Interview with mystery author Joylene Nowell Butler

I have mystery author Joylene Nowell Butler back for a new
interview and to help me kick off a new month. She has a thriller/psychological
mystery that releases today titled, Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries.
Joylene is the author of two suspense thrillers, Dead Witness and Broken But
Not Dead,
and a steampunk collaboration, Break Time. She lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles
and Shasta on Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia in the log/stick house
they designed and built. In her spare time Joylene teaches T’chi, goes paddling
on the lake, and picks wild berries for her smoothie concoctions. She and
her husband spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit.
Welcome back, Joylene. Please tell us about your current
A murder enveloped in
pain and mystery…
When Canada’s retired Minister of
National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to
Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally
Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder
eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a
friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to
trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult
choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or
find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the
scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…
What inspired you to write this book?
When the prequel to Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries was released, I thought
that was the end to the characters. But Sally Warner wouldn’t leave me alone.
She had a story to tell, which I tried to ignore. She hounded me for over four
months, until one day I thought, what the
, let’s see what she has to say. Apparently, she had a lot to say. By
the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. It was a challenge writing the
story of a woman losing her grip on reality, and I remember being excited and
nervous about where she would lead me.

Excerpt from Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries:
After the meeting with the deacons’ wives
had ended, I finally took the sedative my doctor gave. I’m only now waking up.
There is a strange hush, and it envelops me. Light drifts like butterflies
across the semidarkness in front of my eyes. My blouse is stuck to my skin. I
sit up, reach around, and struggle to untangle it. A moment passes before I
remember where I am and why I’m here. Leland is dead. On a slab at the morgue.
Alone. In the dark. Cold.
I shiver.
Should I be there?
And do what? Hold his hand?
My first pregnancy, I carried the baby five
months. I lost her in the middle of a hot July night, and I woke screaming—the
pain, excruciating, as if someone had reached a hand through my back and ripped
her out of me. Leland carried me to the car. He cried with me later when the
doctor tried to explain why. A beautifully formed, perfect baby girl. Dead. No
“No one’s fault,” our doctor said.
“These things happen.”
I looked up through my tears. Leland stood
over me. I thought he hated me. “Our sweet baby girl. It’s not my fault,
Leland. It isn’t.”
“Of course not—I know that.”
Did he? I’m trying to remember what he
looked like, what his eyes said.
I was beautiful when we met. He wooed me
despite me making it clear that he wasn’t my type. I planned to marry a doctor.
I didn’t say it outright, at least not to Leland; but my girlfriends knew. We
were all looking for husbands among the medical students. A lawyer? No thanks.
He kept wooing me. And why not? I was young
and full of life. Charming. And funny. Can’t tell you how many times friends
told me I should do stand-up comedy. Like Carol Burnett, only much prettier.
Their assumptions were sweet, although being
prettier than Carol Burnett wouldn’t take much. It doesn’t matter, though,
audiences terrify me. I discovered that when I tried out for the part of Maria
in the West Side Story, and I clammed up on stage. Which was a shame because I
was small, but I had range and volume. I surprised them at the University
Leland promised me an exciting life. He knew
he would be an important man one day. Maybe even Prime Minister. How could I
resist such temptation?
He changed after we lost our baby girl. He
was gentle, kind, and thoughtful during the difficult weeks that followed, but
slowly the kindness ended. He turned distant. He stopped talking to me. Over
time, I might have pushed him away with my nattering. Every chance I had I told
him I wasn’t to blame. Goodness, as if he would know whether it was my fault or
not. Leland was no doctor.
He never accused me. Even when I lost three
pregnancies after Bronson, he never accused me of being faulty or broken, or
any of the other reasons I invented on my own. When Bronson and Declan died so
violently, he never once insinuated or implied I was to blame for their deaths,
either. Before they died, yes, he reminded me that my pathetic life was my own
doing. After they died, he started talking again. He liked me again. Ohmigosh.
This past year was the happiest time of my life. I’m just realizing that now.
Is it any wonder I’m confused?
What exciting story are you working on next?
a suspense novel set in Vancouver, BC and London, UK. Jason Sinclair witnesses
his wife, Brigitte, being run down by a vehicle late one night in Gastown, a
few weeks after she had returned from a business trip to England. He soon
discovered that she had sent flowers to a British client because she believed
her sister had run over his dog. Jason can’t rest until he finds out if there’s
a connection. He hires P.I. Michael Canaday (Dead Witness), and they fly to the UK to investigate whether
something happened while Brigitte was there. Jason has no idea what he’s up
against. These aren’t ordinary killers; they know enough to take Canaday out of
commission first.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my second novel was
accepted by a publisher. I self-published Dead
on at a time when that was still looked upon as pathetic and distasteful.
Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I work full-time at
writing and blogging. I’m an administrative for IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support
Group). Besides working on my manuscripts, I write articles for the IWSG
newsletter, help with the website, and assist with writing contests that
involved publishing the winning short stories each year. I’m also an active
member of a Canadian writers group. I try to take weekends off, but so far that
hasn’t worked. When I’m not writing, I teach T’chi, go for 5 km bike ride every
morning, walk on the beach, cook, garden, and watch my favourite show when it
airs: Masters of Flip. Twice a month,
my husband and I have a date for a movie at the theatre an hour from our home.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write at a desk in our
dining room in front of a large window facing south, which looks over Cluculz
Lake. There are two stacks of filing tubs beside me. On the top is a small
basket where my old cat Marbles sleeps while I’m working. Every once in a
while, he’ll stretch out a paw and taps me on the arm, a hint he needs pats. I’m
left typing one-handed while his purrs sound like a sewing machine until he falls
back to sleep. What’s amazing is I write my best stuff during those moments.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actor. I
thought it would be fun to pretend to be a cowboy with a six-shooter, or a
British detective working from Scotland Yard, or a spy, or a FBI agent, a
pathologist, a fighter pilot—I was a tom-girl from the get-go. Acting wasn’t in
my cards, but that’s okay. As a writer, I’m a god; I get to invent the
characters and the story.
Anything additional you want to share with the
Thanks so much for having
me as your guest today, Lisa. As an advocate for authors, you have made a huge
difference in our biosphere. Thank you for all you do.
To pay it forward, if any
of your readers are struggling writers who need help with writing related
issues, please tell them to check out our resources at IWSG.
They can also email me with questions at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca.

Thanks, Joylene!

3 thoughts on “Interview with mystery author Joylene Nowell Butler

  1. Mason Canyon says:

    Lisa, great interview with Joylene. It's always fun to learn more about an author's background and how they go about writing.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

  2. Joylene Nowell Butler says:

    Thanks so much for featuring me and my book today, Lisa. It seems like just yesterday that we were talking about my first novel. Eight years flew by.

  3. J.Q. Rose says:

    Hi Lisa. Congratulations on your new release, Joylene! I just downloaded it to my Kindle. I really enjoyed learning more about you–pretty romantic to keep movie dates with your hubby every month. Best wishes!

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