Every time we release a book, we’ll post an interview with its author during the month before the book is published. Our next novel, Painter of the Dead, comes out on October 6th. Painter is a paranormal romance/adventure story perfect for fans of Egyptian mythology, and we are interviewing Catherine Butzen: lover of cats, museums, and fairy tales.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
That’s difficult to say. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t inventing stories . . . usually deeply embarrassing ones starring idealized versions of myself. I think everyone has that phase.
I went through a health crisis in my teens, and that meant I had to change a lot of my plans for the future. Writing was a valuable outlet, because it was one skill I hadn’t lost. That was when I started thinking about not just telling stories, but sharing them with other people.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book?
A friend of mine first suggested the idea of a mummy trapped in a museum. I was originally thinking of making it a short story, but it grew out of control. My interest in ancient Egypt, museums, and weird historical trivia did the rest.
Who is your biggest writing inspiration?
I have to pick just one? Oh, jeez.
That honor probably goes to the English folk group Steeleye Span. My mother had a collection of their vinyls from the '60s and '70s, and I still listen to them today. Their combination of modern instruments and old, old stories (they’ve recorded many of the Child Ballads, for a start) has always been something that spoke to me.
Tell us one weird, interesting tidbit about yourself.
I consider Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit to be contact sports.
How long have you been writing this book?
It began in late 2013 or early 2014. It was originally published as The God Collector in 2015, but there’s always been more I wanted to do with it, and I think it needed a few more years to mature. I’m really happy with Painter of the Dead and am looking forward to doing more with these characters!
Which character do you identify the most with in your book?
Probably Dr. Van Allen, the Egyptology curator. Like me, he’s stiff, formal, apt to get hung up on trivia, and yet loyal under the pressure of rampaging clay golems. (The last is conjectural. As far as I’m willing to admit.)