Saturday, June 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Alexandra Butcher

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Introducing Alexandra Butcher, whose book The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, Book 1 I reviewed in the last post.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 
I am a British author with a variety of other interests, including nature, history, the theatre, gaming and, of course, reading.  I live in the south-west of Britain with an assortment of pets, plants and books.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I suppose at school, I always enjoyed reading and English Literature and certainly at primary school/middle school age I would get asked to write poetry or short prose for summer events. Always an imaginative person I would often imagine stories or what is now called ‘fan-fic’ from the books I read. More seriously I suppose the fan-fic progressed into more than just a few pages and the poetry continued, albeit darker. Running and playing RPG games, including Warhammer, Vampire and Star Wars  meant I often had to write interesting adventures, and even as a player I often used to come up with complex backgrounds. Yes I am a geek, and proud of it.

Why? That is more of a difficult question. If I am honest probably as escapism as I was often quite unhappy at school and would both read and write to lose myself in new and exciting worlds. All my family like books, my sister is a teacher of English and Drama and my late grandmother was a researcher of local history and had a couple of books published.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write poetry, as I mentioned, but not often now and most of it will never see the light of day. I do have a couple published in an anthology and I recently wrote a summer based poem which will feature in a summer charity anthology, along with a short fantasy story. My main genres, however, are dark fantasy/fantasy romance and erotica.

I love to create the worlds and the adventures, it is very exciting to be able to see the story flow.

4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
Can I mention both? The first is the ‘Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I’, which was published just over a year ago and I have just released ‘The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II’ which was released just a few weeks ago. I also, as I mentioned, have a short fantasy story and some poetry in ‘A Splendid Salmagundi’. I am just about to start writing Book III of the Chronicles and there will also be some short stories.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.
The books are set in the world of Erana, a dark medieval-style fantasy world. There are humans, half-elves and elves in Book I and Book II introduces trolls and fae. Erana is not a nice place to live, especially for those of the elven race. Elves are un-free, with no rights, no recourse to justice and often kept as slaves or servants, they are unable to move around freely and many are forced to live in utter poverty. Those who live in their ancestral home – the Shimmering Forest – do so in hiding ever afraid the slavers will come. The land is run by the Order of Witch-Hunters, a brutal and largely corrupt organisation who maintain their power through ignorance, fear and violence. Magic is also illegal. Mages are feared, and anyone who has magic in one form or another must hide it or risk a visit by the Order of Witch-Hunters.  The humans tend to be unkind to the elves. The nobility too are often corrupt and indifferent. Life is hard for the poor and most people are too busy surviving to dare to question the status quo, or in some cases it suits them.

In Book II we are introduced to the trolls – which are not creatures who live under bridges and menace travellers. These trolls are a noble race; strong, and clever but rather insular. They too have magic but it is limited, they are shape-shifters and seers. We also meet the fae, believed to have been banished and nasty – think emotional-vampire mages who use the fear and turmoil of others to enhance their spells. Book II reveals quite a lot more lore of the world, the history of the darkness and of Dii and Archos. More will be revealed later on.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Book I features Dii, an elven sorceress and former slave, who runs away from her master’s house in fear of her life. Fleeing into this dark threatening world she must survive and find a way to be free. She is also passionate and loving and to a great extent she needs to be looked after, she is the more submissive of the two mages. She does learn to be a little more dominate but she likes to please, this is a result of her slavery. She is also extremely clever and she finds wonder and joy in many things, such as snowfall, being allowed to read what she wishes and the sheer beauty of the natural world. She is wary of people.

Then there is Archos, a mysterious nobleman and powerful mage who befriends her. Those two have quite the passionate relationship!  Archos is powerful, rich, handsome and dangerous but he can be moved to acts of great kindness and bravery, including at the risk of his own life and his reputation. Archos is a lot of fun, he is a real anti-hero. He fights for the good team but he doesn’t always use pleasant means to achieve his ends. He is also quite mysterious and dark. He is certainly not how he appears. He does have a kind side, his relationship with Dii is very touching and to his friends he is loyal and generous, but to his enemies he is ruthless.

The other main characters are Olek, a half-elven thief and the young elven huntress and scout Ozena, whose sister is taken by slavers. Ozena is the young rather naïve and virginal girl in book I. Raised in a small elven village she knows next to nothing about the world of humans but she is brave in her own way and she is stubborn, if sometimes impulsive. She does not wish to ask the humans for help but she knows she must. She does have a bossy streak though.

Book II has these four, plus Marden who is a human warrior and has other secrets, Th’alia an elven scholar and Talfor a shape-shifting trollish warrior.

What do I like about them? Dii is kind and gentle, despite her terrible history, and as the stories progress she becomes more confident and more sure of her magic and starts to become a formidable mage in her own right in Book II. Olek is amusing. He loves to eat and he has a good sense of humour but again he knows what is needed to be done and he does not shirk from it. He is very worldly, which is surprising for an elf or half elf. He is also very confident, another unusual trait for an elf. Marden is interesting and he develops a lot as a character and a man in book II. Archos is deliciously nasty when he needs to be but he is also quite amusing. He has an air that he knows more than others, but this is often the case. He does. He can be arrogant but in some ways he has the right to it.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I am frightened of clowns.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
‘The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I’ is available as an e-book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, I-books and Diesel and also as a paperback on Amazon. ‘The Shining Citadel’ is available on Amazon only at the moment. The paperback will appear shortly (as at early June) and will appear on the other sites when the KDP Select term expires.

Book links –The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles--ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481255622 (paperback)
Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | KoboI-tunes | I-tunes UK

Book 2 http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-Citadel-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00D4CF6W8
Blog/Websites
www.LibraryofErana.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

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