Interview with R.E. Butler

Published 2018-07-05.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was in elementary school, the daughter of my parents' friends sent me a letter and said she wanted to be pen pals. I'd never had a pen pal before and didn't know what to write to her, so I decided to write her a story, which is the first one I recall writing. It was about a young girl who loved animals and had a dinosaur for a pet. My pen pal wrote back to say she loved the story and asked me to write another story, so that first story turned into a serial and I wrote her a short story almost every week to share the young girl's adventures with her dinosaur. I met my pen pal many years later and she showed me the stories that I'd written to her that she had saved and I was able to enjoy reading them with her. She was the first person that told me I should write, and I never forgot her encouragement.
What is your writing process?
My writing process first begins with an idea. It may be a character name, a scene, or a place. I begin to draft an outline for the book based on whatever my first idea is. If I'm working from a character name, I first describe the character physically and then write his/her backstory so that I know the character very well before I begin writing their story. If I have an idea for a scene or place, I write it out in my notebook and then draft an outline around it depending on which series/book it will be part of.

Then I outline the story from start to finish with major plot points, characters, and events. If I'm using real places (cities, buildings, etc.) I print out pictures and keep them with my handwritten outline. If I'm basing characters (physically) off of real-life people such as actors or models, I print out photos of them to keep with the outline for reference.

Once the book is outlined, I begin the writing process. I make sure not to edit as I go along, otherwise I'll never get the book finished and get caught up in re-writing.

After the first draft is finished, I put the book up for a few days to clear my mind. Then I read the book through once, make any editorial changes/notes that I need to, and then I pass it on to my beta readers. After going over their notes with them, I pass the edited book onto my editor. The editing process involves several drafts before a final draft is completed. During the editing process, I work with a cover designer to find the best images and have the cover finalized, as well as complete the book's description and prepare any marketing/promotions that need to be done in advance of the book's publication.

I have my own editing process in which I read through the final draft of the book several times before it's ready for publication.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly paranormal romance, although I enjoy mysteries and some contemporary romances.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPhone with the Kindle & iBooks Apps
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Using my reader group to spread the word of new books. I also rely heavily on my blog and newsletters to share information with my fans.
Describe your desk
My desk is large, with several shelves at the back. On one shelf are my knickknacks (collectibles, fan gifts, statues that inspire me), and a second shelf holds all my writing implements. I keep my writing notebooks on one corner of the desk, and try to keep the main area clear except for my calendar. My desk gets messy, but it drives me nuts so I try to keep it clean.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northern Ohio. I didn't travel much growing up, so the result is that most of my books take place in areas I've lived or visited. My wiccan-were-bear series is based in an area that I spent quite a bit of time in as a young adult.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a lot growing up, but I didn't get serious about writing until after my second child was born. I had just discovered digital books and paranormal romances, and my mind spun with the possibilities. I decided to give writing another try and see if I could create something as amazing as the first few PNR books I enjoyed.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Back in 2011, I had intended to actually finish a story and send it out to a traditional publisher. A friend told me about Smashwords, and how easy it was to self-publish, so I kept my original promise to myself (and then some!), and finished three books, and published my first book in October of 2011.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was such an integral part of my early and continued success! Not only is Mark Coker an inspiration, going to bat for indies and our stories, but the customer service is amazing. Self-publishing was scary at first. I had no idea if any of my stories would even be read by anyone at all, and I had no clue how to format the interior so it would look great. The Style Guide helped me from Day One, and I still recommend new and established authors to use Smashwords. Not only are they a great publishing resource, but they are a vital, long-standing part of the publishing industry.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I get to a part in a story that makes me cry. When I write The End. When I get an email from a reader saying they loved a story or a set of character, that they'd like to live in my world or marry one of my characters, or that a story has touched them in some profound way.
What do your fans mean to you?
The world! Readers make the writing worthwhile. I consider my writing to be a job I never want to be fired from, and I love the readers who support me!
What are you working on next?
I'm finishing up three stories in my Arctic Shifter series and publishing the final story in my Wilde Creek series. For 2018, I envision finishing my Ashland Pride series, and opening a new series based on a vampire group from my Wiccan-Were-Bear series. My muse is always on the move, so I have a LOT to share!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My family (kids have to go to school!) and my writing. I love figuring out what my characters are going to be doing next.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In the summer I love to fish, crab, and dig for clams. In the winter, I love to curl up with a good book.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Generally, I follow authors I enjoy reading and grab their new releases. I normally find new authors unintentionally, such as a facebook post mentioning a new book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My most recent story - Embracing Ehrin (Ashland Pride #8) was a lot of fun to write! I wanted to bring in a bird shifter to the series, so I looked around me for inspiration. We always have red tailed hawks around, and I knew it would be a great way to introduce a new shifter type. I reached out to an author friend of mine who is a police officer, and we were able to brain storm some really interesting ways for one of the heroes - who is a cop - to interact with the locals. My heroine is also a seamstress, and that was something I did in honor of my grandmother who made a lot of clothes for me when I was growing up.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
SE Hinton's The Outsiders. I loved the story so much, and I loved it even more when I realized the author had published it at age 14. I wanted to be her so badly! I still credit that story with my interest in being an author.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

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The Leopard Twins' Christmas Mate (Uncontrollable Shift Book Four)
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Sasha’s cornered in a stockroom by two leopard shifters. But while they’re positive Sasha is the one for them, their conservative leopards-only parents and clan are dead set against a human being in their midst. Hyde and Seek aren’t willing to let Sasha go for anything. They didn’t mean to start a revolution, they just wanted to find their true mate.
AnnaRose (Tails Book Four)
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Lion shifter Mayhem doesn’t have mating on his mind when he walks out of Tails one night, but the sweet brunette climbing him like a tree and begging for protection smells like home, and he’s not about to let anyone harm his newly found heart-match.
The Author's True Mate (The Necklace Chronicles Book Six)
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When a magical necklace sends author Trinity into another realm, and she wakes up in Wrath’s bed sporting the bonding tattoo that matches his, she isn’t interested in getting to know the alluring man who haunted her dreams – she wants to get back to reality. Trinity will be faced with the toughest decision of her life – leave Wrath behind and return to her own world or stay in his forever
Neo (Were Zoo Book Ten)
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Neo knows the moment the vehicle with his soulmate stops in front of the gorilla paddock, and his beast can’t wait to meet her. He knows it will take a while before he can share the truth of his shift with her, but what he doesn’t count on is her stepfamily’s secret. When the truth comes out, will Dani be able to stay with Neo at the park, or will her family steal her away before he can stop them?
Ache (Vampire Beloved Book Three)
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Bellamin knows she’s his beloved, but his prejudice and Kelly’s fraud threatens to tear their budding romance apart. And the moment he gets back into her good graces, an old enemy appears. Kelly’s no average human, and when the uniqueness of her family history is exposed, Bellamin must keep her safe. But can he keep her by his side forever?
Joss (Were Zoo Book Nine)
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Emberly (Tails Book Three)
Series: Tails. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,630. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Diesel realizes his heart-match is in the shifter bar where he works. Finding Emberly is the easy part, but revealing his flawed leg fills him with dread. If he can’t convince his beautiful mate that he’s worth loving, he doesn’t know what he’ll do. To complicate matters, the female who previously rejected him demands the mating contract is enforced. Can Diesel keep Emberly by his side forever?
Mercy (Tails Book Two)
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Lion shifter Barron isn’t about to let anything quite as silly as the fact that Avery is human get in the way of him and his lion securing her as his mate. He’ll show her she’s the most important female in his universe, and that he’ll do anything to keep her by his side and in his arms. Forever.
Memory (Tails Book One)
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Lion shifter Duke would rather have Ree in his life than be alpha. But a jilted lioness isn’t going to go down without a fight, and when Ree believes that Duke will never choose her, she runs. He’s not about to let her go, and no lioness or pride laws will stand in his way. He’ll choose honor over duty, and love above all else.
Tayme (Were Zoo Book Eight)
Series: Were Zoo. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,330. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
While Tayme’s family and sleuth welcome her with open arms, the owl nest is anything but welcoming. A meet up with her adoptive parents ends in bloodshed, and Rory feels like she’s once again an orphan. Until strangers come knocking on the park’s front gate one dark night and offer her a chance to be with her own kind again. When faced with the decision, will she remain in the zoo or leave?
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