Hi, there. Thanks for stopping by. I have one more author interview to share for the week. The interviews will resume again on Monday, but I’m only planning a half-week due to the holidays. Today, I chatted with Eric Butler about his debut novel, The Shadow Within, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary.
Eric Butler was born in 1975 to a military family in Germany. He spent the majority of formative years bouncing around Europe, the United States, and Central America before settling down in Texas. He is a fan of the horror genre but enjoys reading all kinds of fiction. He plans on mixing many of his favorite genres together in future works. He lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas with his wife, son, and a stable of dogs and cats. He publishes under the Naked Cat Press brand, inspired by his sphynx, Isis.
EB: Welcome, Eric. Thanks for being here today. Your first novel, The Shadow Within, is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. Can you tell us more about it and the inspiration for it?
Eric: The Shadow Within is about Jill, a woman in a blossoming relationship and looking to take the next step, which includes a family vacation in the country with her boyfriend and his teenage children. At the same time, a man possessed by an ancient force of evil returns home and is ready to unleash violence in his hometown. In the beginning, Jill thinks the worst part is being alone with the family in the middle of nowhere, but soon she realizes how much she has to lose.
This novel was a long time in the making. I wrote about a third of it many years ago and shelved it. Life got in the way and I stopped writing. Through those years, my wife dropped hints that she thought I should start writing again. One October, I decided I would surprise her with a completed novel as a Christmas present. I worked every night using the original third as my springboard. I wrote up until December 24th, printing the completed manuscript that night after she went to bed.
While it was a completed novel, it was still too raw. I started researching self-publication and all the things I needed to do to put out a quality novel. Two years later, I was able to put all that research to use, and I released The Shadow Within on December 13th, 2019. When it’s all said and done, the book was too violent and scary for my wife, who hates horror, but without her it would never have been completed.
I have it available on Amazon right now in paperback and on Kindle:
EB: What’s your next project, and where can readers learn more about you?
Eric: I released my next horror stand-alone about five months later. The Pope Lick Massacre is based on the Kentucky legend of the Goat-man.
It’s a fast-paced monster novel, also available in paperback or on Kindle.
The project I am in the middle of editing now is a Victorian horror mystery. It is different from my other novels. First, it wouldn’t fall under the splatterpunk category like my first two novels. Second, I plan on it being a series of books.
The novels will be under the series title, The Ephraim Godwin Chronicles, with the first novel tentatively titled The Sins of the Past. The novels and characters are based on a weekly serial I began writing on my website over a year ago. While some elements will be the same, I have decided to rewrite a portion of the story to make the story flow better in novel form.
It takes place in the mid-1800s and follows a retired soldier, Ephraim Godwin, who has become known in certain circles for revealing charlatans in the spiritualist community. The novel begins with him attempting to do just that but instead gets pulled into a murder mystery that reveals dark forces are looking to reawaken. The series will be a mix of fantasy, cosmic horror, action, and a bit of mystery here and there.
I’m looking to have the book ready for release in early 2021. You can follow around and read some samples on my website:
You can find also follow me on Goodreads:
EB: How many half-finished or unpublished books do you have?
Eric: I have a mountain of unfinished works waiting to be revisited. I plan on getting out at least two more stand-alone splatterpunk horror novels and at least two of the Ephraim Godwin novels.
EB: How do you select the names of your characters?
Eric: I honestly don’t know. I don’t have a system other than once a name works, I just know. I changed many of the character’s names in The Shadow Within a handful of times until the right one came along. The only name I never touched was the main character’s name of Jill. It was the right choice all along.
When I started writing the Ephraim Godwin Chronicles, I looked at names that were popular from that period. Ephraim popped off the screen, and it was a natural fit with the last name Godwin.
If I’m struggling for a name, say for a short story or a new book, I look to the wall I face while writing. There I have five movie posters. I stare at when searching for inspiration: Event Horizon, The Thing, Young Frankenstein, Jaws, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I will try and make name mashups from the credits line.
EB: All great movies, and a creative way to think of names. What do you think are common traps for aspiring authors? Do you have any suggestions or advice for them?
Eric: Keep writing is my main advice. However, you need to start making friends with others in your genre or even just independent authors. You will find so many helpful people who are looking to share their mistakes and help new writers dodge some of the traps that come up.
EB: Now, for the big question. You’re a horror writer. What scares you?
Eric: I wish I could say something like the dark or spiders, but the thing that scares me the most is quite personal. My son has Crohn’s and a few other auto-immune disorders. My greatest fear lies in failing him as a parent. We have been working towards stabilizing him for close to seven years now with no real signs of success. I’m scared that we won’t ever get a handle on this, and his true potential will never be realized because of my failure. I’m scared that if this happens, I will lose the emotional and mental connection with my son as he grows older. Of course, I’m also scared since his immune system is compromised, there will always be things I can’t protect him from no matter what.
Although after some thought, I’m a little twitchy around ax-wielding maniacs…
EB: I think axe-wielding maniacs make us all a little twitchy. Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?
Eric: While I love to write and am quite proud of my work to date, I’m just a quiet guy. I’m still trying to figure out all this marketing stuff, so you won’t find me filling up too many pages with “look at me” posts. If you follow me on Facebook, Goodreads, or my website, you’ll find a guy who loves comic books, movies, books, and video games.
I have two huskies and my printing logo, Naked Cat Press, was named in honor of my late sphinx, Isis. So if you like animals, you’ll for sure want to follow my Facebook.
EB: Thanks for joining us today. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Alright, guys. That’s it for the week. On a quick side note, I wanted to share that I have officially sent out my first short story submission. Fingers crossed. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous. I will also be doing another book giveaway next week. I will be posting more about it on my Facebook page on Sunday if you would like to check it out. Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. -E.B.