Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Interview with S. C. Butler

S.C. Butler is a former Wall Street bond trader who always preferred Middle-earth to the Chicago Board of Trade. Currently he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and a whippet. His website is

What was your inspiration for writing Queen Ferris?

Queen Ferris is the second book in my Stoneways trilogy, which includes Reiffen’s Choice, and the third book, The Magicians’ Daughter, due out in April. The trilogy’s name says it all. I always liked Dwarves more than Elves, so I decided to write a book that way. With caves.

Who are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?

My favorite authors are Heinlein, Trollope, Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, Flaubert, Van Vogt, Vonnegut, Niven…

What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?

Fantasy and science fiction interest me for different reasons. I read fantasy for the story and the characters – it’s not that much different from why I read any sort of book. Science fiction is different, however. Science fiction I read for cool ideas and a sense of Wow!

Why did you decide to make Reiffen a Mage?

Because the Stoneways trilogy is a story about power, and what’s more powerful, in any tradition and at any time, than a magician?

What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Since it’s a fantasy, I did very little research. I checked out a few technologies to see if they were appropriate to the level of some of the cultures – in Queen Ferris, different cultures have different technological levels. The Dwarves, for example, have gas filled airships for traveling beneath the bottom of the world. The humans don’t.

Reiffen and his friends and love maple candy. Is that your favorite too?

Nope. Just syrup on waffles.

What are you writing now?

A story in which one of the main characters from Queen Ferris comes to our world. The working title is Avender in America.

Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it?

I always wanted to write. My earliest juvenilia dates back to when I was about ten years old. (Boy, is that stuff awful.) But it took me a long time to sell anything. 28 years from my first submission to my first sale. Of course, that will happen when you only write novels and get busy with a job and family. The job and my family were always my first priority.

What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

My typical writing day depends on what part of the wip I’m working on. If it’s rough draft time, I try to write a minimum of 1200 words a day, which can take anything from two to ten hours, depending on my mood, how well I’ve imagined the scene, or whether I’ve burned myself out writing too much the day before. Rewrites, however, tend to be more predictably productive, running about four to six hours of work. I find writing to be exhausting.

Where do you write?

At home at my desk, on my laptop, with anything from punk to classical on my boom box. However I get many of my ideas while taking long walks, and often write a book’s songs and poetry while walking as well.

What is easiest/hardest for you as a writer?

It’s all hard. The only easy part is being done.

What is the purpose of fantasy/science fiction, if any?

In my opinion, it’s the same as any other fiction: for readers to enjoy. Readers can enjoy books in many ways, from the cerebral and intellectual to the escapist and just plain fun. The point is in the enjoyment.

Both Reiffen’s Choice and Queen Ferris are available in hardcover and mass market paperback from Tor books. You can find them at most bookstores specializing in spec fic, or at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

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