A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth her work combines aspects of all. A lifelong storyteller, she believes the tale is all and loves to create people and worlds.
She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.
Tell us a little about yourself?
HelloJ I’m A.L. Butcher, fantasy author, poet, blogger, historian, and dog-mummy. I live in Bristol (in the UK) and write mostly adult sensual dark fantasy, short fantasy but dabble in horror, poetry and historical fantasy. I love to read, study history, mythology and potter about in the mud-pit – er that’s my garden at the moment J I work full-time in an office (BORING), but I write when I can and also promote other authors on my blog.
If you could have written any other book by any other author, what would it be, and why?
Oooh that’s hard. If I had to pick one, it would either be Lord of the Rings or the Count of Monte Cristo. LOTR for the amazing world building and mythic style, COMC for the ultimate historical revenge book.
What are you reading at the moment? Would you recommend it to readers of this blog? Why?
Currently, I am reading a book about the royal families of Ancient Egypt, which is interesting but heavy going, and a book about life in the Victorian period, comparing it with modern life ( I guess you could call it a social commentary.) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MSUNBA6/ The Good Old Days: Poverty, Crime and Terror in Victorian London. It’s interesting to see not much really changes. Social attitudes do shift a little, but human nature is still much the same. Today we are told that computer games, violent films, the internet etc are ‘corrupting’ our youth and society and 150 years ago it was the lack of religion, penny dreadfuls and plays etc. Whatever is new or misunderstood gets blamed for the ills of society, social change brings fear and upheaval and often a particular group in a community get blamed – whether that group is of a particular religion, gender, skin colour, ethnic minority, sexual orientation or whatever ‘they’ are responsible for the failing economy, social divides, rising crime and all the other issues which occur when human beings live together in large numbers. It’s always been the case, and I dare say always will be. Basically, the author is saying that the ‘Good Old Days’ weren’t. They were much the same as now – only with less technology, worse hygiene and medical care and equally gullible people.
That one I’d recommend, not sure about the other one yet. I read a lot of historical stuff, especially true crime, plus fantasy, historical fiction/mystery, science fiction and whatever else takes my fancy at any given time.
If you could have dinner (and dessert) with any fictional character who would it be and why?
I’d have a dinner party with the following: Edmund Dantes, Erik (Phantom of the Opera), Heathcliff, Tempus, Gandalf, Frodo, Sam Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Jane Eyre, and Penelope of Ithica. That would be a very interesting party! Why? All sorts of reasons: They could discuss vengeance, loyalty, war and its effects, magic, the question of good and evil, and what they would do in today’s world if they existed now. (Jamie's note: Can I come to the party?)
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
PromotionJ I find the marketing hard; it’s much easier for me to promote other people’s work than my own. I completed a diploma in social media marketing last year, so that’s helped but I do still find it a challenge. I also have issues staying focused. I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and with that comes issues with concentration on the task at hand. To be honest I’ve always had a few issues with being easily distracted, but it’s worse now. I really need to switch off social media when I’m writing, but I can and do listen to music sometimes.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
I work in an office. Basically, I’m a civil servant for the private sector. Currently, it’s like herding cats through treacle, but it’s not always that way. I arrange training courses for people (mostly) and that’s time-consuming but actually worthwhile. Most of the people are nice, and the office is fairly close to where I live. As I can’t drive and have to rely on public transport or my bicycle (if I’m up to it) being close to home is worth staying for.
Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Do you have any other books in the works?
Lots. I usually work on a few projects. Currently, I have book IV of the series, a second Legacy of the Mask short story, and a couple of novellas in progress. I’m written a few more poems recently too, so when I have enough they will be the second installment of Shattered Mirror.
Where can we find you online?
I have only supplied the links to Book I of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, if you would like further info please look at my Goodreads, Amazon or blog profiles.
Social Media links
Amazon Author page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM
Facebook Author Page http://bit.ly/FB2j0bbdZ
Library of Erana Blog http://bit.ly/Blog2iAWL3o
The Light Beyond the Storm Book I
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2iB9PWl
Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2iBgmQV
Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bGqZvO
The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Book II
Audible UK http://adbl.co/2iSW5GF
Ebooks available here:
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2hHRv9K
The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
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.
Olek stayed in shadow and walked in silence, forever gaining upon his prey. As Petrus stepped towards the door, he was suddenly grabbed with a gloved hand across his mouth. He saw the edge of a crossbow bolt in the sleeve attached to the hand now gripping his hair as he tried to turn his head and was dragged back behind the house. As he struggled, a voice said close to his ear, “At this range I reckon I can hit the door yonder. Your brain will merely impede the speed it hits. Struggle, lad, and I will test my theory.”
The young man was forced into a small empty courtyard with no windows overlooking it, as it was full of rubbish and refuse. The voice in his ear said, “How nice privacy…”
The hand was removed from his mouth and Petrus blustered, “Who do you think you are, common thief? I will see you flogged through the streets then hanged. My father is an important man! Unhand me.”
Petrus found himself with a sharp blade pressed against his groin, the deadly edge close to his privates. He could feel the weight of the blade pressing into him. The shadows played around him and the voice in his ear softly replied, “Unhand me? Please, could you not think of less of a cliché? Move or scream and your balls will be rolling in the gutter before the cry is finished.” The young man tried to turn and felt the edge of the blade press against him again and the voice hissed, “The city guard would never find me, for I am the shadows. Now who would this illustrious father be that I am to be so afraid of?”
Trying to look down and as he moved, the swift edge of the blade split the silk of Petrus’ breeches. “My father's men will hunt you down,” he managed, now feeling distinctly less brave.
Olek yawned loudly. “By all means, call his men. They will be hunting a shadow, a ghost. Much expense will be used, to no avail. How much is your life worth to him, do you think? Not only do you deem it suitable to rape young women and brag about your prowess to your friends, but really, you are extremely dull in conversation. If you answer my questions, you might yet live. Believe me when I say I could take you to a man who would not be as…merciful as I, for what you have done and said. A man who could no doubt keep you alive for some while, although I doubt you would be in much of a state to enjoy that life. Now who are you? This young lady whom you found so…enjoyable, where is she?”
With the blade against his skin, Petrus’ courage failed him. His voice trembled as he whispered, “I am Petrus, son of Lord Renfrew. The girl, the little virgin whore, she is in the Mermaid. She was just an elf. I paid the price thus she was mine.”
There was a hiss from behind him and the blade moved yet closer to his balls. Suddenly there was sharp pain as the edge scratched him, not quite breaking the skin. He whimpered and tried to back up. The voice continued, “There was mention of an elven girl called Dii. How do you know her? The other fellows, who were they?”
Petrus swallowed and whispered, “Just a little slut…er…I mean, girl that I had a while ago, a Kept of Lord Tremayne, used to share her around. Little witch warmed his bed too when that human witch bored him. Just an elf Kept, no one of importance, just some fun for the menfolk…the others…oh…er…fellows I just met.”
“Oh, now, lad, you were doing so well… You seemed too intimate to be mere acquaintances.” Olek smiled beneath his cloak.
Petrus felt the blade against him and with a whimper and a squeak, he felt the skin break and a thin trickle of blood begin to flow, soon joined by wetter warmth as he pissed his breeches. Suddenly the only focus was the blade against him and he squeaked, “Just a little Kept whore, I swear, merely Tremayne’s girl. The others, oh, just Janik of Argen; Edwaen, son of the House of Andert; and Reflin, son of the House of Sardak, the merchant.”
Olek twisted his wrist and drew his blade deep into the man's private parts and as he fell screaming, drew the sword across his throat, cutting off the scream to a gurgle. Crouching, letting the blood flow away from him, he hissed, “Women are not yours to use, elf or not. I do not like a man who betrays his friends. This information will be most useful.”