On to Author Question Time…
I rate Julie Butterfield as one of my top favourite authors and I am very excited to welcome Julie to my Author’s Corner. Read on to find out more…
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing all my life. I wrote a play for my class to perform in Primary school, I was the princess of course, and for as long as I can remember I’ve turned to words as a way of expressing myself.
Where do you get your ideas for the plots of your books?
They pop into my head constantly, when I’m walking my dogs, when I’m doing the washing, when I’m watching the TV. Sometimes it’s literally one word or a fleeting image that will start the creative juices flowing, although not all the ideas make it onto the page.
Can you tell us about the characters in your books?
I think that every character I write about has elements of people I’ve met in real life, just exaggerated. I don’t know anybody as truly unpleasant as Daniel in ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ or Annabelle in ‘Did I Mention I Was Getting Married’, they are an amalgamation of the worst bits of several people!
How long does it take you to write a book?
Writing a book is the part I love and when I’m in the flow I have been known to write 10,000 words a day, so writing the first draft can be done in 4 -6 weeks. Editing is when it all starts to go wrong! It can take me months to edit and fine tune a book. I can spend days on a single chapter before I’m totally happy that it flows as I want it to and presents the reader with the picture I have in my head.
What is your schedule like when you’re writing?
Manic! It absorbs me completely and I forget about everything else. I start writing first thing in the morning, stop to take my dogs for a walk and then it’s back to my computer where I write until I reach the point where I stop making sense. Even then I continue thinking about the story and my characters and often go back to my computer to add a little something that’s just occurred to me.
How do you deal with the characters after the book ended?
When I’m writing I have their backstories in my head and although I write The End, I carry on thinking about them until I start my next book. All my main characters live happily ever after of course! Even if they encountered sadness in the story, it led them towards a happier life.
Your books are self-published. Do you find this gives you more freedom in your schedule as you dont have strict deadlines?
Yes and no. I have no deadlines imposed by anyone else but being self-published means that I have to make my own schedule and stick to it if I want to keep publishing books. My first few books were written when I was working full time and they were a hobby more than anything else. Now I’m writing full time it’s important that I plan out the year ahead, know what I want to achieve and stick to the plan.
Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Decide who you are writing for. I started writing for myself and I had no expectations of success or my books becoming bestsellers. I enjoyed writing and when success came, I was both surprised and happy. But if you are writing because you want to be bestselling author, your approach has to be totally focused and you need to put in a huge amount of research before you even pick up a pen, know your target audience, understand how to reach them and decide on a plan. Then start writing!
Which authors do you enjoy reading?
I love Milly Johnson and Debbie Viggiano. They write the light hearted but sometimes complex kind of romance books that I hope I write, and they both have a wonderful turn of phrase with characters I can emphasises with.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I rarely have a fixed idea of what anybody should be called. I go through lists of names in my head, everybody I’ve ever worked with or known, and suddenly one will seem right, the sort of name that the character should have, Sometimes I change my mind, I’ll be writing and just get the feeling that the name doesn’t suit their personality so it’s back to the drawing board.
I would like to say Thank You to Julie for her time involved in bringing this feature together. If you have not yet checked out the links above, please go do so. You will not regret it and please please do let me, or Julie herself, know what you think.