Originally published here: http://www.jeffreycollyer.com/#!Author-Interview-AL-Butcher-Tales-of-Erana-Myths-and-Legends/dr2ze/55b8f04a0cf27acb2d8bddd2
Today I talk to A.L. Butcher, author of the collection of short stories, Tales of Erana:Myths and Legends.
A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, the Tales of Erana series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history
and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.
A.L. what made you decide to publish a novel?
The short stories came from lore and legends created for the world of my novels. They are mythic in style – similar to fairy tales or old-style legends. The original idea for the characters and world came from a mix of an idea I’d had for a while for a fantasy/mythic world and a character I had for a roleplaying game. Put simply I had a head filled with stories which wanted to be born.
Where do you get your inspiration to write?
Everywhere. Nature, history, myths, and things I read and see. I tend to get bursts of inspiration at the most inconvenient times, like in the bath or at work.
If you could pick just one phrase from your writings to preserve for future generations, what would it be?
Magic has its price and that price was war. Other tribes coveted the Relic, gift of the Lady of the Sky, and so fought the tribes of the Jagged Peaks, staining the rock with blood and even poisoning the streams. In the infancy of the world the mortal races were young and foolish. Some remained so.
Why have you chosen this collection for your spotlight?
I think the Tales of Erana series is a great way to highlight the world of Erana. I love myths and lore; these focus on the magic, the legends and other more minor characters in the world. I’d love to get more people to read and listen to the Tales of Erana, they are short tales and can easily be read over a lunch break or on the train so are a good introduction both to the fantasy genre and the setting. The lyrical prose reflects a time of fireside storytelling and great heroes.
The novels are more…adult and unsuitable for younger readers.
Where did the ideas for these stories come from?
From the lore surrounding the world creation.
Different authors have differing approaches to writing. Some prepare very detailed plot outlines before they begin on their first draft, while others have a much looser outline and like to see where the story leads them. What was your approach with Tales of Erana?
I’m definitely a pantser! I have an overarching plot for the series but the individual books and stories lead me along. For the short stories I usually have a vague idea of what I want but it is vague. Either the story ends up working – or it doesn’t.
Was there any part of the stories that surprised you as it appeared on the screen in front of you? If so, can you tell us about it?
The ending to Moon on the Water. It’s not an especially happy ending. Essentially it’s a story of war, love and revenge but it started out as a totally different story.
Some readers of fantasy like end-to-end action, while others prefer a greater emphasis on the personal journey of the main character(s). Where would the stories in the Tales of Erana sit between these?
Individual stories range from more action less ‘journey’ to the other way around. Moon on the Water is tale of forbidden magic, love and the war they bring; The Tale of Treyna the Beloved is the story of how the sun and moon became separated in the sky and the arrival of night and day in Erana – basically you could call it a creation myth of sorts. There’s not much action in that one – it’s the ‘journey’ of the elder gods; Storm Born is a lonely mage’s journey to create a companion – and the aftermath; The Legend of Oeliana is a tale of love, vengeance, magic and broken promises – it’s one of the tales which gives hints for later ones; the Blue Phial is a coming of age tale of a young apothecary. Overall I’d say these lean towards more ‘journey’ than action. That said one of the other tales in the series – Tale of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse is pretty much all action.
Are there any underlying messages hidden within the stories (e.g. life lessons, commentary on society, religion, etc) that you’d like to share?
The world of Erana is a world of myth, magic and monsters. It’s a world where half the population are enslaved, magic is forbidden and the land is run by martial law. There isn’t an intended message, except perhaps hope. There is always someone to fight for those who cannot defend themselves. And the world will be what it will be – despite the people on it.
Authors can grow quite attached to some of their characters, and sometimes that attachment can be with minor characters who maybe don’t have a big part to play in the novel. Are there any characters from Tales of Erana who you’d like to explore in more depth?
In the paperback collection (Tales of Erana: Volume One) we find Coel – an unwilling hero thrust into a situation beyond his control. He is not a bad person, but he does have to do potentially bad and dangerous things – although in the end for a good cause. Coel will appear in a later book/novella. At least I hope so – he’s fun. (He also appears in Nine Heroes.)
And finally, how influential do you think fantasy is in today’s society?
I belief it is at the core of our cultures. Western Civilisation has a basis in Ancient Greek and Roman culture, not to mention Nordic, Judeo-Christian and many others. Whether or not one is religious it is easy to see the heroic/mythic/fantasy elements. Example – I’m British, we have St George, several other saints with mythic backgrounds, dragons, fairies and, of course, King Arthur. We have a great tradition of storytelling, and fantasy authors too. From an early I was told fairy tales, fantasy stories about sentient kitchen equipment, and I read CS Lewis, Lewis Carole, and many others.
Thanks very much for your time A.L. I wish you all the best with your various stories from the world of Erana.
You can purchase Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends in various formats from the following links:
And on Audio Book