Interview – Dennis Butler

Dali Museum

Today I interview Dennis Butler.

Tell us a bit about your books
At this time, I have published four books. Two are science fiction and two are paranormal. My preferred genre for enjoyment reading is science fiction, but I have found I enjoy writing the paranormal books more. At this time (in the real world), narrow-bandwidth radio signals are being transmitted every day into deep space in an effort to make contact with an alien race. My science fiction books are part of a series, based on the possibility of what might happen if someone hears us or if we hear them. Remember, we have no idea if the alien race will be peaceful or hostile. The paranormal books are classified as horror/ghost but neither of them are actually horror; that is, they are not scary like a true horror story. The ghosts are not evil. They each have an agenda that involves the living. They just happen to be dead. All of my books include romance and sexual situations but no explicit sexual details. They are recommended for young adults and older.
What inspired you?
I spent years in technology at a middle management level. Ninety percent of the job was writing; boring technical manuals, executive communications, etc. I was frequently criticized for making technical documents too descriptive; too colorful (too many adjectives). One high ranking executive once said to me, “What do you think you are doing, writing a novel?” I guess she was right. I do like to write and I do frequently go off on a writing tangent. So here I am, writing fiction.
Another reason I started writing was that I do a lot of reading and I frequently become disappointed with the books I read. They sometimes start off good and then the plot gets confused or goes in what I consider to be the wrong direction. Even some great writers seem to get lost in their plots sometimes. I began typing notes describing different scenes that might be part of a story. Before I knew it, I had a short story and I quickly found that I enjoyed writing my own story the way I wanted it to unfold, more than reading someone else’s story. So here I am, writing fiction.
Are your characters based on people that you know?
Yes, although in an abstract way. The characters are not exact duplicates of real people but they are based on real people that passed through my life at one time or another. It is my way of never forgetting them. During my time working in technology in New York, I had the privilege of developing friendships with people from all over the world. For that reason I will generally include characters from India, Africa, Jamaica, China, the Philippines or the Ukraine. On occasion I will lovingly include the dogs of my life.
What hardships have you had to face since you started your writing journey?
The writing is the easy and fun part. Getting people to actually find the books is the hard part. I have one book that is number 892,370. I doubt if anyone is going to browse to that book. If it was in a budget bin in a bookstore, maybe someone would stumble upon it, but when it is that buried, digitally; there is not much chance of anyone reading it. So I would say that promotion is the most difficult hardship for any unknown writer.
What research do you undertake to help you write?
I do an extensive amount of research for all the characters and locations in my books. For example, I have one book that includes characters from Somalia, Turkey, Thailand, Russia and China. The story moves across several continents, so I first develop the character and research ethnic names for them and then as the story moves from place to place, I research the locations. I enjoy this aspect of writing because I learn a lot about remote places in the world.
Any information on upcoming books?
I recently published my fourth book, so I am waiting for an inspiration. Rather than sit in front of a computer and strain to think of a story line, I’ll just spend more time walking in the nearby nature preserve and wait for a story to pop out from behind a tree. Maybe I will see a story in the reflection from one of the lakes in the preserve.
Anything you want to say about people who wish to get their work published?
When I was walking at the nature preserve recently, someone said I should walk faster and I will get more exercise. My response was that it is more important to enjoy walking. If I walk faster I will not enjoy it and I will eventually stop walking. Enjoy your writing. When you get near the end of the book don’t be in a rush to finish it. Take your time and see if a friend or relative can proofread it. Above all, don’t pay attention to reviews. Reviewing a book is like reviewing a musical album; some will like it and some won’t. Even great authors like Suzanne Collins have some horrible reviews. Some people will “get” your book and some won’t. Write for yourself and someone will like it. Don’t force romance; let it flow as it would in real life.
Dennis Butler
Amazon Kindle Author

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