Hi I am A.L Butcher (Alexandra), a British author of fantasy, and fantasy romance with a touch of erotica.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book has no romance at all! But the one I am currently writing has a bit – it’s a novella centred around an on-the-run bard who must rescue his previous flame from the clutches of a slaver. It’s way more fantasy than romance. The last fantasy romance I published was book three of my series – The Stolen Tower. It follows a few of the characters in from the second book of the series but also can be read as an adventure in its own right. Let me see – we have M’alia, an elven mage whose meets Talfor, a troll warrior, and lord of his people in book II. They accompany Talfor’s sister, Mirandra in her quest to prove herself worthy to lead, to find her missing kin and along the way she meets a very lonely earth elemental. Then we have Gregori, a human merchant hunting for his father, and Ephany a half-elven assassin who is, effectively, a bodyguard and guide to the others. It’s not a happy ending, at least for one of the couples, but then again it IS dark fantasy. The earlier books tend to have happier endings for the lovers.
What do you have coming out in the future?
Currently I am working on book IV of the series, a couple of novellas for the companion series of short stories, oh and a fantasyesque erotica.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
The novels are a series – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles. They are fantasy/fantasy romance with a touch of erotica. One reviewer described them as sex and sorcery. The companion books – The Tales of Erana – are mythic fantasy short stories. Some have romance, some don’t.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
Certainly in the novels the romance and relationships are a key part of the adventure. Certainly the two key mages – Dii and Archos are very passionate and their relationship is greater than the sum of its parts. Love and magic are intertwined. The characters are people, people who love and hate, need and desire, lose and gain. In Book II one of the key characters is Marden, a Witch-Hunter (the bad guys) and he discovers elves are actually not all that bad. What makes it special? Sex and sorcery. The romance makes them stronger, more united and more courageous. It is also part of the magic, Dii and Archos are bonded and this makes them more powerful, but also more vulnerable. As if one falls the other suffers, and potentially could fall as well.
Is romance the only genre that you write in or do you write in other genres? If so what other genres do you write in?
Fantasy/Fantasy romance, erotica, and I’ve dabbled with horror, poetry and historical fantasy.
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.
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. (Please note the 18+ rating.)
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Walking my doggy, reading, gaming, gardening, theatre/movies.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The meaning of the series title becomes clearer as the stories progress. Archos (the lead man) is the Lord of the Storm, and Dii (the female lead) is the Lady of the Light ) as you will discover in book II.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
I tend to read fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, classics and gothic horror. I tend not to read modern set books.
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
Count of Monte Cristo – it’s the ultimate revenge book
Phantom of the Opera – a tragic love story
Wuthering Heights – see above
Lord of the Rings – it’s a brilliant fantasy adventure, with amazing world-building
Sacred Band/Beyond Sanctuary/ – They are great dark fantasies, with enthralling adventure and rich world-building
War of the Worlds – brilliant sci-fi
Watership Down – it’s a book with so many layers and interpretations
I, the Sun - incredible story about an incredible man.
Dune – it’s great political sci-fi
Any of the Discworld series – funny, clever, great characters and world
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
Several on facebook. Mostly we talk about non-writing things;) But they are usually good for advice as well.
Mythic Scribes is great for fantasy writers too.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Formatting. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Ideas. I get tons and tons of them, usually at odd moments. Getting them to work is much harder. I have folders full of half-scenes waiting to find a home.
How would you describe your writing style?
Chaotic I tend to be working on several things. Sometimes I’ll write for days and days then nothing for a month.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
Go with the flow. Plots get changed – they usually tell me when they get where they need to go.
What is your favorite quote?
If you can’t be a good example, you’ll have to be a terrible warning – Catherine Aird
Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one – Terry Pratchett
The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head – Terry Pratchett
Do you have any advice for other writers and what is it?
1) Write what YOU want to write, and what makes you happy. Forcing a story to be something it isn’t will show in your work.
2) Be patient – it takes time to build a following. I see so many new authors on the KDP forums complaining that the book they only published last week isn’t a best seller. There are millions of books on offer, and it is very difficult to get noticed. It takes perseverance, hard work and a few knocks but if the book is good then the readers will come.
3) Read the TOS and FAQ of your publishing site. Really, I mean it. Most of the questions will be answered there. Take Amazon – for example. They are the biggest share of the market and you’d be a fool to miss them out. When you hit ‘save and publish’ you are, in effect, signing a contract and, thus, bound by their conditions – whether you agree with said conditions or not. The TOS and FAQ are there to be read, although Amazon is known for its rather vague answers the KDP forum folks are usually very helpful. You will save yourself a lot of stress, and not look like an idiot if you ask the same questions hundreds if not thousands of people have already asked. If you don’t like the conditions – don’t publish there. Simple as that.
4) Success is relative. See points 1 and 2. Most indies don’t make much, certainly not enough to make a living. There are success stories but they are pretty rare. It’s unlikely you will be able to give up the day job any time soon. That said I am not suggesting you don’t bother to publish – go for it! Just be realistic. What do YOU want from your book? Why are you writing? If it’s for the love of it, because that’s what and who you are then you’ll be successful.
5) Don’t get upset by reviews. Reviews will either come or they won’t. Bad as well as good. Don’t respond to either. Don’t bitch about Reader X who was mean about the book. It isn’t worth it. The internet can be a very unforgiving place and nothing ever truly goes away. If you rant about the reviewer then that blog post will likely do you far more damage than a bad review.
What stalks the land cannot be, but is.
Where magic is outlawed a troll Shaman calls from her deathbed to her heiress, Mirandra Var, daughter of the storm. Mirandra vows to find her missing kin, sort friend from foe, and claim the dangerous secrets guarded by unthinkable creatures. If she succeeds, she will become the leader of her tribe. If she fails there will be no tribe to lead.