Friday, October 7, 2011

Dishing it up with Christine Butler...

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Christine Butler. Christine was born in a Naval hospital in Virginia, and while she was staring into the doctor's eyes as he marveled at her exceptionally long umbilical cord, all she was thinking was , 'I need to write this stuff down so I don't forget it.'

Hey, believe what you want, that's her story and she’s sticking to it! As soon as she could pick up pencil and paper and get those stories and poems out of her head, she was doing it.

Her poor parents used to receive letters under their door when she was mad at them, explaining in great detail why she was so angry and how wonderful it would be when her rich parents came to take her away.

She never did find those "other" parents, and is so happy with how things turned out, because she has an awesome, if not slightly unhinged, family.

Christine currently reside in South Carolina with her four children.

JET: Can you tell us about Birthrights?

CB: Birthrights was the first book in The Awakening Trilogy. The second book in that trilogy, Revelations, is my most recent release. The trilogy follows two women (Caislyn Vadoma and Jaxon Delaney) in their early twenties as they discover hidden truths about themselves. They also find out that they are the center of a prophecy that has factions of other than humans hell bent on destroying them. All of this happens as Caislyn searches for her parents who were kidnapped in the beginning of book one.

Throughout the trilogy, the girls will learn more about themselves, their powers, and the prophecy that has them on the run. While Birthrights gives you the introduction to the alternate world in which they live and the characters themselves, Revelations drops you right into the heart of the story. Without giving away too much I will say there's a lot of love, action, and loss in Revelations. There are definitely darker moments, and a crisis of consciousness for both of the girls as their expanding powers are put to the test.

JET: What drew you to urban / paranormal fantasy?

CB: It's funny you ask this because I just answered this question for my kids today when they asked why I write what I do. Ever since childhood I would loose myself in my own little fantasy worlds with unicorns, faeries, and all the other sweet little magical creatures. By the time I was in second grade I took a trip to the local library in Baltimore, where some librarian who was definitely not paying attention, allowed me to check out Christine by Stephen King. Yes, I admit, I checked it out because the title was my name, but I thought the premise sounded cool too. I mean, who doesn't want an evil car named after them. Anyway, Mr. King introduced me to a very dark world. I was hooked after that. I still loved my magical beings, and at the same time I loved the dark, edgier side of things. Anne Rice became one of my favorite authors in high school for that very same reason and then I moved on to Laurel K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, and a slew of other very talented authors who were writing about the worlds that I grew up creating in my own mind. It is by far my favorite genre for the simple fact that it's magical - so anything can happen - and anyone can be more than human.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

CB: I am my own biggest hurdle. I am an idea person! I come up with ideas all the time, getting to the finish line is the problem. (Don't worry - the ending to the trilogy is already there) Actually, I worked with a partner for Birthrights and it became the first full length novel that I was able to complete. I found it helped to have a cheerleader or a slave driver (depending on what was needed each day) to push me to finish. Now, I have an amazing support system that has helped to see me through my projects and give me those encouraging nudges when I need them.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

CB: My favorite moment actually has less to do with the books and more to do with the people I have met along the way. I mentioned that support system... I actually did a book review for a fabulous author, Patria Dunn Rowe. After I finished the review I wrote her about the formatting problems in her e-book. We started talking back and forth via e-mail exchanging everything from tips and tricks to links to new places that promote authors, and then we were talking about our lives. A friendship developed that I absolutely cherish. Patria and I talk nearly every day. We encourage each other with our latest ventures, I've helped her with book covers, and we're discussing a joint poetry venture when things slow down a bit for the both of us. I also ran into a great guy, Steven Novak, who designed my logo/banner for my Moonlit Dreams website. He's so amazingly talented it's scary! He invited me to come hang out with some other authors at the Literary Underground and I am oh so thankful, because they are a great bunch of people - and beyond talented!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

CB: I think I already covered this one in a previous question, but I can expand a bit... Stephen King, for reasons already addressed. Anne Rice, for making being one of the first to make vampires something more than just a blood sucking monster. She gave her creations so many dimensions that you really didn't want to stop reading about them. Not to discount her Mayfair Witches stories, because those blew my mind when I first picked them up. I read a lot, in different genres though and I have to say that S.E. Hinton, who as a woman, wrote so aptly from a boy's perspective and Madeline Le'Engle who wrote the most amazing fantasy books ever have had their place in shaping where I want to go with my own writing too. There were many influences on my writing growing up.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

CB: I have always wanted to be a writer. I was writing my own stories and poems since early childhood. I grew up a military brat in a family that hopped from coast to coast every few years. To make matters worse, I was also painfully shy. So, I would lose myself in my own worlds. As soon as I learned how to write - the stories, poems, and everything else came flowing out. I took a few detours in life, and as I said before I was never one to finish larger projects. I could have been the flash fiction queen in my teen years if the world wide web had been as popular then as it is now!

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

CB: Hmmm... this is a tough one. I have undiagonsed/self diagnosed ADD. So, when I go to research I end up with a million and one tabs open in my Internet browser, because I will literally see something shiny on a page, click and then be off on some crazy clicking tangent. I have learned some of the most useless information from randomly clicking on links that I see. But every once in a while, I find a gem! The location of the Irish cottage where Caislyn and Jaxon end up in Birthrights was alive and well in my head when I wrote about it. It wasn't until I started working on Revelations that I actually went to look for the "town" nearest where the cottage was located. While I was searching, I actually found a rental cottage in Northern Ireland that was identical to what I was seeing in my head, down to the shutters on the house, the stream outside, the landscape. It was too perfect to be real, and I have vowed that one day - I will go stay in that cottage myself!

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

CB: While I love The Awakening Trilogy, I have to say my short story series, The VooDoo Follies. Okay, before you harp on me about the difference between short stories and novels, let me explain. The VooDoo Follies are six short stories, when put together in the compilation they become a novel. So, it qualifies! :) Anyway, I had this crazy idea for a story about a teenage zombie (from the zombie's perspective) one day when I was in the shower. Yeah, I know, who thinks of zombies in the shower? Me! Anyway, this story came at me out of nowhere when I was working on Revelations. So, when an idea hits me that hard, I put down everything else and go for it. When I started thinking about how the zombie was made my entire story changed into one of a teenage voodoo priestess in training and how she keeps screwing things up. (zombies still play their part - it's voodoo after all) So, my 16 year old daughter was the inspiration behind the main character, Seraphine. They are both walking accidents, but so loveable that people just laugh and keep on loving them. I wanted to put that into a character, because it's so endearing. The story just sprang forth from there. With a 16 year old in the house, I am privy to many a teenage drama so it wasn't hard to put a paranormal spin on it and the story became a labor of love for me. I am finished with the series now and the paperback compilation will be available in mid- October! I do miss Seraphine though, so I may bring her back in another series, later on down the road.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

CB: Get a support system! I started this thing with a writing partner who was too busy to help out with all the other things that needed to be done outside of the writing. There's editing, formatting, book cover design, promotions, websites, the list is never ending and I was one person trying to do it all. It was daunting and I nearly threw in the towel early on. Then, I started meeting people. Now, if I have a question, or concern, I can talk to other people who have been through it. Sometimes I even learn an easier way to get things done. I have people who will take a look at the stuff I write and give honest feedback. Everyone needs a good support system!

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

CB: Plastic (for the handles) I know - I'm a horrible person, but I can carry more groceries that way!

JET: Steak or Tofu?

CB: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

CB: Depends on which personality is out to play that day. ;) I love them both, but since I like warmer waters I'll go with the beach.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

CB: Rock

JET: Leather or Lace?

CB: Leather

JET: Angels or Demons?

CB: Both please!

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

CB: I'm a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, so cheesy B rated horror any day!

JET: Twilight or True Blood?

CB: True Blood

JET: Coffee or Tea?

CB: Coffee in the mornings, tea at night

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

CB: I am wrapping up The Awakening Trilogy and hopefully will have the third book, Incarnations, ready for publication by December of this year. It was originally slated for February 2012, but it has flowed out so smoothly, I have high hopes for an early release! Then, I am moving on to a Steampunk story I've had brewing on the back burner for a while. It should be a lot of fun!

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog.

CB: Thank you for having me!

JET: Folks, you can find out more about Christine Butler and her work at the following places:

My main website and the home of Moonlit Reviews (Christine's book review blog)

The Awakening Trilogy Website:

The VooDoo Follies Website:


Next week I have Nancy Fulda and Siebel Hodge on tap. Have a great weekend!

Until then,




Na said...

Hi Jet! Great birth story Christine! Well that isn't quite my story, I'm sure when I was born my first thoughts was along the line of...what are you looking at, get me some food and a good book. Stat!

I ado agree it's so important to have a support system when writing or in many careers. They can give constructive criticism and encouragement.

Thanks for being part of Red's Trick or Treat's event. Red sent me.

Red Tash said...

Thanks for adding the punkin, JET!