Please join me in welcoming author Shannon K. Butcher to the Daily Dose to celebrate her newest release: Love You to Death. The novel takes Butcher fans to a new place as she explores romantic suspense. So kick back, grab your coffee and enjoy our little question and answer session.
Tell us a little about Love You To Death? Is this a paranormal romance or a nitty, gritty crime drama/romance?
LYTD is a romantic suspense, and possibly the creepiest stuff I’ve ever written. It’s about a woman whose sister has gone missing. No one believes Ashley’s disappearance is anything sinister, but Elise knows differently. With the help of hunky, ex-cop neighbor Trent, Elise will stop at nothing to discover what happened to her sister, despite the number of mutilated bodies that are piling up.
What is about the romance genre that appeals to you?
It’s the relationships between people that intrigues me most. There’s nothing more exciting to me than watching two people fall in love—whether they dive in head first or fight it every step of the way, it’s always fun to witness. Throwing in the complications of monsters, terrorists or serial killers just makes it that much more interesting.
Can you describe your writing process? Do you have a writing schedule that you maintain?
I have two modes: rough draft mode and everything else. When I’m in rough draft mode, I spend several hours a day writing—usually 2500-5000 words per day. The house gets messy, the laundry piles up and my guys are on their own for meals (which I think they secretly like). I do that for 4-6 weeks, then the book is done. After that comes everything else: revision, edits, interviews, conventions, promo, etc. When I’m doing those things, I tend to work shorter hours and catch up on all the things that went awry during rough draft mode. As my career goes forward, it seems like the line between those two modes is becoming blurry, as things like copy edits and page proofs are due and can’t wait until I’m done with a rough draft. I’m adjusting as I go along.
What was the toughest part of the publishing routine? Submitting? Editing?
Revision is the worst. As an engineer it was important that I did things right the first time, as mistakes could potentially end up hurting someone. So, the fact that the rough draft isn’t perfect feels like a failure to me every time. I KNOW that’s not the way the writing process works, but it’s still hard for me to make that mental adjustment. Plus, I just don’t like revision. I’d rather be moving on to the next story.
Each book is a learning experience, what will you take from this book forward?
This book really changed the way I see the world. I did quite a bit of research into the criminal mind and what hit me the hardest was that people who do the kinds of horrible things my villain did in this book aren’t necessarily crazy. They simply like hurting people. And they appear completely normal to people around them. So now I look at people with a lot more suspicion and mistrust. In fact, it was this book that compelled me to buy a gun and learn how to use it.
What type of books do you yourself like to read?
I mostly read paranormal romance and romantic suspense, though I do branch out to other flavors of romance and an occasional non-romance book.
You’re married to Jim Butcher who is wildly popular via his Harry Dresden and Codex Alera books as well as other projects. Do you ever feel like you are competing with him?
Not at all. We’ve been married longer than we were single, so at this point we share everything. His victories are mine and vice-versa. We share ideas, help each other and try to make things as easy on the other as possible. And I’m not a competitive person at all—I’m far too stubborn for that. I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and what other people do isn’t likely to influence my decisions or actions.
Now, that being said, it’s clear that other people pit us against each other. I’ve had plenty of reviews that compared my work to Jim’s, which never fails to make me giggle. We write such different things in such different ways, I think it’s funny that people try to compare us simply because we’re married.
Writing can be such a complex and intensely personal pursuit, is it a struggle to balance family and married life against competing deadlines in a two novelist family?
I don’t think it’s any harder to do what Jim and I do than it is for any other working couple to balance their lives. In fact, because we set our own schedules, it’s easier to work in school stuff and other family obligations now than it was when I was doing the day job. Sure, things get a bit tense from time to time, but for the most part, it’s not a problem to get everything done. Of course, our son is nearly grown now, so it helps a lot that he’s self-sufficient.
What is the next big goal you have set for yourself?
I just got two more 3-book deals in June, so I set a goal to finish all 6 books and a novella I need to write in about 16 months. So far I’ve finished one book and am on schedule.
Want to know more about Shannon? Head over to her website where she hosts some great contests and keeps you in the loop. I for one am looking forward to reading Love You to Death and her future book deals. For Sentinals fans, next novel, the Finding the Lost, in that trilogy will be released in November.