.
A (A.L. Butcher, Fantasy Author): A bit about me – when I was a kid I was obsessed with squirrels, LOVED THEM!!!!! I wanted to be a squirrel… When we bought our first house last year what sold it to me for certain – squirrels in the garden. So now I suppose I’m an honorary squirrel. Oh and I’m coulrophobic.
A bit about my writing – I have a whole folder full of Phantom of the Opera fanfic.
Q: Who was your most challenging character to write — why? How did you overcome the challenge?
A: All the characters have different quirks and different challenges to maintain. Novel-wise I’d say it was Dii (Dii’Athella) the elven sorceress. When we meet her she starts off as an escaped slave in a world where her very existence is illegal. She has seen very little of the world and knows even less about her own origins. As the books progress she becomes stronger, braver, more resourceful and who she truly is, not who she believed she was. It’s hard keeping her as the sweet, kind soul after her terrible treatment but she needs to remain true to herself, her real self. It’s an ongoing challenge.
Short story-wise I’d say it was Ilsa or Rufus from Of Blood and Scales, which is featured in Heroika: Dragon Eaters. Ilsa is a Bloodsister – think nuns who use blood magic to fuel their spells and worship an old deity. Her abilities meanshe sees the world differently to other people, seeing what is REALLY there, reading emotions people don’t even think show and generally being pretty suspicious. She needed to be more mysterious, ‘other’, than the non-magical characters, who all have their own skillset.
Rufus Redblade was an embittered mercenary trying to support a regime that’s failing. He’s not a bad person, but he knows he needs to do what he must to succeed and prevent civil war.
Q: What is the most valuable piece of writing advice you’ve received? How has it helped you in your work?
A: Write what you want to write and what you want to read. My work is not mainstream. It’s been described as ‘sex and sorcery’, that is sword and sorcery with a goodly helping of bedroom fun. That said it’s fairly dark. But I like fantasy with a hint of erotica, a hint of romance, a lot of heroes and morality, and I use morality as a relative term here. I read gothic horror, sci-fi, fantasy, crime fiction, history and lots more. I like the mythic aspect of fantasy and the world building. I’m a fan of Tolkien, Janet Morris and Terry Pratchett with their supreme world building and mythos, their complexity and the feeling that these adventures take place somewhere which is both real and unreal. An alternate Earth, if you like.
The companion series to my novels are tales of lore, legend and myth from the world. I read ancient tales of the Greek and Roman heroes and gods and I think a lot of that gets reflected in my work.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you’ve discovered in your writing?
A: Friendship. I am a bit of a recluse really but since I’ve been writing I’ve made some really good friends, including my best friend. We talk daily even though we live thousands of miles apart.
Q: Scene: A big Hollywood producer calls, wanting to put your books on the big screen. Who is your dream cast?
A: Archos – Ian Mckellen
Olek – Chris Pratt or Chris Hemsworth or Luke Evans
Dii – Evangeline Lilly
Ozena – Emma Watson
(IS Note: I’d watch that! :D)
Q: What would you like people to know about your writing, process, or characters, that they may not know?
A: Writing is a stress release for me. I suffer with depression and writing helps. Often it’s poetry – which I doubt anyone else will see.
Thank you very much, Ms. Butcher, for stopping by! If you enjoyed this conversation, check out her presence on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, or her blog.
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A.L. Butcher Bio: 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.