Today, I’m interviewing Canadian author Joylene Butler whose novel Broken But Not Dead, I had the honour of winning in a draw. Not only was it an amazing novel that held my interest right to the last page, but it earned a bright and shining 5-stars from me. A suspense novelist extraordinaire, I look forward to reading second novel, Dead Witness. Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win one of Joylene’s novels.
Joylene, tell us about your novels.
Not until I began my 5th did I realize all my work has a similar theme, the complexities of the parent/child relationship. In Dead Witness, Valerie is coping with the FBI faking her death and causing her children to believe she’s dead. Having lost her parents when she was 14, she knows the repercussions, and to save her children she’s willing to give the ultimate sacrifice, her life to save theirs.
In Broken But Not Dead, Metis, English Professor, and single mum Brendell Meshango is coming to terms with the buried rage she feels toward her mother, dead 20 years. When she’s stalked by the deranged son of a powerful white politician, she’s ready to sacrifice her life to save her daughter.
But what’s even more heroic about these two mothers is they’re not willing to wait for help. They both go after the men threatening their children. And it’s not that they’re particularly brave or warrior-like woman. They’re just ordinary mums who love their children and are ready to protect them with the fierce determination of a cougar protecting her cubs.
The novel that my publisher has now, Omatiwak, Woman Who Cries, is the story of 60-year-old Sally Warner, who is fighting to stay sane after losing her entire family over the course of two years. A friendship develops between herself and the detective investigating her husband’s murder. It’s through their relationship that they are both forced to come to terms with the demons wreaking havoc on their psyches. While they aren’t related, they do subconsciously assume the parent/child personas.
I’m looking forward to reading that last one. Now where did you get the ideas for these two novels?
With Valerie McCormick in Dead Witness, my brother, a PI, was visiting from Whitehorse. One day he was on the telephone with his employees, and I was stuck by a thought. If I was pronounced dead, but there was no body, would he have the resources to determine whether it was true. Dead Witness grew from that.
With Brendell Meshango in Broken But Not Dead, I was nearing 50, feeling the effects of menopause, which means a bit cranky, and one day I thought, “Enough with the blonde bombshells winning the day. Us menopausal, middle-aged women still have a lot of fight left in us!”
I started visualizing grumpy Brendell, who loved her daughter beyond anything else in her life. The story grew from there. Would Brendell be able to commit the most horrific crime to protect her daughter?
One of the things I really like about you is that you’re a fellow British Columbian. I live in Burnaby, and you live in Prince George, and that automatically puts you in my ‘sisterhood’ file! Not to mention you’re a proud Métis. And for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a group of people descended from French/native ancestry. How did being Métis influence your writing?
I’m grinning because the influence is in everything I write. I’m deeply proud to be Metis and I feel as if it’s my duty to share what that means to my readers. For example, most recently it was discovered that every single person on the earth has the same DNA as Scientific Eve and Scientific Adam from a small village in Africa, who lived some forty thousand years ago. Being Metis doesn’t mean that I can be simply labelled in a particular group. It means I’m cousin to every living being on the planet. I come from the same original parents. In my novels, I hope it is clear that although each of us is unique and special, people are people, no matter what.
I totally agree. Now where can we buy your novels?
Thanks for asking, Suzanne.
So what’s in the future for you? What are you working on now?
Right now I’m halfway through my current WIP, book #6, tentatively titled Dead Woman, Broken Man. I’m pushing myself to querying agents for my political thriller KISS OF THE ASSASSIN. I’m also writing a children’s book in my head, called SPIRIT EAGLE, a collaboration I hope to produce with my youngest son, the artist.
Thanks for dropping by. Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Joylene Butler’s novels.
Thanks so much, Suzanne. This has been a huge honour.