TweetLiz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. Liz has published a number of short stories in anthologies and has released her own collection, After Dark, in 2018. Her debut novel, Fates’ Fury released September, 2019.
Time to chat with Liz!
What is your latest book?
Fates’ Fury. It’s a fusion of urban fantasy and ancient mythology and tells the story of Jonah Sands in his fight against The Fates as they try to rid the world of mankind. Aided by his two best friends and an alliance of ancient deities, he has to unravel the truth about who he is before it’s too late. It’s dark and creepy, with plenty of action and a touch of humour.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
I think it chose me. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fascination for all things paranormal and supernatural and that naturally extended to horror books and movies as I got older. Not everything I write is completely horror, but most of my work has some element of horror in it.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I have to write in order. I have the whole storyline plotted out, but I just can’t skip ahead!
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I prefer to wait to the end, otherwise it becomes a bit of a procrastination exercise, and I have enough of those already. The exception to the rule is if something needs to be added or changed to coincide with how the story’s evolved down the line.
After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?
Having a great editor to bounce off is imperative. They can be objective when you no longer can and point out what is and isn’t working. Beta readers are also a wonderful resource.
How many unwritten books are in your head? How do you decide which ones come to life now and which ones stay on the back burner?
Far more than I think I will ever have time to write! At present, there’s book one of a new paranormal series, a fantasy/horror epic and a YA fantasy/sci-fi/horror—all pushing and shoving to get out. The first I’m plotting now, so that will likely come first. The second one will take longer to plot and plan, and will take the most time to write, so that will likely come last of the three.
Over the years, many well-known authors have stated that they wished they’d written their characters or their plots differently. Have you ever had similar regrets?
Not really. I feel that characters and plots evolve organically as the story is written. They may not end up the way you first envisioned, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What else have you written?
I wrote a short story collection, After Dark, which released last year. It is the accumulation of numerous short stories I’d had published in anthologies in recent years, with some new work included.
Many times, I’ve actually dreamed plot twists, character names, and many other tidbits that I’ve need for my WIP. Has this ever happened to you?
Yes! All the time. The YA project I mentioned came from a dream I had this week…All hail the subconscious!
Have you ever imagined what your characters are doing after you’ve finished a book or series?
Absolutely. It’s like they exist in some other dimension. With Fates’ Fury, I spent years with the characters, and you do feel connected to them—which probably sounds crazy to a lot of people. But you don’t forget about them one you’ve written The End.
Are you easily distracted while writing? If so, what do you do to help yourself focus?
Oh, I am the worst. When I’m focused, I’m super focused, and when I’m not…well…procrastination is a skill. Usually it’s just a case of a firm mental reprimanding and get stuck into it, sometimes I need a little extra help, especially when tired. I love using the Focus Oil essential oil blend in my diffuser. I discovered it at Perfect Potion years ago while I was at university and have sworn by it ever since. That and caffeine!
Many of us get stuck in our stories at one point or the other? What helps you to break through in these frustrating times?
One of the best writing tips I’ve heard was from James Patterson in his Masterclass, and basically the advice was, “writers block is just a lack of planning.” I agree with this 100%. If I get stuck, it just means I haven’t thought it through enough. A little exercise and fresh air is always great to clear the cobwebs. Then, I sit down and think it through.
Liz has stories in all three of the popular Lurking anthologies.
Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very well while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?
I’m still learning and trying to wrap my head around it all. Its certainly not my strength. I think all you can do is immerse yourself in as much information that you can-and keep your fingers crossed for a touch of luck.
Are you ever able to turn your writer’s brain off? Is this a blessing or a curse?
Never. Not even when I sleep, so it’s both a blessing and a curse. I’ll get a great idea from a dream, but then won’t be able to sleep because my imagination goes off on its own little tangent. But then, I get so many ideas just going about my day to day life, all because my writer’s brain is constantly working, even if I’m not actively aware of it—so in that way it’s a blessing.
What would your dream writing space look like?
A little room, quiet. A large desk, far neater than mine at present. My diffuser on with some lovely essential oils and a large window to let in natural light. Lots of trees or greenery through the window with my hanging basket chair next to it in the corner. My bookcases, maybe some art prints and a couple of framed photos of my hubby and daughter. And shelves on the wall above my desk to help clear away some of my current clutter!
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
I think the synopsis gets a bad wrap. I was so intimidated and terrified when I set out to write my first one because I’d heard all the stressful stories. My trick is to keep a chapter summary. I find this makes it so much easier to put the synopsis together.
If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?
I have so many interests I wouldn’t know where to start! Something on ghosts/hauntings, or ancient history and mythology.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I’m both an early bird and a night owl. In the morning, coffee is a must, as is some music. At night I do enjoy a glass or two of wine…
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
It’s essential to have a fantastic cover, especially as an indie author. Fates’ Fury had a few deigns before we had the final image and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect!
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
They all matter – good and bad! Not only can review help with sales, but it’s also important to know what people think of your work. You won’t please everyone, but even a review that’s not as positive as you might like will still have something you an take away from it. Please leave reviews!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
That I want to be an author when I grow up, ha ha!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
I love sashimi, pizza and anything Mexican (and I’m a sucker for ice-cream) – most of which are only for treats. I’ll eat pretty much anything but detest blue cheese and red apples.
If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?
I’m obsessed with German show Dark – I love an intricate plot! Also, a huge Peaky Blinders fan (Cillian Murphy is a dreamboat…)
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
Hanging out with my hubby and daughter.
Thank you so much for having me!
An absolute pleasure, Liz!
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