A-R International: Paul F. Butler

Paul F. Butler
Authors-Readers International

Paul Butler’s fiction is often “historical” in setting but also speaks directly to the twenty-first century whether exploring a Victorian missionary’s desire to replicate his own image in The Good Doctor (2014), the contradictions that lay behind early twentieth century notions of courage and cowardice in Titanic Ashes (2012) or our collective desire to both venerate and scapegoat the memory of woman in NaGeira (2006) in seventeenth century Ireland, England and Newfoundland. Butler’s work has appeared on the judges’ lists for Canada Reads, the Relit Longlist for three consecutive years (2011 for Cupids; 2010 for Hero; and 2009 for 1892), the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards shortlist and he was a winner in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards four times between 2003 and 2008 at which time he retired from the competition to be literary representative, and then chair, of the Arts and Letters Committee. He was born in the UK, emigrated to Canada in 1994, settling in Newfoundland. As an editor and creative writing coach he has for fifteen years run both live and online courses with a special focus on the novel. He recently moved his business, HB Creativity, to Lethbridge, Alberta.

I was the Alberta sales representative for Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press when Paul Butler published his novel Hero. I REALLY enjoyed reading this, at the time, new-to-me author and promoted the novel to my customers like crazy! I enjoyed reading this book so much that I “hand-sold” it not only to my bookstore and library customers, but also other reader friends I knew would enjoy it just as much as I had. When I began promoting Alberta authors directly and kind of lost touch with Paul over the next years. However, when I heard that he was publishing new novels, and re-issuing Hero, I asked if he would like to be promoted on my Reading Recommendations blog. Then Paul moved to Lethbridge, Alberta (but after I had left the province) so he essentially become an Alberta-based author, although one who was still writing novels set in his first Canadian home-province, Newfoundland. He was also offering online novel-writing tutorials (see link below) and consultations for authors wanting to punch their manuscripts into shape and seek publication. So, while I have not yet met Paul Butler in person, I have been reading his new novels he’s published since Hero, and have enjoyed his writing immensely!


Mina’s Child

Next up is May 2020 with Inanna Publications (who also published The Widow’s Fire in 2017). This one is called Mina’s Child. The ‘Mina’ of the title is Mina Harker (nee Murray) of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The Harkers when we meet them here are a generation older. They have been through the trauma of the Great War and have lost a son, named Quincey after the Texan Quincey Morris who features in Bram Stoker’s Gothic tale. The tale is largely told from Abree Harker’s point of view. Abree, as the title suggests, is daughter to Jonathan and Mina Harker. She has a serious case of survivor guilt at having missed the war which killed her brother, and she is skeptical about her parents’ tale of an evil foreign count or anything that suggests such a clear dividing line between good and evil.

 “Mina’s Child imagines a second generation springing from the “heroes” in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In 1921, Mina and Jonathan Harker’s daughter, Abree, a student at King’s College, London, starts to question the extraordinary adventures her parents’ claim to have experienced in England and the Carpathians. Middle-aged Jonathan Harker is haunted by nightmares that Abree assumes to be about her brother, Quincey, killed in the Great War. As the Harkers follow the thread of their unease back to its source, they are haunted by memories of Lucy Westenra, fiancée to Arthur Holmwood, and the manner of Lucy’s death. Having lost her brother, Quincey, in the Great War, Abree refuses to believe in a clear dividing line between good and evil. Abree suspects her parents’ tales of glory hide a profound sense of guilt, particularly about the unexplained death of their friend, Lucy Westenra. The Harkers’ maid, Jenny, it transpires, has reasons of her own to worry about the chaos in her employer’s household. She is carrying Jonathan’s child, but Harker plans to evade all such responsibilities. Jenny, suddenly unleashed as a destructive force against the household, decides to make the Harkers face their hypocrisy.”

Mina’s Child is available for pre-order from Inanna Publications.

Online Novel Writing Tutorial Series – any location: The course is presently full but a limited number of spaces are expected to open up by March 20, 2020. Estimated duration of the course is 8-12 weeks, but pacing is up to your discretion and follows your schedule, providing it takes no more than 12 months (one year) after signup to complete. This can be ideal for those who are working on, or mulling over, a manuscript while traveling or working on other things.
Description: start when you like, work at your own pace and receive extensive evaluation and advice based on your writing. The Online Novel Writing Tutorial Series is designed for writers who want a significant portion of a draft of their novel, or non-fiction project, completed by the end of the course. Feedback will cover all the aspects of plot/structure, narrative style, tense, point of view, dialogue, and we will work on plot development to make sure that you are keeping reader interest. For more details or to register click here.

For more information about Paul Butler, his writing, publications, tutorials, and consultations, please see his website.

Paul Butler has been a guest on Reading Recommendations three times: Sept. 2014, Jan. 2015, May 2017.

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