My guest today is Liz Butcher. Hello, and welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here.
Thanks for inviting me!
Can you give us a brief one or two sentence description of your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
It's a YA horror set in an old English manor - with a twist. This book is available on Amazon and other booksellers.
I loved writing as a child, and then in 2012, the urge to write came back and I've been writing ever since.
I'm super fortunate that this year I was given the opportunity to write full time. I've had the same day job for the past eight years, and in May I embarked on a six-month career break to focus on writing. Things have gone well in that time, and it looks like I won't return to my day job early next year and can continue to write full time!
Ideas come to me in dreams, or just random thoughts, and things that ignite my interest. I have more ideas than I have time to write! I have a box of index cards with concepts written on them. I used to be a pantser, but I find it leads to procrastination and writer's block - at least for me! So I plot things out fairly in depth, though the plot often changes as I write the story.
Such a tough question! But I think at this stage it would be Tristan Carter from Fates' Fury. He's a bit of a larrikin but has a heart of gold.
First task is getting hubby off to work and my daughter off to daycare (soon to be school!). Then I sit down and look at my schedule for the day and just work through it. After checking emails. And making coffee. And putting my diffuser on. And glancing at social media. Then reminding myself to stop wasting time and get to work! I ghostwrite as well, so the order I tackle things really depends on what projects I have from day to day.
It's where I naturally slot in. The challenge for me is writing in other genres and not letting darker/scarier elements creep in.
Not quite the same, though all my work explores similar themes.
My next book, Never, Never, releases next year. This is an adult crime/detective/horror mash-up Peter Pan reinvention. I'm also writing a series based around a hot mess of a woman named Luna Zimmer, who's decided to embark on a new career of paranormal investigating as she tries to uncover the truth about what happened to her family. Then I'm also writing a dark fantasy called Sunrise.
Camille’s father just inherited the family manor from
his estranged uncle, forcing her to leave her friends and city life just before
her senior year of high school for the small town of Woodville, England. After
seeing a strange old woman lurking on the estate grounds, she embarks on a
mission to uncover the history of her new home. What she finds is wilder than
she could have imagined—the murder of her ancestor, Caleb LeRoux, on the same
day his six-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. And an unforeseen
connection to Camille herself, as the only female LeRoux born to the family in
over two hundred years. With the help of her new school friends, Camille delves
into the secrets of the manor, uncovering an all-encompassing truth that will
change the entire course of her life—past, present, and future.
Camille’s father just inherited the family manor from his estranged uncle, forcing her to leave her friends and city life just before her senior year of high school for the small town of Woodville, England. After seeing a strange old woman lurking on the estate grounds, she embarks on a mission to uncover the history of her new home. What she finds is wilder than she could have imagined—the murder of her ancestor, Caleb LeRoux, on the same day his six-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. And an unforeseen connection to Camille herself, as the only female LeRoux born to the family in over two hundred years. With the help of her new school friends, Camille delves into the secrets of the manor, uncovering an all-encompassing truth that will change the entire course of her life—past, present, and future.
Here is an excerpt.
MENA SAT ON the soft green grass, shaded by the old oak tree against which she rested. The long skirt of her sky-blue, satin party dress—now ruined—billowed out around her. A smile danced across her face as she stroked the cat in her lap, listening to the sounds of her parents’ party drifting with the breeze. The melodic tunes of the string quartet mingled with the steady flow of conversation. Friends and family had travelled far and wide to see the grandest house in the province. Completed at last—an architectural marvel, her father called it. Many of the guests were residents from local towns, and most of them Mena had never seen or heard of before.
Raising her hand, she pressed her thumb to her finger, marvelling at the stickiness of the blood. She found it fascinating how it changed from warm and fluid to thick and cool in such little time.
“Here you are,” her father said. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Everyone’s asking after you. That nanny of yours…” He stopped when he realised what she was doing.
Mena grinned up at him. “Hello, Papa. Kitty and I are having our own party. The grown-ups were boring.” She wiped a stray piece of her ebony hair off her forehead with the back of a hand, leaving a streak of blood in its wake.
“No. Not again…” Her father’s voice trembled with anger. Mena could see the weight of the sadness in his eyes, but she felt nothing for it. He stepped forward and grabbed his daughter by the wrist, yanking her to her feet.
Mena gasped when the dead cat tumbled from her lap. “Kitty!” she cried. Her father stormed off, pulling her along behind him.
“Wait, Papa. I want my kitty!” she wailed, hot tears spilling down her cheeks. In her distress, it took her a while to realise they weren't headed back to the house. Instead, her father led her toward the woods behind their estate. “Papa? Where are we going?”
“Somewhere I should have taken you sooner.”
Confused by the unsuspected turn, Mena soon forgot her tears—and her Kitty—and hurried along after him. Her tiny feet scurried across the grass as she struggled to keep up.
They slowed when they entered the woods so her father could better navigate his way through the trees. He paused here and there, as though unsure of his bearings. Mena took the time to marvel at her surroundings. Her parents had always forbidden her to enter the woods, but now, she knew it was the perfect place to play with her animals.
Her father came to an abrupt stop, causing Mena to run into the back of his legs. When he didn’t move, she peeked around him to find a wall of rock before them. She blinked at it with wide eyes; it rose quite high—at least twice as high as her Papa—before curving at the top. It made her think of a giant, sleeping monster hibernating in the woods. Moss and plants spread out across the stone in patches of damp greenery, and a small stream trickled down the front. She wondered where the water came from; it hadn’t rained in weeks. As she followed the water downwards, she noticed a narrow opening in the rocks.
“Papa, is it a cave?” she exclaimed, looking up at him. He stared straight ahead, unmoving for so long, Mena was unsure if he’d heard her. Only when she tugged on his hand did he give a small nod.
“I do love you, Mena.” His voice trembled, and he released her hand. She ignored his sentiment and dashed toward the cave.
Without hesitation, she got down on her knees and poked her head into the darkness. When her father gave no further protest, she took it as permission to explore and scurried into the cave.
The darkness enveloped her. Mena wondered what kind of animals she would find inside. Then something shoved her from behind, her hand slipped forward, and she lost her balance. Before she could call out, she was falling.
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bMXN2G
Wow! It looks so intriguing!
We'll be sure to check out this young adult horror!
Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. Liz has published a number of short stories in anthologies and has released her own collection, After Dark, in 2018. Her debut novel, Fates’ Fury released September 2019, soon followed with LeRoux Manor in September 2020.