Joylene Nowell Butler


Joylene Nowell Butler, author of Dead Witness has lived in the Prince George Bulkley Nechako area since 1979. She belongs to several online writers’ groups, such as Deadly Prose, Garret Group, Muse Conference Board, and Novels-L. Joylene has been writing for 26 years and has published many creative writing articles online and nationally. Her second novel Broken But Not Dead is due to be released by Theytus Books in 2011. For the past 18 months, Joylene has dedicated her blog to promoting exceptional writers published and unpublished across the globe.

Dead Witness book description:
Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal seaside murder of two FBI agents. When she flees to the nearest police station to report the crime, she becomes caught up in a web of international intrigue and danger. Suddenly, she and her family are in the sights of ruthless criminals bent on preventing her from testifying against the murderer. Even with FBI protection, Valerie is not safe. Whisked away from her family and all that is familiar to her, Valerie fights back against the well intentioned FBI to ultimately take control over her life with every ounce of fury a mother can possess.
excerpt from my blog, titled: 

Is loving an animal supposed to be heart-wrenching?

Every so often life gets in the way of writing. And it makes you stop and think about stuff other than… well, writing. Last week my neighbour called. She works nights so we don’t see each other as often as I’d like. She’s one of those special people, the kind that would give you her last loaf of bread or cup of coffee. A genuine person. Someone I liked right from the start.

I knew as soon as I heard her voice that something was wrong. She asked if my husband was home. He wasn’t. I said, “What’s wrong?” then waited for what I knew would be bad news. There’s a voice that people inevitably use when they’re hurting. Even if they try hard not to, you recognize the pain. I’ve looked into the face of someone smiling and seen it.

But this was over the phone; that’s how clear her pain was.

“Cajun can’t walk.”
1.    Please describe your writing/ art? 
I write full length suspense thrillers that take place anywhere from Cluculz Lake to a collective farm in Russia. My themes centre around the complexities of the child-parent relationship
2.    what is the writing/ artistic accomplishment you are most proud of to date? 
Finishing my novel Dead Witness, and receiving such great reviews from my readers. 

3.    what are a couple of your (specific) writing/ artistic goals you have yet to accomplish? 

I’m currently working on my 6th novel. I’ve yet to be on Oprah’s Reading List; that would definitely be a blast. But honestly, I’m grateful for the sheer pleasure of writing.
4.    what do you love most about northern BC and why? 
Apart from northern BC being beautiful, its clean air, good people, and the simpler life are the things I love most. 
5.    what are the biggest challenges about living in northern BC? 
Being so far from Toronto and Vancouver has its downside. I’m unable to attend writers’ conference or knock on the doors of major publishing houses. And book readings. It would be wonderful to attend a reading by Stephen King, John Irving, or Margaret Atwood, to name a few.
6.    are there are other northern BC (or surrounding area) writers and/or artists who have inspired you?  (if so, why?)
My dear friend and mentor Bridget Moran is sorely missed. There isn’t enough space here to describe what her writing meant to me. She was not only an exceptionally gifted writer, but a terrific human being. She cared about the less fortunate but in a respectful and kind way. Bridget was a wonderful person.  
7.     in 50 words or less, please describe your home (i.e. actual home, town or territory).
We live in a log-stick house, 25’ ceilings with a loft. We have three floors of glass windows in the living room that overlook Cluculz Lake. It’s not a large home, but there’s a fireplace, logs, hardwood floors and a view to die for. I couldn’t be happier.
8.     what’s your favourite restaurant / cafe in the north? (where is it?) Why is it your favourite?
I loved Lakeside Resort. We always ran into friends and hanging out at the pub felt more like being in someone’s rec-room. It was a sad day the night it burned down. Going for dinner at Lakeside on a Friday night was fun. It gave me a chance to visit with friends from the neighbours. Oh, and the food was delicious.
9.     what is your favourite wild creature (animal, bird or bug) that lives in north?  Why? 
I love the loons, but I have to say the eagles are my favourite. I can’t tell you how often I’ve looked up from my computer only to come eye-to-eye with their majestic presence. There’s something very special when an eagle keeps eye contact in the seconds it takes for him to glide past. He’s not frightened or even curious. It’s more like, “I respect your existence. Thank you for respecting mine.” 
10.   Has living in northern BC informed, affected or influenced your writing or art?  If so, please let us know a bit about how.
Good question. The Internet has made the world a smaller place. I’ve met fascinating people from all over the world. But when I see my home through their eyes, and realize how fortunate I am to live where the water is clean, the sky brilliant blue, I am speechless with gratitude. I can walk through the neighbourhood and drive at night without fear. I have the freedom to write whatever, whenever and however I want. I’m not censored or punished or ridiculed for my stories. And that, sadly, is not the case for many writers around the world. To be Canadian from Northern BC is a gift that I don’t take lightly, and I try to show that in some aspect of my writing. 
11.   what is your favourite place in the north? (town, hangout or wild place) 
Cluculz Lake is the best of both worlds. I’m 68 km from Prince George if I need equipment, groceries or a night at the theatre. I’m 38 km from Vanderhoof if I need supplies. The winters mean jumping on a skidoo right outside my door. The lake freezes and the scene is breathtakingly pristine, beautiful, serene. In summer, Cluculz hosts kids of all ages, screaming with delight, swimming, fishing, boating. It’s busier, but just as beautiful. We watch the sunset in the winter and watch it rise in the summer. Loons nest out front. Eagles soar by our window. Moose swim across the water. Beavers build damns. Otters slide across the ice. Where else can you stand at the window and be entertained all day long?  

12.   Please share anything else you feel/ believe is important to share about northern BC in 200 words or less. 

We use rifles for food. Life is simpler, but it’s also harder. We have to create our own cultural events. We leave the protection of our homes in the winter to travel on dangerous highways to visit with family and friends. We know our neighbours because one day it might mean our salvation. We fight for everything we have because we live where it’s easy for them to forget we exist. When the government makes cuts in the budget, rest assured we’re the first on their list. Yet through it all, we choose this lifestyle because we believe in nature, the environment, and a safer way of life for our children. I think it’s important that we record this way of life so it’s not lost in the shuffle. We’re like nobody else. How many times has Hollywood pretended that Toronto is NYC? Too many. And why? Because the similarities are uncanny. But Northern BC is a place unlike anywhere else, and we need to celebrate that uniqueness in any way possible.
13.  do you have a dream for or relating to the north and if so, what is it?
I would like to see more emphasis on the arts, particularly in school. While sports are indeed valuable, what if we had a centre of the arts devoted especially for children ages 6 – 18. More honours and more scholarships and more recognition, that’s my dream. 
Thanks, Mary. What you’re attempting to do is a very good thing. If I can help in any way, please let me know. I’m already hosting authors on virtual book tours, but I’m sure I can do more. I’m sending this along because if I don’t, I end up editing and revising until I cut the life out of it. 
Author of Dead Witness
Broken But Not Dead set to be released by Theytus Books 2011
“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” Standing Bear
Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 4:56 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I loved hearing what you had to say about your lifestyle on the shores of Cluculz Lake! You remind me of how lucky we are to live in the north.

  2. Thank you, Joanne. I’m feeling particularly lucky this season. Life is a blessing.

  3. Joy, I can’t wait to read your next book! You are a fabulous writer!!!!!

  4. Thank you so much, Katt. Your support means a lot.

  5. Great interview, Joylene. You excel at both ends of the interview process.

  6. Thanks so much, Keith. I was thrilled when Mary asked if I’d consider doing one. She’s the first host I know that showcases Northern BC writers specifically. I’m so honoured to be surrounded by all this talent.

  7. Joy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about life in Northern BC. You know how much I miss seeing eagles. They are here in PA, but much rarer than where you live. And loons… Wonderful. And venison… Hee.

  8. Thanks, Vicki. Answering Mary’s questions reminded me of how lucky I am. And this season is a great time to feel that way.

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