Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |June 4, 2014

 The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jim Butcher

author of Dresden Files Series

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born, raised and schooled in Independence, Missouri, USA.  My dad worked in a steel mill and my mom sold real estate, and I went to public school.  After winning a National Merit Scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, I went down there for my college education, which is where I (eventually) learned about the craft of storytelling.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12, a singer, because I liked music.  Around 18 I thought I’d go into computer programming because that was where the video games lived, but by the time I was 19 I had realized how tedious that kind of job would be for me.  From there on, I wanted to be a writer, and that’s all I wanted to be.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I can’t think of any.  Time is what tells you whether a belief is strongly held or not.  If your beliefs go changing all willy nilly, they weren’t strongly held in the first place.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Star Wars; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, & The Lord of the Rings

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

My parents disapproved of the idea of me going into acting, I didn’t have the pipes to be a truly good vocalist, and I can’t draw a stick figure without needing to erase and start over.  My poetry is hideous to a nigh-Vogon degree.  That pretty much left writing.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

It’s a slang phrase that means a con or hustle.

After successfully completing his first mission for Queen Mab, Harry Dresden gets handed another job.  This time, he is tasked to assist Nicodemus Archleone and a crew of bad characters in a smash-and-grab job on a bank vault–a vault belonging to Hades, Lord of the Underworld.  Dresden knows that Nicodemus is going to turn on him at some point, and his life suddenly becomes all about discovering who can manage the superior level of treachery.

Grab a copy of Skin Game here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A desire to read more of it

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

There are a lot of ways to answer this question, but I’m going to go with Lois McMaster Bujold.  I think Lois is one of the most skilled storytellers alive right now.  Her work blends character, plot, and story world into a seamless whole, and does it so naturally and smoothly that you can’t see it happening. Professionally speaking, I want to have her babies.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

For a long time, my goal was to have so many books on the shelf at my local chain bookstore that I could hold up a yardstick to the shelf and have my titles spill off either end.  But I aimed too low and got to that goal in 2009 or so.  Honestly, I’m not really sure where to go from here–which is the luckiest and most amazing problem any writer could ask for.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write every day.  Read every day.  Concentrate on learning the craft of telling a story.  It doesn’t matter what kind of soul your work has, or what kind of voice it possesses if you can’t get readers to keep turning those pages.

I wrote a series of primer articles for aspiring writers who want to start learning the basics of story craft.  You can find them at jimbutcher.livejournal.com.

Jim, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Skin Game here

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