The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Liz Butcher
Ruschelle – Great to have to you back here at The Horror Tree! Now you are the interviewee instead of the interviewer sharing your choice bones and tender meaty pieces of yourself with us. So, let’s take a bite, shall we?
Fates’ Fury, your newest title to be released << squee >> gives us a taste of an apocalypse with a supernatural slant. While writing the End of Days, did it bring about any real fears? The end of everything we know can be a truly horrific prospect, even for a writer.
Liz – If writing an apocalypse doesn’t scare you, then you’re probably not doing it right! In Fates, the fear comes from the absolute lack of control mankind has over what’s happening to them. On one hand, we have mother nature wreaking havoc (with a little help from the Fates), and on the other hand, we have supernatural entities killing people left, right and center. I think situations where there is no discrimination, no way to guarantee your safety, or the safety of your loved ones, are the most terrifying.
Ruschelle – Luckily, we are not in the throes of an apocalypse…that we know of…
So, what inspired Fates’ Fury?
Liz – It was an idea that niggled at me for a while before I started writing it. I’ve always been a huge ancient history/mythology nerd, and I found myself wondering what the gods of old would think of the world today. In all the time that’s passed since they were worshipped, how far have we really come as a race? Sure, there’s been technological advancement etc. but how have we changed or grown as a species? We’re still hurting and killing each other. So, what if the Fates’ decided to call it? Time’s up people, you’ve used up your last chance!
Ruschelle – The cover art for Fates’ Fury was created by none other than Andrew Butcher! Was this a collaboration or a fabulous surprise from Andrew after reading your offering?
Liz – A bit of a collaboration. I gave him a rough idea of what I was hoping for and he took it from there. He’d come up with a few designs, but we both loved this one. He also designed the cover for After Dark for me, so I’m lucky to have such a talented hubby!
Ruschelle – Your pen drips with the blood of many genres – horror, mythology, romance etc. Which genre do you find yourself splattering the pages with more often than not?
Liz – Horror, for sure. The vast majority of my work is in the vein of horror/dark fantasy.
Ruschelle – If you could have Fates’ Fury developed into a major motion picture, which famous actors would you choose to play your characters?
Liz – I love this question – what author doesn’t? There’re far too many characters to cast them all for you, but here’s some of the main players and who I’d love to see cast in their roles:
Jonah Sands – Max Irons
Tristan Carter – James Franco
Ava Carter – Sophia Bush
Alex Carter – Tom Hanks
Mallory Carter – Gillian Anderson
Zeus – Eric Bana
Isis – Zoe Saldana
Enki – Naveen Andrews
Hades – Jared Leto
Charon – Paul Bettany
Ruschelle – You have recently signed on with publicist Mickey Mikkelson from Creative Edge. Sweet! What does this mean for author Liz Butcher?
Liz – Yes! It’s an exciting development and Mickey is proving to be a wonderful mentor in this new endeavor. Having a publicist means further exposure and opportunities and I already have a number of interviews/blog posts/podcasts lined up. It’s taking me out of my comfort zone—but I’m grateful for it. I plan to make the most of it!
Ruschelle – Last year you released your collection of short stories entitled, After Dark. Are there any stories from your collection that may one day receive the ‘novel treatment’?
Liz – Potentially. I’ve received some great feedback from readers about some of the stories they’d love to see expanded on. Dorcha Scath is a popular request, as are Amber, Sail Away and Gethen. As Amber and Sail Away are the shorter of the group, I’d probably look at expanding them first.
Ruschelle – Which writing process do you prefer, the energetic fervor of crafting short stories or the slow burn penning of novels?
Liz – Now, I would have to say the slow burn of penning a novel. It was a surprising challenge making the shift, to be honest. There’s so much more you have to consider when writing something that’s novel length as opposed to a short story, but you also have the freedom to explore more of your storyline and get to know your characters on a deeper level.
Ruschelle – Where did you mine the raw material of your stories to polish into shiny baubles?
Liz – My overactive imagination, primarily! Some come from strange dreams, others are just random ideas and concepts that popped into my head at one time or another. I actually have a box full of scrawled-on index cards, with each card representing another story idea.
Ruschelle – Are there any ‘taboo’ scenes or topics that you refuse to include in your writing? For example, graphic sex or gore?
Liz – No, not really. If I felt any of those topics were essential to the story or to the character, then I’d absolutely go there. In saying that, though, I wouldn’t include it just for the sake of it either.
Ruschelle – What is the one piece of writing advice that was suggested to you that you NEVER use because it was awful advice?
Liz – Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve received any bad advice!
Ruschelle – If you could do research for a project, where would it be? For example- a famous haunted house, a long-deserted disaster area or a sacred desert etc…
Liz – The list would be endless…absolutely all the haunted or deserted buildings and castles, tracking ley-lines and petroglyphs or researching an archaeological dig. The Gran Telescopio Canarias or the Subaru telescope, or even the Hadron Collider—I could go on and on, haha!
Ruschelle – You received your degree in psychology. The human psyche is so interesting and sometimes scary. Has your knowledge of the mind played a role in any of your characterizations?
Liz – I’ve always been fascinated by the psyche, the endless possibilities of our brains and the vastness that is the subconscious. My knowledge of the mind and of personality types and traits would certainly play a role in my writing, though I don’t think it’s something I actively sit down and process.
Ruschelle – What comes first for you, plot or characters or title?
Liz – It’s always the concept first for me, which becomes the plot and the characters pop up as I go along. I might have a general idea of the main character(s) at inception, but they tend to develop as the plot does.
Ruschelle – Criticism, writers need to grow a tough Godzilla-esque hide to repel all the negativity. How do you handle criticism?
Liz – I just view criticism as an opportunity for growth. I don’t want to be molly-coddled and told something is wonderful when it’s not. I’m always open to constructive criticism for this reason. One of the many things I love about my editor (and talented author) Kathrin Hutson, is she never shies away from telling me something isn’t good enough, or to rewrite a section because she knows I can do better. That way when she gets excited about a line or a passage, then I know I’ve really nailed it.
When it comes to querying it can be daunting watching the rejections come in, but you can’t let it upset you. It’s all part of the process.
Ruschelle – Do you have any ‘Liz Butcher’ signature lines or characters that seep their way into most of your stories/books?
Liz – Not so far—or at least, not that I’ve noticed. But I do like to drop subtle pieces into my work. For example, the name of a character or a place might have some special link or meaning to the story.
Ruschelle – The perfect title can be a bit elusive. How do you choose your titles for your works? Do faerie deliver them to you in dreams?
Liz – Perhaps they do! The short story titles came to me fairly easily, and After Dark was the result of some quick and fruitful brainstorming. Fates’ Fury was a longer process…and the third title!
Ruschelle – Your newfound fans need to know where they can find all things Liz Butcher on the www. Let’s help them out!
Liz – Absolutely! And thanks for having me.