Please welcome my special guest, A.L. Butcher. She’s the author of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles–an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica. Please enjoy her insightful interview as well as her excerpt for The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book 1.
1. Do you have any advice for other authors trying to get published?
Be patient, write and write, and read the FAQ and TOS of the sites you use carefully.
The likelihood is you won’t see a massive return on your first book, be realistic as it takes time to build a following. Also don’t rush the book, it will be done when it is ready. If you can’t afford an editor try and get some beta readers, to look through and critique. If you can afford an editor get one.
Make sure you are clear who you are doing business with–if, for example, you publish through KDP make sure you read through the TOS properly, and check the forums and FAQ if you are struggling.
Write and write, the more books and articles you have the more people are likely to follow you. Anthologies or blog posts are a good way to go.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Not really, except I hope you enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoyed writing them. If you do please tell your friends, reviewing is good too. It is a great way to find new books.
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
For self-published authors it is just part of what needs to be done. If one publishes, say on KDP Amazon, and it costs nothing one cannot expect to get advertising as part of the package. It is hard work, and there is a lot of contradictory information about so many new authors making mistakes, I know I did. Of course what works for one may not work for another so it really is trial and error. I can’t comment on what is required from trad pubbed authors, I guess it depends on the publisher.
4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
I write mostly fantasy/fantasy romance. The novels are mostly fantasy but do have a strong element of romance within, there are also sexy scenes as the characters are very passionate. It is part of who they are. The short stories published so far are fantasy, some with an element of romance and some without. My favourite aspect is the journey on which the story takes me. My least favourite–has to be focussing on a project. I have a terrible concentration span so I get distracted easily. I hate formatting too. Hate it.
5. What are your current/next projects?
I am working on book III of the series, plus a few anthology pieces and short stories. I am hoping there will be a collection of short tales set in the world of the novels so I am slowly writing those as well.
6. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
I have a couple of beta readers who help me out.
7. How do you find time to write?
That is the tricky bit, I work full time and I am not in the best of health so sometimes it is hard. If I am really tired or my back is hurting I can’t concentrate enough to do much of any use. I do try and write at least something every day, even if it is a blog post or looking over past material. There is also finding the time to promote, author interviews, character interviews, networking. Research too, takes time. There isn’t a massive amount but I’ve researched medieval weapons, geology, herb-lore and I like to read history. History provides us with so much great information–how wars were fought, how countries were ruled, how people lived, what they thought, what they ate. As my world is medieval style it helps to know about that period. I read quite a lot of mythological and ancient books too, and have a background in classical history (mostly Roman) so this is great for ideas. We can learn a lot from the tales of old, the heroics such as the Odyssey and Beowulf.
8. Did you always want to become an author?
No, when I was a child I wanted to be a JCB driver, or a steam train driver.
9. Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
Not really. I do tend to save everything, whether I use it or not. Various scenes have been recrafted into something else.
10. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?
I usually know the beginning and the end, in a rough outline but the middle is open to negotiation with the characters. I usually have more than one project on the go so I do switch between them, depending on what calls to me at the time.
11. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Oh yes of course. I think every writer does. I have Phantom of the Opera ‘novel’ hiding under my bed, where it will stay.
12. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
Each has its difficulties. Staying in the word count can be tricky for a short story. There is not much scope for world building. I haven’t written a novella as yet, but if I have to choose I prefer the fully blown stories.
13. While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?
Not really, although I am very attached to them.
14. How did you come up with the title?
My main female character, Dii, is the Lady of the Light and the main male one, Archos is the Lord of the Storm so it is a play on their names. It also relates to the overarching plot, things which will become clear as the books progress.
15. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
If we are talking about the novel it is a follow up to book I of the series, picking up some hinted-at plot hooks and revealing more of the world and the characters. The setting is a world in which elves are enslaved and magic is forbidden, it is a dark place run by corruption and fear. Magic persists and both the main characters are mages, having to hide who and what they are. They find evidence of a lost elven city, the revelation of which will rock the status quo, and bring the ruling Order of Witch-Hunters knocking on their door and asking very awkward questions. This is a book of revelations, info hinted at in book I and a lot more about the world, the characters and society is in this one. More than that it is an adventure filled with danger, monsters, intrigue and epic battles. There is also love forged from despair and desperation.
Excerpt from The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles–Book 1
Dii was well aware her Keeper was wealthy, a nobleman, and thus rich and powerful. He was a man of influence but she also acutely aware where a lot of that money had come from. She had not dared take his gold, although he deserved to be robbed of it, she thought bitterly. It was simply self-preservation on her part more than any sense of morality. Desperately she hoped he would not seek her but were she thought a thief he might be more inclined to do so. So Dii had left with a few meagre possessions, such as her clothes, staff, dagger, and a small bag of coins and everything else remained in her Keeper’s house. More afraid of what lay within than without she had risked her life to flee, both in physically escaping and being out alone in these lands. So far she had been lucky not to have been spotted by anyone unfriendly to her kind, and she thanked the gods for that. Not knowing the trails and roads well she had nothing to trust but her luck and her skills.
A Kept owned nothing by right; Dii knew her favours paid well and her lovers sometimes gave her coin or trinket if she had pleased them, or a grateful villager would pass on a few copper coins for the potions or herb-lore she distributed. Most of the common people had little healing knowledge beyond basic remedies passed generation to generation and many communities did have an apothecary. People often turned a blind eye to the local “wise folk” although this was not always the case, and many a mage had found themselves in the “hospitality of the Order of Witch-Hunters” due to failure to heal someone successfully or from mere spite or fear. To be in possession of magic was illegal and in many cases meant imprisonment or even death.
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?