Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interview--SARAH BUTLAND 1

BIO- Only 26 years old and currently residing in Moncton, New Brunswick,
Canada, Sarah Butland has tasted the waters of almost every form of writing. Sarah has had several previous pieces published in her local newspaper including fiction, poetry and non-fiction as well as had a poem published in an anthology. These works include Electric Shock, Wrong Shell and The Wolf Not Only Blew the Straw House Down. Her most current work is Brain Tales Volume One, a collection of short stories written for older readers which followed her children's book titled Sending You Sammy.

Thanks for being here Sarah . It’s a pleasure.
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
Most of my life, unfortunately, is outside of my writing career as I’m just getting started with it and need to pay the bills. I’m married to a wonderful man and currently share the house with a dog named Corona and a cat named Russ but have a little one of my own on its way. I work full time for a Canadian bank and am getting ready to move so don’t have much time left over to devote to writing but I plan to once we get settled.

#2- You write in several different genres such as children’s, poetry, young adult, fiction and non-fiction. What makes you want to write in such diverse fields and what challenges have you faced in doing so?
I didn’t start out with such a broad view of writing – I started with poetry as my way of coping with major changes in my life. I was reaching more for the book I wrote all of my poems in than my diary. But when I realized how difficult it would be to base a career on poetry I began experimenting with other forms of writing.
Being a sucker for a good fiction tale I ventured into short stories and had a blast! I was able to spin a tale of another kind without risking revealing my own struggles as I did with each poem.
Then, enjoying challenges, I would see a contest or opportunity for writing a piece of non-fiction and, although I enjoyed doing so, I found fiction was what I liked best.
I started my published career in children’s books simply by accident. I was colouring Spiderman at work and ran out of red colouring pencils so my husband suggested I use another colour. As I had plenty of green and yellow I used my imagination and coloured Spiderman in those colours. When I looked at the newspaper headline before it claiming childhood obesity was soaring I realized Spiderman was now BananaBoy.
The challenge I now face with children’s books is being able to afford paying the artist for future books in the series. Full colour illustrations are what make a children’s story and I can’t draw a stick person so I depend on an illustrator’s talent.

#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
I, like Susan Crandall said in a previous interview, do not like negative reviews very much but take each with a grain of salt and as a learning and growing experience. With so much work being put in to Sending You Sammy, when someone from a school district began tearing it apart I had to justify my decisions – of course I thought I did everything right! When I compare this book to some others in the schools I can’t believe the decision was made not to support it. But now I know how critical even the smallest detail that I take one way can be overlooked or misconstrued as another.
The only outside review I received of Brain Tales – Volume One was a reader wanting to know what the results were for Brock’s son in Eggs Over Hard. Once you read it you’ll need to know, too, but I’m not telling… it’s for you to decide. 

#4- You worked with an illustrator, Juan Costa, for your children’s book Sending You Sammy and Trent Washburn for your book Brain Tales. What was it like working with two different illustrators and what did you learn from the experience?
Working with two different illustrators has taught me that, just like writers, artists have different styles of method, instruction and execution. Both Juan and Trent are equally respected and greatly talented.

#5- Your children’s books have a very strong message. Could you tell us a bit about that and what books as a child inspired you?
It disgusts me to no end to hear that a child doesn’t enjoy reading and then to see the options they are given to read. There are plenty of excellent books which should be the ones presented in schools but instead if the author is well known based on one good book all of his/ her books are made available.
I wanted to introduce a book that has children hooked both on reading (Sending You Sammy is the first of an eventual series) and eating healthy. With literacy in North America on the decline and obesity on the incline I knew the importance of writing a story that wouldn’t push the message but would still get it across.
The Chronicles of Narnia has to be my all time favourite book series as a child as well as an adult. The endless interpretation possibilities have the readers taking away something different with each and every read. Before that had to be the magnificent works of fellow Canadian author Robert Munsch.

#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
I don’t have anything coming up soon but I plan to finish my novel within the next few years. As soon as I have it, or any book in between, published I will let my fans know.
My main website is and I have two especially for the Adventures of Sammy series. The first site,, is for series updates as well as book availability and there’s a fan website at where you can sign up for newsletters to get access to fun, games and recipes in relation to Sending You Sammy and the rest of the series.

#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I simply hope that all of my fans and new readers of Brain Tales – Volume One enjoy each story and continue to create and/or write their own tales.
Thanks to Kelly for hosting me on her terrific website that allows readers to meet authors. And best of luck to Kelly as well as all the readers and writers (published or not) of the world.

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