Next up of course, is a Meet the Author interview. Today I’m chatting with the lovely Kellie Butler about flawed characters, dancing, music, her most recent book, Out of Night and more…
Historical Fiction/Family Saga/Women’s Fiction
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Thanks so much for having me, Chelle. It’s lovely to be here. I’m a historical fiction/family saga writer with an interest in women’s fiction. My stories tend to go behind the perfect façade that we all display to the world and delve into our true selves, yet provide a glimmer of hope. I tend to gravitate towards flawed characters better than perfect ones because I believe they are closer to who we really are. I guess I’m just a sucker for the person that is trying to find his/her way despite messing up so much.
I was born and raised in the South, Mississippi to be exact. I’ve always had a taste for adventure, and I’ve lived a rather varied life. I studied languages, journalism, and international relations in college, as well as paralegal studies. I’m currently in Arizona, in the heart of the high desert.
What inspired you to start writing and where do get your ideas?
I started writing as a child as a means of escape. I’m a rather shy, reserved person. I’ve always loved to read and books were my portal to new worlds, so I decided to start writing my own stories. I wrote for my school publications in high school and college, and I participated in creating writing groups. I rather lost my inspiration to write during college and graduate school courses, but it was around 2013 when I was recuperating from a car accident that I decided to take it back up again by participating in NaNoWriMo. That book ended up being the first book in my Laurelhurst series.
My ideas? They come from a myriad of places: books, film, songs, sometimes the people that I meet, past experiences. I never really know where and when something will influence me.
How many books have you written and published?
I’ve published four to date in my Laurelhurst series: Beneath a Moonless Sky, Before the Flood, The Broken Tree, and my latest one, Out of Night. The fifth and final book in the series, The Ties that Bind is with my editor. I have several ideas for new projects that are in development.
Which book, out of all your books you have written, is your favourite and why?
There’s a bit of a tie between two of them. I’m quite partial to Beneath a Moonless Sky because it was my first book, and there’s something special about your first novel. My favorite to date, though, is Out of Night. It’s a departure from my previous three books in where it’s far more character-driven rather than plot-driven, allowing me to delve deeper into these wonderfully flawed people and be far more vulnerable and expressive than I’ve been before. Plus, the issues that are central to the characters are timely. It’s set in the past, but every issue affects families today.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Oh, you’re going to get me into trouble with them. Lol. If I could pick one, I’d say Henry Bainbridge. He’s a doctor and a strategist, knows how to hunt and fish (so we’d never go hungry), and sings beautifully. Henry is probably the most poetic, too. He’s an all-around good guy and gets stuff done.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dancer. I took nearly ten years of dance from three years old until my early teens, ranging from tap and jazz to ballet. It teaches you discipline, precision, and perseverance, and it’s all-around fun. I still love to dance.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Other than the aforementioned dancing, I love reading, cooking, baking, knitting, walks with my dog, and watching movies. I live in Northwest Arizona, close to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, so I like to get out and explore when it’s not over 100 degrees. There are a lot of national parks that are on my bucket list to visit.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m honestly going to say All About Eve from 1950, otherwise known as shade writing 101. The dialogue is flawless, the cast is phenomenal, and it’s always fun to watch from beginning to end. There’s a reason it has stood the test of time. A close second would be The Shawshank Redemption. I can watch that film anytime it comes on.
What is something you can’t live without?
Music. Followed by coffee. The end.
What is your favorite time to write and why?
I have more energy during the morning, but I tend to write later at night when I don’t have as many distractions. If I’m on deadline, though, I’ll write at all hours until it gets done.
I’m asked if my books are autobiographic or based on real people and the answer isn’t straight forward. I tend to gather facets of my characters from real people (personality traits, mannerisms, etc.) but they are fully fictional characters unless noted. As storytellers, I believe that we use the events and emotions that we glean from our real lives to create realistic characters grounded in the worlds we create or recreate. It’s why people can connect to our characters.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where can we find it?
How long can you run from yourself?
1968. In the continuing bestselling Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga series comes a gripping, moving tale of separation, self-discovery, new beginnings, and reconciliation.
Kate. A mainstay on Swinging London’s party circuit for years, Kate is plunged into a sordid world when Lord Elliott Cutterworth kicks her out of her home and takes custody of their daughter, Violet after she relapses on her journey to sobriety. Separated from her family, she’s determined to get clean and regain custody of her daughter. On the run from Elliott and her old life, she finds assistance in her reluctant brother-in-law, Edward Cavert, who is running away from some secrets of his own. Can she reconcile her past and face down Elliott?
Lydie. When her youngest son, Cole, is institutionalized from intellectual impairments, it sends Lydie into a downward spiral, and her once loving marriage is in jeopardy.
After botched treatments leave her memory in tatters, her husband, Henry, sends Lydie to Kansas, and to the one psychiatric hospital that can help her restore her memory and her sanity. There, Lydie meets new friends while reconnecting with a childhood friend, Lord Christopher “Kit” Alderley. As she puts the pieces of her life back together, can she finally leave the haunting memories from her youth in Lancashire behind her and reconcile with her brother and her husband?
You can find Out of Night on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo.
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much Kellie for coming over and talking to us. It sounds like you live in an amazing places! I’d love to be able to go walking somewhere like that on a daily basis! I definitely think it must be hard choosing one of your books as a favourite – it’s lucky they don’t know which one’s you pick!! Finally your series sounds wonderful, and it’s interesting how your characters take on traits of different historical people….I’ll be sure to check them out one day when my TBR pile decreases!!
If you have any questions/comments for Kellie, make sure you get in touch.
Have a wonderful day lovelies