I’m delighted to introduce a new interview with Alexandra Butcher, the author of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.
TW: There are two books so far in The Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles, with a third on the way. Will the series be a trilogy, or do you have more planned?
AB: Yes, at the moment I have at least six planned. Book III follows some characters introduced in book II, so book IV will return to the main adventurers Dii, and Archos. There are several revelations to come, and some tragedy. Not to mention the resolution of a number of aspects.
TW: What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
AB: Focusing on the writing! I have a terrible concentration span, and find it easier to focus on lots of things at once rather than one thing. I usually have the TV on in the background, and sometimes more than one story open.
TW: Who’s your favourite character to write?
AB: Oh gosh, each character is so different so I am not sure I have a favourite. I love Dii, she has survived so much and is actually a very strong woman, she just doesn’t realise. Olek is always fun, he can snap between the easy-going half-elf to the ruthless assassin in the blink of an eye. He loves food, so he is great to write when there is a meal involved and he probably has the best sense of humour. Archos is always great to write. He is very powerful, but he is quite arrogant and often actually quite nasty. Ozena is sweet, she had matured a great deal but is still really quite niave and gets shocked by events.
TW: More elven history/lore is revealed in The Shining Citadel. Have you written a full history for the elves that you dip into when needed, or do you prefer to write lore as and when it’s needed?
AB: No, at least not written down. I have a lot of it in my head, but now I have started to document the lore as it becomes relevant. I tend to adapt and change ideas, so writing them down often means I end up tying myself in knots. It is easier for me to keep it in my head and let it ferment there until I need it. There is a lot to be revealed in forthcoming books, and I have the lore of the trolls and some of the history of the humans to contend with as well. That said I do have folders of notes and idea sparks but it is not an organised history as such.
TW: When the series is over will you write more books in the same world, or move on to something entirely different?
AB: I am provisionally planning a later series but we will have to see. There will be short stories too, following more minor characters, I am working on some of these at the moment. I am also planning an erotica short story series. I may also try and do something with another fantasy world I created some years back, and even a Roman style historical fantasy.
TW: What’s your favourite memory of writing (in a broad sense, so a great review or similar would count)?
AB: Oh, hmmm. I used to love planning adventures with my friend for a game we used to play. Ah and the first time someone I didn’t know bought the book and left a good review.
TW: Excluding your own books, what’s your favourite fantasy book/series?
AB: I like Janet Morris, and I love Lord of the Rings. Ms Morris takes one on such a rollercoaster of adventure and Tolkien is a supreme world-builder. Before that, I would say Discworld and the Odyssey.
TW: Which authors or books inspired you, in terms of both getting into writing and your own style?
AB: Janet Morris, Alexandre Dumas, Tolkein, Gaston Leroux, David Gaider.
TW: Apart from reading and writing fantasy, what do you like to do in your spare time?
AB: I watch a lot of movies and TV, all sorts of genres – fantasy, sci-fi, documentaries, science, natural history, action films, superheroes etc. I like history too and study quite a bit of that. I like growing plants and playing with pets. I also play PC games, although not so much now as I can’t sit at the PC for long these days.
TW: What advice would you give someone who was just about to start writing their first book?
AB: Be patient, be realistic. Sales probably won’t come overnight and it takes work and time to build a fan-base. Don’t expect to be the next big thing, it very rarely happens. However don’t get disheartened by this, there is no reason, with a very good book or even better many books you can’t make some money. Keep writing, network and take advice on board. No book is perfect, and someone won’t like it. Bad reviews go with the territory, as do good ones (hopefully). Oh and read the FAQ and TOS for the publishing platform you use. Really. You are doing business and it helps to know what you’re getting into. Most of the newbie questions are explained in the FAQs and you can save yourself some time and upset by reading through them. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t. Finally keep writing and write what you love.
TW: Apart from finishing The Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles what are your writing plans for the future, and do you have an estimate for when your next book will be released?
AB: I am working on some anthology pieces, which should be out later this year. I am hoping book III will be out mid to late 2014.
Author website: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/