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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Robert H. Butler talks about the inspiration behind his new book, Adopted By Humans Volume II, and his creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Robert H. Butler about his life and career, what inspired him to start writing, and the work that went into his new book, Adopted By Humans Volume II.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
Always an interesting question, at least if you’ve lived an interesting life. If I had to answer that… I spent my childhood mostly in the countryside, my parents were well off people who taught me the value of reading (one of the things I thank them for). As an adult, I became a soldier, I traveled to places like Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea. I married young and became a father. Through all of that I dreamed of one day writing books.
Now I do. So who I am… is an author.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
When I was a small boy, I wrote my very first story on a typewriter, it was what we would today call ‘Willy Wonka ‘fanfiction’.” I still remember how excited I was, and I knew then what I would always want to do.
When did you take a step to start writing?
There were many times and many steps. I tried, I failed, I started, I stopped, I gave up, and I promised myself that ‘one day’… ‘when I had the time’ I would do it. But it didn’t truly take hold until December of 2018 when I sat down to write for the first time in a very long time.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
That depends on what you want to count as ‘first book’. I wrote my first novel at the age of eighteen. I look back on it now, and it was awful. I still keep a copy though, one day to be opened and reworked and released.
However, the first one to be released in earnest, ‘Scales of Trust’ took roughly four months to complete. I’m generally faster than that now.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
The latest one to be released took approximately eighteen days to complete and then another month before being published. ‘Adopted By Humans’ volume two was a great deal of fun to write, and I did several chapters per day until completion.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Adopted By Humans Volume II?
My latest release… well there are two. I released two novels on the same day. ‘Who Endures: The Red City’ and ‘Adopted By Humans volume two’ were written for different characters in different worlds with different thoughts behind them both. ‘The Red City’ focused on a villain protagonist and her character arc as she rose to become the Empress of an empire for the sole purpose of protecting it from the destruction of her homeworld. You might call her ‘noble evil’. I enjoy exploring those kinds of characters and concepts. But dark fantasy and grimdark can take a mental toll if you’re invested in the story.
So ‘Adopted By Humans’ serves as a wholesome palate cleanser that is very refreshing, I write that one to laugh, to smile, and to simply enjoy characters being or becoming happy with family and friends, to get that ‘happy ending’ enjoyment that everybody loves even if they won’t always admit it.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Adopted By Humans Volume II?
Getting it out there. Writing honestly isn’t that hard for me, I can easily pound out five to ten thousand words in a day, I’m considered an outlier by my peers for my levels of productivity, but the hardest part is getting eyeballs on it, I’m no marketer and know nothing of self promotion. Plus, frustratingly enough, doing that takes time away from writing, and I hate taking time away from that.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Most characters have some historical inspiration, Nua Calen Aiwenor was inspired by a combination of Cosimo Medici, Cesare Borgia, and Nicolo Machiavelli. Bailey Walker by contrast, is based on some people I know who I won’t reveal, but a bit of me is included in him.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
This is harder, the Beastmen Emperor is based off of various historical emperors of brutal and effective temperament such as Tokugawa Ieyasu and Itzcoatl. Some of the starwatcher priests are based on figures out of medieval european inquisitors and papal figures such as Pope Innocent and Tomas de Torquemada. Different antagonists have different foundations. For ‘Adopted By Humans’ the antagonist is really ‘situational’ rather than personal, but if I had to give an inspiration, it would be the facelessness of bureaucracy that thinks nothing of the cost in wellbeing that they impose on the people they are supposed to serve.
What is the inciting incident of Adopted By Humans Volume II?
For ‘Adopted By Humans’ it would be Bailey’s attack on someone he deemed a threat to one of ‘his’ humans.
For ‘The Red City’ it is Nua achieving success in the first stage of her plan, taking over the city of Komestra and giving her a base of operations to work from.
What is the main conflict of Adopted By Humans Volume II?
For Adopted By Humans II it is… Bailey wants to stay on Earth… and there are forces that may pull him away.
For ‘The Red City’ it is the struggle for dominance, military and political above all else.
Did you plot Adopted By Humans Volume II in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I know the full novel’s layout before I write, but I don’t write a lot of ti down unless I feel the need, I’ve done both ways, neither is more or less effective in the end result.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Adopted By Humans Volume II need?
I have a team of editors who assist, they lovingly refer to themselves as ‘The Drunken Band of Perverted Idiots’ and they work on my author discord server.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
-No tears for the writer, none for the reader. If you don’t feel a scene, the reader sure won’t.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
There are several more books in the ‘Who Endures’ series to finish. I’m nearly done with the first book in the ‘Who Conquers’ series, and ‘Adopted By Humans’ could go for a dozen novels easily. I’m also mentally laying out ‘Boozehounds’ a series of playful novels about an alien pirate Queen who is a major character in Adopted By Humans II.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Absolutely, and they’re worth it a thousand times over. This is how I will spend my life.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Author central: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Butler/e/B09C4TPV2B/
Author Discord: https://discord.gg/FwqrpAx
YouTube audio readings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzY5dLZitYen7LiNkW1mmgQ
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