Name Christine M. Butler
Where are you from: I was born in Virginia (USA), but I grew up moving around a lot as a military brat. So- where I grew up consists of Virginia, southern California, Washington State, Baltimore Maryland, and northeastern North Carolina. I tend to call NC home since that’s where I spent the majority of my “growing up years”.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
All my life I wanted to be everything – writer included. My dad was a Master At Arms in the Navy (fancy term for cop), and his outlook on life influenced me heavily in that same direction. I joined the Army before I ever graduated high school, and went on to become military police. When I left the Army I studied Criminal Justice in college and went to work as a corrections officer for the state of NC. I’ve also worked for a newspaper on numerous occasions doing pretty much everything from the Advertising Director’s assistant, to Editorial Assistant, Lifestyles writer, and pretty much everything you can name in-between.
Currently I am a single mom to four children and we reside in Greenville, NC.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I suppose my latest news is the impending release of Breathless – the first in the Death Viewers Series of paranormal thriller books. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in it. Crime. Drama. Paranormal. Romance. I can’t wait to share it with everyone, and it will be releasing on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been telling stories since before I learned to write. I used to scribble on paper, and while I did it I would tell the stories to my mom, or my imaginary friends. I never lost that bug. I’ve always had these voices in my head begging to get out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is kind of a tough question. I’ve always considered myself a writer, whether it was poems, short stories, things I wrote when I worked on the yearbook. I suppose my first taste of being able to tell people I was an accomplished writer was probably when I published my first poem in a book, and definitely when my first Lifestyle piece was published in my local newspaper.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I think a better question is what inspired me to finish writing my first book! J I worked at the newspaper with my friend Jennifer L. Oliver, and I was kind of stuck on this book idea I had. I knew where I wanted it to go, but I wasn’t really sure how to get there. We had written together before, but just doing silly things, so when I sat her down this time and pitched my book she got excited. I got excited. We both started pinging ideas off of each other, and before we knew it we had pages and pages of notes. Sangria Saturdays – became writing Saturdays, and lunch breaks at work were spent filling notebooks with ideas.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I definitely do now. Everything I do gets planned out in advance. My first book, with a partner, took about a year and a half to finish. This was mostly due to us being completely unorganized. Now, I come up with solid outlines for my stories before I ever start writing. I sometimes end up diverting a little from the outline, but it’s always there to pull me back in to where I need to end up. J
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My book titles just come to me. They’re probably the easiest part of writing a book. Just the other day a book title popped in my head, and as I sat there wondering what the heck I was going to use it on, a story was born. It happens like that sometimes. Other times I start writing the story and the title finds me in the middle of it. I just let it come naturally.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sometimes there are little messages in my novels, but what I want is for the reader to take away the thing that hits them the hardest and sticks with them. Reading is a personal thing. I dare say it’s just as personal as the actual writing of a book, and I don’t want to be that preachy author that ever tells someone, “you should have taken this away from my story.” I want them to take what feels natural.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I could sit here and tell you I write Fantasy, of course none of it’s real, but that wouldn’t be true. There are pieces of me in each one of my books. There are pieces of my friends, family, the girl I met in the checkout line at the grocery store… I also sometimes use real places in my books, and when I do it’s usually because I’ve been there and experienced it. I write fantasy, but there are a lot of realistic elements that go into building those worlds and characters.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Like I said before, there are little pieces of me, and people I know that go into things. Certainly my background in criminal justice helped trickle a bit of experience into Lacy McAdams from Breathless. Actually, I also built a character into that book around a friend of mine. The character of Eddie Rodriguez is a paramedic that works on Lacy’s team, and a little bit of his personality, looks, and name were borrowed from this sweet, funny, intelligent, just all-around great guy I met by chance once. The real Eddie and I are still friends, and I owe him like a case of beer and dinner by now for bailing on a few events, so maybe he’ll read the book and be flattered enough to forgive me for being a flighty friend. Lol
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? a mentor?
Oh man, I don’t even know where to start with this. Wait, yes I do. There aren’t any particular books that I can truly point out and say – THAT one did it. My mom was my biggest influence by showing me the world of books, and loving it so much that I couldn’t bet but love it too. I read so much it’s hard to say anything beyond that.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine. It’s a fantastic college-age contemporary romance. I highly recommend it.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I meet so many authors on a daily basis. Seriously, most of them are FABULOUS. Not just in their writing and skills, but personality too. They’re not new, but I absolutely love Sophie Davis, Lizzy Ford, Tasha Black, Portia Moore, Emme Rollins, Toni Aleo, Tanya Kuper, and Mariah Cole to name just a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m re-releasing my first trilogy – The Awakening Trilogy. I was a novice when I put my first books out, and I’ve cleaned the books up a bit, and added some content.
I also have some new releases coming around the corner – Becoming One (Daniels Clan book 1), Beyond the Grave (The Voodoo Follies book 2), and Inferno (Death Viewers, Book 2). All of those will be out by summer time this year.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friends. I have the best friends in the whole damn world. J They put up with me writing on napkins when we go to lunch, they put up with me not talking to them for weeks on end, because I’m buried in a story, and they still love me in the end and push me to keep going. Stacey, Carolyn, Jody, Patria – you are my rocks!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing has been my only career for the past four years. It’s not always the easiest career path, but it’s beyond rewarding, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Plus, I don’t have a day job anymore, and it would suck to have to go do something I don’t love after all this time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nope. Nothing.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was a born storyteller. I think because I moved so much, and I was shy on top of that, it took a lot to meet new friends sometimes. So, I was always in my head in these fantasy worlds I made up.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Breathless – My name is Lacy McAdams and I am a Death Viewer, an agent of the highly trained Homicide Viewing Squad, otherwise known as the Death Squad. When a person dies suspiciously I get called in to view their death. Actually, I get to rewind their memories up to 12 hours before their death.
You’d think that would make solving murders a no-brainer, but there’s a catch. When people are about to be murdered, they get that whole “life flashing before their eyes” thing going on, and suddenly what really happened is mixed with what they remember from their twelfth birthday party.
In other words, a dying person’s mind is a jumble of reality vs memory. It takes training, experience, and a lot of trial and error to get things right. I’ve been at it for quite a few years, learned a lot, and I have a natural talent for filtering out the realities from the memories.
It’s a good thing, because the most important case of my life just landed in my lap while I was at dinner with Brad. It was our third date and judging by how fast he took off, not to mention leaving me with the bill, I’d say he wasn’t too thrilled to be dating a Death Viewer. Maybe I should have mentioned that on the first date?
Chances were good that I would never see Brad again, but the case that I got called in for was one that could make or break Homicide Viewing Squads nationwide. No pressure or anything…
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have serious issues with my attention span. Some days I can sit and crank out 15,000 words. Other days, I get about 500 words and see a squirrel outside and go to look at it. Then I see the coffee sitting on the counter that I forgot about, then my kids will need something, and by the end of the day those 500 words are all I have down. If it weren’t for that damn squirrel, shiny objects, and about 10,000 other distractions, I could probably write a book in under a week. J
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I think this is every author and book lover’s most loathed question. How do you pick just one? AGGHH
I will though. Right now – Jennifer L. Armentrout, because her writing style, word choices, and sense of humor closely resemble my own. It’s down to earth, playful, and full of sarcasm. I love sarcasm and quiptastic banter. So, her work speaks to me. Although the book I just finished reading spoke to me in the same way. That would be Chelsea Fine’s book – Best Kind of Broken. They’re both funny & talented ladies.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel from my bedroom to my office (same house). Is that a lot? Hahaha Just kidding. I haven’t travelled much-YET- because my youngest daughter is a type 1 diabetic, and it’s hard to travel with her because of school, and also impossible not to travel with her, because I worry about what could possibly happen with me hundreds of miles away. This year, we’re doing some book events, and she’s coming with me for those. We’ll be in Alabama in October for the Rocket City Lit Fest. Hopefully, there will be a couple more on the horizon. We’re still working out the details.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I do most of my own covers. When I can’t concentrate to write, I turn to art and it helps me focus whether it’s drawing or working with graphics.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing. That’s always the hardest part. Sitting down until it’s done. Once I write the outline, it’s out of my head, and I feel a small sense of completion. It’s hard to then make myself sit there and fill out the details (sometimes). There are times I enjoy the details very much.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn something new while writing my books. Sometimes it’s just simply better time management, other times it’s how to improve on something I didn’t think worked well before. The one big lesson I learned is to listen to my characters. Once in a while they try to tell me I’m going the wrong way with a story, and when I listen to them the story usually flows better.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be patient, and listen to good advice. When someone offers you criticism – take it! Don’t get upset, or you might miss the chance to take your good writing to an amazing level!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes – THANK YOU! Thank you a million and one times for helping to make my dreams come true. Thank you for telling people about my books, and for the sweet and kind words you send to me in messages. It means so very much to me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. That would have been a very, very long time ago.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Emotional things – yes, I’m a smartass. Seriously though, when a writer is so good that I am completely committed to the characters they created, they can definitely pull emotion from me.
As for my own writing – I often laugh at the silly outbursts my characters have sometimes. I also cry over character deaths, and once in a while, I cheat a bring beloved characters back from the dead because I can’t stand to see them go.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I wish I could meet my grandmother. My mom tells me sometimes that I’m like her in this way or that way. She died just before I was born so I never got to know her myself. I would love to have that opportunity.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t want a headstone. I don’t want an epitaph telling people about the life I lived. I want the people I loved, who loved me to remember me through the stories they tell one another. That is the greatest way, in my opinion, to honor a storyteller when they’re gone. Besides, if I get my way, I’ll be haunting them all until they can join me on the other side anyway. Lol
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Anything artsy. I am truly one of those creative-brained people. If I can work with my hands, be it writing, drawing, molding things, making things… I love it.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Flash, The Arrow, The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Jane the Virgin, Game of Thrones… oh boy you name it, I probably watch it. Those are just a few of the ones I actually watch right now with a serious passion.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
PASTA – I’m addicted to carbs, and I have the butt to prove it. Hahaha
Color – Purple. I also am very partial to most shades of blue.
Music: I have very eclectic taste in music. I listen to pretty much anything. Rock, blues, a little bit of country, pop, classical, seriously. I enjoy music from just about all genres.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
One day, when I retire (hahaha like that will ever happen) I want to own my own “party boat” in the Florida Keys. I want to take people out on the water where they can snorkel, swim, dive, have fun, and come back in while enjoying a beer or some wine and watching the sun set over the water.
I used to live in Key West for a few years, and I left my heart there when I moved.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?