Thanks, and hi! My name's Andrew Butcher. I'm twenty-eight. I self-published my first novel when I was twenty-one. I have the most unfortunate surname for a vegan. I watch far too much TV. My tastes are very eclectic. And I have a pet tortoise named Tricky (because it was tricky coming up with a name for her). I don't really like talking about myself, so that's all you're going to get out of me, I'm afraid.
What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?
I've entered my latest book, "Fear the Wolf." I've previously published three paranormal mystery novels and some nonfiction. But this is my first time writing fantasy.
Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?
"Fear the Wolf" is an adult fantasy thriller novel set in a mysterious world that was torn apart by a great cataclysm. In the main character's village, her people worship and live in fear of the Wolf, a giant beast that inhabits the forest surrounding their village. They believe the Wolf comes for all who presume too much.
Of course, our defiant main character Senla Nora is terrible at following orders. So when she steps of line, the Wolf descends on her village. What starts out as a quest for revenge transforms into a story of overcoming one's greatest fears and learning to accept oneself in a world that's always trying to tell everyone who and what they should be.
My goal with "Fear the Wolf" was to follow to the classic Hero's Journey, but to do it from a viewpoint character who is under-represented in most fiction and, therefore, rarely gets to be a hero. I hope the book will appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, which I am proudly part of. But I also hope the lessons of self-acceptance Senla learns along the way will resonate with all readers.
The Hero's Journey might have been done to death, but "Fear the Wolf" isn't your typical fantasy story. The judge can expect some mystery, suspense, and a few big twists. (I love a good twist!)
You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?
If "Fear the Wolf" stands out, it will probably be because I'm not very good at sticking to genre conventions! I'm either a genre-bending genius or hopeless at writing fantasy. I suppose we'll find out!
But more seriously, there are so many talented self-published writers with much more experience in writing than I have, and with far more experience writing fantasy. If my book stands out, I hope it's because the main character and her journey towards self-acceptance resonates with the judge. I tried to write the most honest book I could, and this is definitely the most personal novel I've written.
WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!
Same place I found it. If it's missing, someone else must have taken it since.
Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?
Nothing to lose, everything to gain. No matter what happens, it's a great opportunity to be able to take part. I've never entered any of my books into a contest before, so I'm just excited to see what happens--if anything!
Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?
I have some ideas for turning "Fear the Wolf" into a trilogy, but I'm not committed to this plan at the moment. I'm in the gestation stage of the writing process right now, just playing with ideas before plunging back into anything definite. Readers can expect ... a long wait. But hopefully not too long. I'm always working on something.
Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?
Good luck to everyone. Thank you to the judges for taking the time to read and consider everyone's entries. And thank you, Mark Lawrence, for this wonderful opportunity.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
42 a.k.a The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything.
Editor's Note: Thanks for taking part in SPFBO 2019, Andrew, and the very best of luck to you in all your future endeavours!