Interview with Eric Butler

Author of The Shadow Within

I love horror, science fiction, action-adventure, mysteries, and historical fiction. My first novel, The Shadow Within is a horror based romance. You can find more of my work at where I will soon have a Victorian supernatural mystery serial.

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How would you describe The Shadow Within to a new reader?
  • It's a horror novel that focuses on the characters and their relationships with each other. The premise is Jill's boyfriend takes her and his two teenage kids to a country home for an extended vacation so they can all get to know one another. There are limited interactions with the locals as it is a small spread-out community so they should have plenty of together time. At the same time, a man returns home that is chosen to release a trapped entity of pure evil, an entity that feeds of terror, pain, and violence. It needs to build strength to truly escape the land it is trapped on.
What was the inspiration behind The Shadow Within ?
  • I'm not sure where the story came from. I can tell you I love the characters. I enjoyed writing their arcs and seeing where they ended up. I am a fan of horror and everything I write seems to have a horror twist, so it was natural to introduce that element to the story. This particular novel is a mashup of multiple ideas and years of editing.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • I'm a huge fan of Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series. I enjoy C.S. Harris, Patricia Briggs, and Nelson Demille. My favorite horror writer is Richard Laymon. I also enjoy Brian Keene and Robert E Howard. I think these writers do a good job building their characters, bringing them to life; in that way each one has influenced my writing.
How would you advise a new author about traditional publishing versus self publishing?
  • This is up to the writer. Both ways have challenges and I would suggest really investigating all that you need to do to self publish correctly. Anyone can throw some words together and get a cover but to produce a book you can be proud of takes time and effort. Make sure if you go the self-publishing route, you take the time necessary to put out a book that looks as good or better than something a traditional publisher would provide.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • My first bit of advice is to keep writing. Work at your craft. The second would be to make sure you edit your writing properly. Do everything you can to make it the best it can be.
What's your writing process?
  • I like to jot down a little outline, very loose and informal. Then I start writing. After I get around 10000 words I will slip over to editing and tightening the story. As I do this I will tighten up the outline, showing where I've been and deciding where I need to go with a little more structure. After I have that group edited where I want it, I write the next 10000 words and start the process again. By the end of the novel, I will check the outline and notes and make the final necessary changes before moving on to setup for cover art and printing.
Which character in The SHadow Within has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • I think most readers identify with Jill. Her situation in the toughest throughout as she is the outsider trying to win over her boyfriend's family and neighbors. As the story continues she has to take on a more hands-on role within the group and is presented with tough choices throughout the book.
If The Shadow Within were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
  • I think I would want an unknown for the role of Jill. The actresses I see when I think of Jill are Sophia Bush, Lyndsy Fonseca, or Katrina Law. Although they are a little bit older than the character in the novel. As for the man who releases the horror, I'd love to see Joe Cole from Peaky Blinders. I think he'd be amazing.
How have readers responded to The Shadow Within?
  • The response has been great. The readers enjoy reading about these characters as much as I enjoyed writing them. I've gotten tons of positive feedback about the characters and their relationships and the twists and turns the story takes. Fans of horror have enjoyed it and maybe more rewarding are the people who avoid horror but have given the book a chance. They really have enjoyed it as well.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I am in the middle of another stand-alone horror novel. I'm also working on a serial that will debut on my website, in January, It will be more of a gothic horror victorian mashup, as I try and visit all the types of story telling I enjoy.
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A relentless evil possessing an already depraved man... gruesome and perverse acts of brutality... Will anyone survive?

Centuries ago the natives captured and imprisoned a life force of pure evil and unending hunger. Thirteen years ago an eight-year-old boy woke the darkness. It grows in strength every day and now the boy is a man. A man skilled in terror and violence, the very things the darkness needs to finally break free.

Jill, a city girl at heart, was surprised when the car came to a stop. Jack wasn't kidding when he said they were going to the boonies. A family vacation, her with Jack and his teenage kids, was not her idea of fun but Jill was ready to take the next step. She wondered if this trip was Jack’s way to say he was ready as well.

As the man stalks through the countryside, unleashing panic and dread, will Jill be able to escape with Jack and his children? Or will the man soak the ground in blood and release…THE SHADOW WITH