NAW Interview with Allison Butler

Allison Butler
Allison Butler spent her early years in country NSW, Australia, building pretend castles with hay bales and leaping white posts with her army of two older sisters and a younger brother.
She is also a proud member of Romance Writers of Australia, New Zealand and America. She lives in a small town in NSW, Australia, with her very own Scottish hero, two beautiful daughters and a Jack Russell named Wallace. Visit her here.
NAW- Tell us about your book, The Healer. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?

I’ve been given so much helpful and encouraging advice from authors since I started my writing journey. One of the first gems was to ‘write what you know’. The idea for The Healer came about when I applied this advice to me and my writing. I care for the elderly in an aged care facility and wondered what it would have been like for a nurse/healer to care for people hundreds of years ago.

The Healer is the story of an English woman, a Scottish Laird, a case of mistaken identity, and a love that will surpass all barriers.

An outcast in her own home for as long as she can remember, Lynelle Fenwick will do anything to earn her father’s approval including exaggerating her healing skills, and setting off alone to rescue her step-brother from a band of raiding Scots.

Living under a curse that has haunted the Closeburn Clan for years, Laird William Kirkpatrick, will do anything to save his sole surviving brother. He may not believe in curses, but his clan does, and the growing number of graves seems to support their side. Having banished all healers from the clan for trickery, he has no choice but to allow an Englishwoman, claiming to be a skilled healer, into his home and into the room of his wounded brother.

NAW- Tell us about the character of Lynelle Fenwick. How did you develop the character?

Lynelle’s life should have been one of privilege, but due to a tragedy, she ends up an outcast instead. Despite this, she grows into a strong young woman with a beautiful soul and an instinctive need to help others. I decided to have her raised by Fenwick’s aging healer, which would give her some healing knowledge, something not everyone had. I then had Lynelle spend her years observing her people live their lives when she simply exists. She reaches a point where she’s tired of watching and desperately wants to live among them. The Scots raid gives her the chance to gain her father’s approval. Lynelle takes the chance, but she will be forced to make choices, something she’s never had to deal with before, and even she doesn’t know how far she will go to finally belong.

NAW- How do you carry out relevant research for your books?

When I started my writing journey, I chose to write Scottish historical romance and began building my reference library. I now have an assortment of books on Scottish history, castles, battles and more. I also use maps, guidebooks and photos I’ve gathered during my travels to Scotland. Bliss! For The Healer, I also needed to research herbs and healing techniques used in medieval Scotland, so I’ve added a few herbal books to my shelves, too.

The Healer cover

NAW- What drew you to writing?

I love words. I’d even written a few poems for friends many years ago. My reading tastes leaned toward the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror genres at that time. Then I read, Simply Love by Catherine Anderson and fell in love with the romance genre. For me, it’s all about the Happily Ever After. In the back of the book was a question for the reader, ‘Have you ever dreamed of writing a romance?’ That’s when my writing dream began.

NAW- How long did you take to finish the book? How did you decide the title?

The Healer took about two and a half years to write. I’m not a fast writer, but the more I write, the more my writing process improves. As for the title, I did try to come up with something more enticing, something to showed it was set in Scotland, but nothing else seemed to ‘fit’ the story as perfectly as The Healer.

NAW- What can a novice reader expect from The Healer?

My hope is that any reader will fall in love with Lynelle and William and find themselves cheering them on to the ‘Happily Ever After’ they both deserve. I’d also like the reader to believe they’ve experienced a glimpse of medieval Scotland through the characters eyes and the words on the page. But mostly, I want readers to feel warm and happy when they reach ‘The End’, and to be inspired to stay positive and to never give up hope even when all seems lost.

NAW- Tell us about your other works.

The Healer is my second published book. My first is titled, The Border Laird’s Bride.

To fulfil his father’s dying wish, border laird Jamie Graham must marry and sire a legitimate heir. But his marriage will be one of convenience, for he has vowed never to open his heart to betrayal. While guarding his cattle from thieves, Jamie catches the spirited daughter of a neighbouring laird stealing his horse. Despite viewing an arranged marriage as a death sentence, feisty Kenzie Irvine has no choice but to wed the domineering Jamie. But she has sworn an oath never to bring a child into an uncaring world. And Kenzie also has a dark secret she has no intention of giving away – even if she finds herself her on the wrong side of the law…

NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing or caring for the elderly, I love to spend time with family and friends, to travel, to dine out, and to see the sights from the back of my husband’s motorcycle.

NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?

My favourite writer is Marsha Canham. I love her stories, her writing style and her voice, and am swept away to another place and time, again and again. Years ago, I joined Romance Writers Of  Australia and since then, I have met so many amazing writers, including Anna Campbell, who was my Mentor Extraordinaire for several years and Alissa Callen who is my talented critique partner. These two lovely ladies and every other writer have their own writing journey and I am inspired by each and every one.

NAW-What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading, Life In A Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer. Amazing!

NAW- What will you be working on next?

I’m excited about my current work in progress. I’ve almost finished the first draft of Book 1 in my Unnamed Scots Trilogy. 3 stories about 3 skilled swordsmen who are friends and share a common bond. None know their origins. Having grown up together in the Lowlands, and having no luck finding any family connections there, they all have a year to search the Highlands or they must return to their adopted clan, find a woman to marry and settle down. But how can they marry when they can’t even offer their name?

2 comments for “NAW Interview with Allison Butler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *