Thank you, Katie, for hosting me on your blog, Domestic Diva.
After all the waiting, the time has arrived for the release of my novel Butterfly. I still feel unprepared. It’s a bit like being pregnant and waiting for the big event and then being completely overwhelmed when that child is, at last, in your arms.
I’ve always been a story teller, off on some flight of imagination. When I was eight years old I started writing my stories down and illustrating them. I even submitted one to a prestigious New York publishing house. With the rejection letter came encouragement to keep writing.
For years I wrote “in my head”…never on paper other than a few notes here and there that were lost in the piles of notes I wrote myself on a daily basis. I raised my children, had a career, did craft projects, read books and told myself someday I was going to write a novel.
I won’t tell you how many years went by because there were many. Four years ago I read a little book that had been in my husband’s library for quite a while. It is called No Plot…No Problem. I was completely intrigued. I bought a laptop. Now, you have to understand, I was an incompetent typist. I didn’t flunk typing in school only because I dropped out before they had a chance to tell me how much I sucked! I rarely used the internet. My biggest accomplishment on the home computer was solitaire. I deleted everything called “Hot mail” because I thought it was pornography. Okay, give me a break, I had teenage boys in the house!
One October day I started to write. It was a story that had been rattling around in my head for years. The characters talked to me as I drove, while I rode my horse, when I went to bed at night.
In that month in 2005, I wrote a 100,000 word book. The eye strain was so bad I typed with my eyes closed and fixed the typos later. That book is called Land of Ahhs, and I seriously doubt you will ever see it in print. It has everything…jet fighters, small town intrigue, horses, love, sex and …oh…I forgot the rock ‘n roll, but you get the picture. I wrote three books that year, but they all fell short of being marketable. I basically knew nothing about putting together a romance novel that would sell.
Butterfly is the first book in The Fadó Trilogy. This contemporary series follows the lives and loves of a family of three siblings whose passion is Irish traditional music. Fadó is an Irish word meaning “once upon a time” and it is the name of their band. The heroine in Butterfly is the youngest of the group, Flannery, a fiddle player. She is twenty-three, fresh out of Dublin and joining her brother and sister in Boston somewhat against her will.
The idea for Butterfly came together for me from several directions. The serendipity was amazing.
Through Colorado Romance Writers, a local RWA group, I met “The Writing Babes.” This is a smart, funny and lovely group of women—some published, some not yet. It was suggested that I show up for my first critique with some writing. I had nothing I really wanted to share. So, I wrote a couple of chapters of a new story. The “exercise” in critique technique became Butterfly.
People often ask if the heroine in Butterfly is me. That is not a hard one to answer. No way! Sure I have red hair, green eyes, I’m almost all Irish and can play the fiddle, but the resemblance ends there. Flannery never wears a watch…I’m neurotically punctual. She is twenty-three…I’m much older. And, to my chagrin, Flannery Sloane is a better fiddler than I could ever dream to be. On the other hand, I would love to be her friend. She is a bohemian free spirit. She is the butterfly who can light gently on your heart and fly away with a piece of it before you know what’s happened. In a purely Irish expression…she can tell a man to go to hell and make him look forward to the trip. Writing her story was easy because I loved hanging out with her.
The interaction between Flannery and her siblings was the key theme of the book when I began. I love the film Big Night. It explores the relationship between two brothers who have a restaurant…one is the chef, the perfectionist…the other is the businessman. They disagree at every turn, but they love one another without reserve. This was the feeling I wanted to capture with the Sloanes. To Flannery, music is her child, her anam chara and not for sale. To her sister, Kerry, the music business requires compromise or you will never play outside your own kitchen. Their brother, Tynan, is the peacemaker between the two sisters.
I have four sons who are all involved in music to some extent. Only one is a professional musician. I couldn’t create Flannery without thinking of him. He once said his music was more important than anything or anyone in his life. Such bravado! That was all before he fell in love.
Love changes everything. After love, it is hard to remember life before. The path to this realization takes some interesting twists for Flannery and, hero Hunter Kincade.
I wanted to write a story that would make my readers laugh, cry and end up wanting more. I wrote Butterfly for you. I hope you enjoy it.
If you have questions or comments I would love to hear from you. My fan email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my web site is http://www.clareaustin.com/. Please stop by and leave a comment in my guest book.
Butterfly is available today from http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ in trade paperback and from other online book sellers August 7 in paper and e-book formats.