Last Word: Kellie Butler

Writer, reader, paralegal, knitter, and dog lover! Kellie Butler, today’s guest on Last Word of the Week, is my kind of author. Kellie’s historical novels in her series, The Laurelhurst Chronicles, are perfectly imagined and constructed stories dealing with love, passion, crime, and murder. The Laurelhurst Chronicles are Anglo-American stories set in the 1940s.

LWOTW: Welcome, Kellie! Thanks for being here. Tell me, when did you write your first story?

Kellie: I started writing when I was in high school. I was in a creative writing club, and I wrote for my student newspaper.

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Kellie Butler

Good for you – great way to start. What do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?

Some of my dreams make excellent fodder for scenes or stories. If I can remember them the next day, I will jot them down. I’ve always had a vivid imagination since I was a child, so I guess it’s a good thing that I’ve been able to turn it into a career. Planning. Hmmm. Since I write a series, planning is crucial for it all to make sense and for me to keep my deadlines on track. I give myself small manageable goals along the way to not feel overwhelmed. A dream without planning and execution won’t happen.

Excellent points, thanks Kellie. So, what’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

Oh gosh. My first book received a five-star review from another historical novelist who I admire immensely. I was jumping up and down the day I received it. I also just had my first author chat and book signing this year.

Moonless Sky

Exciting times, then. Congratulations on the 5 stars, that is wonderful. What are you most busy with at the moment?

I’m writing the first draft for the third novel (working title The Broken Tree) in my Laurelhurst Chronicles series.

I hope we see it very soon. If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from other writers. This process is a learning curve, and we all must start somewhere.

That’s great advice, thanks Kellie. One of the best things about this Last Word blog is hearing from other authors about their tips and processes. Finally, what’s your favorite colour?

Robin egg blue. It reminds me of spring.

Thank you so much for having me. 😊

An absolute pleasure, Kellie! Thank you so much for sharing.

 

Kellie’s Links:

Website: www.kellierbutler.com

Amazon buy links:

https://getbook.at/BeneathMoonlessSky

https://getbook.at/beforetheflood

Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/kellierbutler

Last Word of the Week: Patricia M Osborne

Last Word of the Week: Today I am very pleased to welcome Patricia M Osborne, an English author/poet whose novel House of Grace: A Family Saga does for the 1950s-1970s what Poldark does for the late 18th century: presents us an immersive historical world with great characters, love, trials, conflict, tragedy, romance, and the promise of more story to come. (You know, part of me flinches when describing this period as ‘historical’!)

Patricia: Thank you, Clare for inviting me over to chat.

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LWOTW: When did you write your first story, Patricia?

I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember but I was around twenty when I sent my first story into a competition. I’d typed it up on my portable typewriter. To be honest, after studying Creative Writing since 2011, I can now see that it wasn’t very good. It had far too much telling and not enough showing.

LWOTW: I think we learn a lot about our craft as we go along, the ‘telling vs showing’ thing especially. What do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?

I’m all for dreams and see them as a gift: whether it’s a nice dream or a nightmare, it can be used for story purposes. I have a vivid imagination, which is a great tool for a writer. Re planning, I plan to a certain extent but also run with it so see where it takes me.

LWOTW: Interesting. I think I need to do more planning! What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

The publication of my debut novel, House of Grace, A Family Saga, in March 2017 just before my birthday but also winning first place in a poetry competition, student category at Brighton and Hove Poetry Festival earlier this year. The icing on the cake was having my prize presented to me by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. The presentation was     worth more to me than the £100 prize.

House of Grace kindle

LWOTW: How amazing! What are you most busy with at the moment?

I’m just finishing off my thesis and a poetry collection for my MA dissertation in creative writing. The research has been fabulous fun as I explore the myth, folklore and legend around trees and express these stories in poetry. I am also working on the sequel to House of Grace, called The Coal Miner’s Son, which can also be read as a stand-alone. I’m hoping to release it later this year in time for Christmas. So watch this space.

LWOTW: We certainly will! If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Believe in yourself. Get involved with other writers and offer and receive critique/feedback. Critique helps to make a better writer. And never give up. Sorry, that’s three things.

Three very valuable tips! And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?

Purple is my favourite colour. As a child it was always blue. I love purple and plum and wear these colours a lot as I find they suit me. I had purple as my theme on my wedding day.

Thank you for having me, Clare. It’s been fun answering your questions.

It’s been an absolute pleasure! We must chat again 🙂

Patricia’s links:

Twitter: PMOsborneWriter

Facebook: Patricia M Osborne, Writer

Website: patriciamosbornewriter.wordpress.com

Email: patricia.m.osbornewriter@gmail.com

Where can you buy Patricia’s book, House of Grace, A Family Saga?

http://mybook.to/HouseofGrace

 

Something to Say: S.C. Karakaltsas

Today I’m pleased to host S.C. Karakaltsas on Something to Say, an occasional blog series in which I chat with creatives who have a timely event or launch to talk about.

S.C. Karakaltsas is the author of two historical fiction novels, Climbing the Coconut Tree, and A Perfect Stone. Sylvia has also written a contemporary short story collection, Out of Nowhere. She has received awards for two of her short stories and has work published in the Lane Cove Literary Awards Anthology and Monash Writers Anthology. In her spare time, Sylvia also blogs and reviews many amazing books at https://sckarakaltsas.com/

Welcome to STS Sylvia. What project are you talking about today?

Thanks for having me. My current project is my new novel called A Perfect Stone.

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A Perfect Stone is set for release today, I see. Congratulations! Is there one aspect of the novel that you relate to most – a favourite character, scene, or effect? Can you tell us more about that?

A Perfect Stone is a dual timeline historical fiction novel set in 1948 during the Greek Civil War and Melbourne in 2016. Released 10 October and launching 18 October, I am very excited about this project.

It’s a story told from the point of view of  eighty-year-old Jim, who finds something which triggers the memories of the childhood he’s hidden, not just from himself but from his overprotective daughter. When Jim has a stroke and begins speaking in another language, his daughter is shocked and confused. Jim must confront what happened when, as a ten-year-old, he was forced at gunpoint to leave his family and trek barefoot through the mountains of Northern Greece to escape the Greek Civil War in 1948.

I fell in love with my character Jim. He’s endearing and vulnerable but also quite eccentric in some ways. He makes me laugh and he makes me cry and he reminds me of a few older men I know, including my own father.

That sounds really interesting. What do you think drives you to pursue your creativity? Is it family history or the past in general, for example?

With my novels, I’m inspired to tell little known stories. In my first novel Climbing the Coconut Tree, I was inspired by the double murder of two Australians living on a phosphate mining island. In A Perfect Stone I was inspired by the fact that 38,000 children from the ages of 2–14 were forced to leave their homes without their parents during the Greek Civil War. Of the ones who survived, many ended up behind the Iron Curtain and some never saw their families again.

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I write short stories as well which are mostly contemporary looks at life in suburbia, poking fun or digging at the unexpected things that happen. I wrote a short story collection which was published last year called Out of Nowhere which was well received.

Many writers describe their processes using analogies – the famous Hemingway one, for example, in which he says that writing is simply a matter of sitting in front of the typewriter and staring at a blank page until you start to sweat blood. Others speak of stitching scenes together, following characters on a journey, immersing themselves in a storyline. What can you say about your process?

My process is purely and simply sitting down and writing to see what comes out and it often shocks me. I only started writing four years ago after having spent years in the corporate world and I’m staggered that I can string at least a sentence together let alone a whole novel.

That’s amazing. Finally, what five words would you use to describe yourself as a writer?

Persistent, single minded, wide-eyed and dogged.

That sounds like a recipe for even more success. Thank you so much for joining me in Something to Say, and all the best for the release and launch of A Perfect Stone.

 

You can find the books by SC Karakaltsas  at these links:

A Perfect Stone : https://www.amazon.com.au/Perfect-Stone-S-C-Karakaltsas/dp/0994503261/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1538698782&sr=1-1

Out of Nowhere: A Collection of Short Stories : https://www.amazon.com.au/Out-Nowhere-collection-short-stories/dp/0994503245/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Climbing the Coconut Tree : https://www.amazon.com.au/Climbing-Coconut-Tree-S-Karakaltsas/dp/0994503229/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Lost arts of the twentieth century: the rendezvous

Back in the day, there were meeting places where you waited for your family or friends to come find you. Under the clock at the railway station, in front of the department store window (yes, ‘window’ singular), at the corner of the school. Eventually, Dad would come to drive you home from the station, or your friends would show up for your shopping expedition, or your little brothers would mooch up to be walked home.

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No mobile phones, so no texts or emails or either, to let you know someone was late, or that they weren’t coming. I guess waiting is a bit of a lost art too. No phone to look at while you stood at the meeting place. (Of course, I always had a book at hand. Always.)

Meetings could be the highlight of your day, or your biggest disappointment. Being stood up by that cute guy I met at school dancing class, who promised to meet me at the bus stop the next week. Such an embarrassing and gauche moment!

On the plus side, at least he didn’t text me saying it was him, not me…

Notions like this complicate the writing process. It can be quite difficult to get into that space, that space where your characters don’t know what’s happening elsewhere, and can’t easily find out. Mind you, writing about the twentieth century is Historical Fiction after all. As a writer, having inhabited a previous era is no guarantee of being able to write it convincingly.

Ah well, back to the typewriter I guess…

Photo: Grenfell Station by Geez-oz from Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grenfell,_NSW_-_Railway_Station_1.jpg