Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Julie Bozza for taking the time to talk with us today about their retro title from Manifold Press, The Butterfly Hunter. Prism recently reviewed The Butterfly Hunter. You can find the review here.
1. We are here today to talk about Butterfly Hunter. What can you tell us about it?
The first book was a gift from the Muse. Someone on Goodreads made an off-the-cuff remark about me writing something about men chasing butterflies … It was meant as a ridiculously unlikely example of subject matter, but my inner teenager got contrary, and started imagining how that would be … Once I’d got the setting and the two main characters worked out, it all just unfolded from there!
It was the first time I’d written a ‘proper’ romance. Given that the two men were from different countries, I had to think out the logistics of their future together, so that I could write that happy ending and know that it was possible. I had to believe in it myself, not just emotionally but intellectually. Those ponderings became the second and third books in the trilogy.
2. Tell us more about each of the boys in the Butterfly Hunter series?
Dave Taylor appears to be a confident and together young man, but he is lonely. He’s an Aussie tour guide – with a great respect for the hazards of the Outback, which means he is always prepared. But as a wise reviewer once said, he’s a guide who is lost emotionally. His long-time girlfriend (and best friend) ended up marrying someone else about a year ago, and Dave is unable to move on. Dave is a guide in need of a guide.
Enter Nicholas Goring, an Englishman – the youngest son of an Earl – who has hired Dave to help him track down an undiscovered species of butterfly. Nicholas is openly and comfortably gay, and fancies Dave from the start. While they seem like opposites, there is of course a foundation of similarities between them. They bond over their similar experiences of first love, and soon become real friends.
3. What about the Butterfly Hunter series makes you the most proud?
I am proud of the way that Dave and Nicholas work together as a couple. They are mature young men who care deeply about each other, and treat each other as friends, lovers, partners, husbands … Each is able to be his own best self, and yet they’d each do almost anything for the other. (Dave has to occasionally draw the line when it comes to Nicholas’s wackier ideas.) I’m proud of creating the relationship and then evolving it over a series of three books spanning about eight years.
4. If you could change one thing in each title in the Butterfly Hunter series what would it be and why?
That’s really hard to answer! I know some readers have had quibbles with various aspects of all three, but even with hindsight the stories are all pretty much exactly what I’d hoped for. I guess there is one thing that bugs me a little, and that is the plot in Cornwall in the second half of The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring: I’d anticipated that growing into something more complex, but it just wasn’t to be. I’ve learned, as a writer, not to force things if they don’t want to be forced.
5. Can you talk a little about the inspiration for this series?
I already mentioned that it all started with a remark about two men chasing butterflies … With a subject of butterflies, I decided on a setting of Australia. I am both English and Australian, but at that time hadn’t yet written a novel set in Australia. This was my chance! I decided it would be set in the Outback, drawing on my memories of a long camping trip I took with my family when I was a kid. I liked the idea of a bit of a culture clash between an Aussie guy and an Englishman, drawing on both of my native affiliations. That grew into an Aussie bush guide, and an English naturalist who wants to track down the rare species of butterfly he’s decided must exist, based on a number of odd clues … So it became a quest as well as a romance. And then I felt that, given the mystery of these butterflies which might or might not actually exist, it would be wonderful to explore the edges of the Indigenous Australian Dreaming and how it interacts with our modern-day world … And so we began!
6. Will we be hearing more from these boys in the future?
I always say ‘Never say never!’ but I think in this case it’s unlikely. The three books contain their story, and that’s about all I have to tell. One can never quite anticipate the Muse’s dictates, but I suspect if anything eventuates it will be no more than a short story or two.
7. Do butterflies have some significance for you and, if so, how did that morph into this lovely story of Dave and Nicholas’s own transformation?
I have to admit that butterflies hadn’t held much significance for me before all this. I was aware that they are very beautiful, and fragile, and have short life-spans. The rest, I had to research! It was fascinating, though, and they do carry a great deal of significance for me now. As readers of the first book will be aware, they are significant in two ways for Nicholas – and as you say, Dave also transforms during the books, emerging from his lonely chrysalis to become his own best, loving self.
8. Australia is a place on many people’s travel wishlist. Share some of your “secret” loves about it, the people, the landscapes and wildlife, so we can fall in love, too.
I do love it, and there’s no secret about that! LOL! I love the people, who (at their best) are cheerful and laidback, and concerned about a ‘fair go’ for all. I love the variety and vividness of the landscapes, and the sheer age of the country. Geologically it’s an old place and somehow one gets a sense of that. There are places, especially in the Outback, where you feel little has changed for tens of thousands of years. Despite this feeling of the textures being old and worn, the colours are so rich and vivid … just beautiful.
My favourite places are along the northern NSW coast – and especially Byron Bay, on the easterly tip of land. That’s God’s own country. Pete Murray lives there.
9. Tell us about some of your other titles.
For those of you who love romance, perhaps you will enjoy two of my novels with English settings.
The Apothecary’s Garden is set in Wiltshire, in an old tower on the Thames surrounded by an overgrown garden. Hilary is a man grown old before his time, settling into a quiet retirement in the country – but then grad student Tom bursts into his life, and transforms his garden – and Hilary finds himself falling in love.
A Threefold Cord is set in London, and features three young actors. Grae is attracted to both his colleagues while filming a miniseries, but it’s Ben he develops a relationship with. Still, the idea of Chris never quite goes away, and Grae and Ben find themselves gradually working towards becoming the foundation of a threesome.
Neither of these titles is a ‘traditional’ romance in the sense that Butterfly Hunter is, but they are certainly about love and relationships, and the power of love to make anything possible.
10. Rapid Fire Time
- Call or text? Text.
- First pet and name? A black cat we adopted who I named Aslan.
- Landlubber or Sea Dog? A landlubber who yearns to be a sea dog.
- Hot air balloon or blimp? Hot air balloon … to look at with my two feet on the ground, anyway.
- Christmas or Halloween? Neither.
- Larry or Sterek? (I don’t even know who Larry is/are.) Neither, I’m afraid.
- Beachfront or mountaintop? Both, please.
- Country or City? The city for living, and the country for visiting.
- Chocolate or Vanilla? Both.
- Cry or Scream? Um, cry … ?
11. What are you working on? What is next?
I am just about to start work on a sequel to The Apothecary’s Garden. Hilary and Tom have such an unusual relationship, which will meet many challenges from those around them – and I adore both characters. I haven’t been able to quite let them go!
Title: The Butterfly Hunter
Author: Julie Bozza
Publisher: Manifold Press
Cover Artist: Instinia Photography, Dreamstime.com
Publication Date: 12/25/2013
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…
About the Author:
Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with John Keats.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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