You may have come across A. L. Butcher on her blog, Library of Erana. Alexandra is one of the most prolific Indies I know, so I was looking forward to finding out more about her and her work.
Hello Alex, good to have you here. What inspired you to write your books?
The first novel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles? It was born from a gaming character, something I’d been working on for a while and a lot of encouragement. I decided to flesh out the character, adapt her to my fantasy world and that was that. The later novels and the short stories have come from the lore of the world. It is a world where magic is forbidden, people are segregated and many enslaved. A tyrannical martial law is imposed, lies and half-truths abound and good and bad are not easily defined. There is a lot of magic remaining, and half-told tales, old knowledge if you know where to look and dare to do so. Book I is a book about the struggle for freedom, justice, revenge, love against the odds and what it means to discover oneself.
What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Oh gosh, I have no idea. I used to write short stories and poems at school.
What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
To date I have two novels: The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I and The Shining Citadel, which is Book II of the series. Book III will appear in the spring of 2015. Then there are several short stories, including Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends and Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse. I have also worked with the Indie Collaboration and Wyrdstar and have several short stories and poems of fantasy and dark fantasy.
Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
Reading, computer games, nature, and history.
What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).
I’m working on getting Book III ready for publication, plus a couple of short story projects.
Which are your favorite authors and what do you love about them?
Alexandre Dumas – Count of Monte Christo, perhaps one of the greatest tales of revenge every written.
JRR Tolkien – The supreme world builder and crafter of heroes.
Mary Shelley – perhaps the mother of modern science fiction and a woman before her time.
Homer – because the Odyssey and the Iliad are among the foundations of modern heroic fiction.
Janet Morris – because her lyrical stories are utterly engaging, taking the read on the ride of a lifetime with heroes who are at once larger than life and yet terribly real.
JD Hallowell – because his touching fantasy is set in a great world, with reluctant heroes and well thought out plot.
Gaston Leroux – because his horror is terrifying, his crime mysterious and his romance heartrending.
There are many others too.
A fine, eclectic choice, indeed! What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
Fantasy, science fiction, true crime, crime, history and historical fiction. At time of writing I’m reading a fantasy, a history and a true crime book.
Are you an Indie author? Do you have any advice for other indie authors?
Yes I’m an indie author.
1) Write what YOU want to write, not what you might think will sell.
2) Be realistic. Most indies don’t make a living from it. Some do – but they are the minority. It takes time to build a following and it won’t happen overnight. It also takes hard work – not just the writing – marketing is a bit**.
3) Read the FAQ and TOS of the publishing sites. Really, it will make life easier. You are entering into a legal contract and a business contract, make sure you’re clear on it.
4) Treat people, especially readers, how YOU want to be treated. If you’re a jerk then expect a comeback.
5) Reviews are for readers. There will always be someone who doesn’t like your book. It happens. Just walk away from the review and keep writing. Under no circumstances comment on the review.
6) Read. Reading broadens the mind, and it helps to know how the professionals put a book together.
7) Get someone else’s eyes on it. Preferably an editor, finances willing, or at least beta readers.
8) Have fun.
Are there any sites or writing tools that you find useful and wish to recommend?
Mythic Scribes is a great site for fantasy authors. There are tons of useful resources, articles and the members are usually willing to help.
Goodreads – a useful site if used correctly.
Get a style guide, decent dictionary, grammar guide and learn to format.
Mythic Scribes is one of my favorite blogs. But how about your blog? What will readers find there?
Library of Erana is my blog. There are author interviews, reader and reviewer ones, cover artists, audio book narrators and character spotlights. I’ve written book reviews, writing articles, and next year I’m starting a series of guest posts on the importance of fantasy in our culture. Of course there is a page about the books, for anyone interested. I think the character spotlights are my favourite. I’ve interviewed William Shakespeare, Satan, an undead horse, vampires, aliens, wizards, elves, detectives, gangsters, lovers, dogs, demigods and royalty.
Wow, and I thought I was good with interviews! What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
My family, my friends.
How would you like to be remembered?
I used to have a quote on my office door: ‘If you can’t be a good example then you’ll have to be a terrible warning’.
Seriously though, I’d like to be remembered as a loyal friend, a creative spirit and a decent person.
Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us about them. Who inspired their characters? Would you like to meet them? What would you tell them if you did?
Lord Archos Stormrager is a man of mystery. He is more than he seems. Archos is a sorcerer, a rebel, a nobleman, a lover and a crimelord. He fights for those who cannot fight, and is not afraid to oppose the status quo even at the risk of his own security. Archos is a mix of people, a mix of characters. Yes, I’d like to meet him, and I’d tell him the future will be trying but the loyalty of friends is the key to success.
Dii is the heroine of the piece; she is an elven slave who escapes the house of her wicked Keeper into a world which is largely against her. Elves have no rights, and what’s more she is a sorceress in a world where magic is punishable by death. Despite her terrible past she remains kind, intelligent and caring. I’d love to meet her and tell her she is stronger than she thinks. Freedom is precious and if the past cannot be changed then the future is negotiable.
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Where are you from?
Ceti Alpha V.
But I grew up in Buckinghamshire, I live in South Western England.
A far way from home, then. Is it true you’ve been abducted by aliens?
Not that I can remember… Oh hang on there was that day which was REALLY weird…
Yeah, I remember. What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you?
I used to work backstage at a theatre – I’d guess the Winnie the Pooh show, when I debated philosophy with someone dressed as a 7 foot owl and a depressed donkey.
He was probably a stoic. Which one do you prefer: Elephants or tigers?
What, no explanation? Huh. If you had to live over again what would you change in your life?
Bad health. My mum’s early death.
Where in the universe would you live if you could travel anywhere?
Scotland, New Zealand, Io.
Gimme some sugar!
Are you intrigued by Alex yet? If so, here’s a special offer for Smashwords Customers:
20% off the price of Tales of Erana
- Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: AX98D
Expires: January 22, 2015
Also, both the following novels are 50% off:
Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles
- Promotional price: $1.63
- Coupon Code: HD98R
- Expires: January 22, 2015
The Shining Citadel
- Promotional price: $1.75
Coupon Code: FU28E
Expires: January 22, 2015
What else has Alex written?
The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.
The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.
Available as an e-book in all the Amazon stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.
Also available as a paperback and Large Print on Createspace, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles –Book II
Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.
Available as an e-book in all the Amazon Stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.
Available as a paperback on Amazon, Createspace and Barnes and Noble.
Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends
Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse
Anthology pieces in the following:
- A Splendid Salmagundi, which won the Indie Book Bargains Award for Anthologies in 2012: http://www.amazon.com/A-Splendid-Salmagundi-ebook/dp/B009RBQSA4
- Wyrd Worlds (free speculative fiction anthology): http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/355249
- No Sleeves and Short Dresses (a summer anthology): http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Sleeves-Short-Dresses-Anthology/dp/1492234494/
- Kisses and Tales (Indie Collaboration romance anthology): http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IDNIOOK
- Just One Mistake in Nine Heroes (heroic fantasy anthology): http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Heroes-Tales-heroic-Fantasy/dp/1495420388
- Outside the Walls Co-authored with Diana L. Wicker in Bellator: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00MCUHYUU
- Summer Shorts (Indie Collaboration): http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Shorts-Indie-Collaboration-Presents-ebook/dp/B00L0OZV6S
- Spectacular Tales (Indie Collaboration): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spectacular-Tales-Collection-Collaboration-Presents/dp/1500983918
- Wyrd Worlds II: http://www.wyrdstar.co.uk/books/wyrdworlds.html
- Tales from Darker Places (Indie Collaboration): http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Collaboration-Presents-Chilling-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ODS3HQY
Prolific, indeed! How about some excerpts?
The following excerpts are from The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I.
The elven mage awoke long before the dawn, cold in the autumn frosts. Crawling from under the thin blanket, she left the small canvas tent to see the fire dwindled in the rain of the previous night. Reaching for her staff the young woman poked the end of it into the sodden embers trying to get some life back into the fire. The wood she had managed to gather was damp and would not ignite easily. Piling a little of it onto the fire pit the girl murmured as she held out a slender hand in which a flame appeared. A small flickering red fire, which shone a faint glow in the half-light and made her flame red hair shine, danced above her slender fingers. Smiling, the mage gently blew the flame onto the wet wood which an instant later smoked into fire enough to boil water, toast bread and warm numb fingers.
Shivering Dii pulled her old woollen cloak around her and looked at the sky, the stars now fading into the grey dawn. Mages could sense the weather, Dii knew that more rain would follow this day; even now she could sense the pressure in the air. Hunger made her belly grumble and as she looked at the thin tent she knew it would not protect her from the late autumn weather much longer, or indeed the many other dangers which stalked the night. Dangers which were very real for one such as her; an elf, a woman and a mage, for such was it that she was not free.
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 not 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.
“Show me, guide me, and take me there. I am Archos, Lord of Magic and you will obey me,” he snapped to the fickle artefact and his eyes glowed silver.
The Mirror began to sing and the glass shimmered dark blue; pushing the mists apart Archos stepped through. He felt the sudden cold of the Astral Winds tug him and the sharp sting of Power as he entered the Arcane Realm. As he approached Archos saw the portal was weak, fading and the light slowly dimming. The bolt of Power he sent crackled blue for a moment and disappeared, but the portal brightened.
Stepping through with some difficulty, he caught his breath again in the chamber of the ruins, and he scanned the old place quickly, noting he was not familiar with this particular ruin, one of many remnants of the past. The room was empty save a skeleton in tarnished armour with an axe, a few empty carapaces and the skittering of some creature.
The old Mirror stood before him, and he could feel its Power failing. He was alone, yet the Archmage could sense her, even taste her trail in the magical air. The feeling sent a shiver down his spine and a bolt of desire to his loins. A scent lingered above the damp tinny smell, lavender and herbs, sensual like a heady perfume. Yet he knew she was gone, not long, yet he could not sense her nearby.
Who’s Alex, again?
A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre. 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’.