Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Welcome: William Butler to this online interview with author, book reviewer, educator and talk show host Fran Lewis. 

William was born in Morehead City, NC. He moved around a lot as a
child living in various places such as NY, GA, FL, VA, until his
family settled back in NC, where he lives now. He runs the blog Bang
Noir and writes articles for His debut novel, Bang, a noir crime suspense novel, was published in December 2010. His second novel The House of Balestrom, a Gothic suspense drama, was released on August 2011. He is currently working on his third novel and the sequel to Bang. William Butler's inspirations are authors such as Chuck Palahniuk, Anne Rice, J. T. Leroy, Jacqueline Susann, Anias Nin and Tennessee Williams. He tends to write about characters who are not entirely friendly. It's not all rainbows and butterflies for his novels or short stories. But Noir is a part of what he writes. It was quoted that "William Butler is an expert in the creation of self-destructive characters whose actions take them to disastrous ends." -C.C.Cole (Gastar Series, Author).

Fran Lewis interview questions for The House of Balestrom

1. How did you create Balestrom House?

I had wanted to write a gothic tale about a family. The house was going to have to be huge and almost other worldly. The house had to be a character as well.   I looked at other huge houses as inspiration. Like Biltmore Estates and Hearst Castle. I took that and threw it on a private island that would be owned by the family. I actually saw a vision of the house one day driving to work. It was one of the first imaginings of the story before I even started writing it.

2. How did you come up with this family?

The Balestrom family came about one day as being part of the house. I knew I wanted to write a story about a rich and powerful family and I created one, but that family turned out to be different. Not the family I wanted as the Balestroms, so I went back to the drawing board and boom they started developing and I created Victor, Camille, Ruth, Cyrus, Alexander, Aunt Birdie, and Elizabeth. Though there were more, but I didn't want to bog down the story with all of them. That's what the next few books are for.

3. Why did you create a family filled with such hate and deceit?

Oh, I love writing stories with characters that don't seem very stable. But they each embody a human characteristic that we can relate to. The Balestroms have power and money. They can do whatever they like--in their world. I wanted them to be self-destructive and manipulative, but hold themselves higher than everyone else.

4. When creating Camille did you model her after anyone else?

I didn't have a particular person in mind when I created Camille. I knew I wanted a strong woman who uses her mind and words to manipulate others. She's not above blackmailing someone to get what she wants. But I also wanted her to come off as someone trying to reveal the evils of the other characters.

5. Why was Sara so defensive of Susan? Why so loyal?

Sara and Susan are sisters. Sara goes by the code Blood is thicker than water. She was there for Susan all the way to the end. She loves her and looks up to her in a way. Sara is like a mother to Susan in the story as well.

6. What was Susan really like deep down?

Secretive. Susan builds up walls and lies to cover her tracks. But she holds vulnerability about what she does. She doesn't necessarily want to lie to anyone--especially to Sara, but she can't help it. Once she has moved into that direction she can't seem to stop.
But overall she has a darker side to her that finally comes out in the end.

7. Who was Victor and how did they claim he was killed?

Victor is the eldest son of Ruth and Cyrus Balestrom. He is manipulative, ambitious, and can be cruel in his actions.
One night during a party Victor and Susan got into an argument. The next thing Susan knows is that she is waking up with a police officer standing over her. Victor was missing and blood was found on the side of the boat. Three days later Victor's body is recovered but by the time the family got to the coroner's office there was Susan hovering over a box full of Victor's ashes. They claim she had him cremated to cover up her crimes.

8. What power did Ruth have over her family?

Ruth rules the family with an iron hand. She doesn't let anything slide past her. She also rules or handles the other families across the world. She is called on when something goes wrong.
She never lost control of the family but her decisions are the most shocking.

9. What was the curse of this house?

The Balestrom family has a curse on them. Whether it is from the house or from the island itself. Or could it just be the family causing their own curse through centuries of self-destructive behavior. It could be a little bit of both.

10. Why wasn’t it easy for Sara or anyone else to trust the other characters?

Too many lies circled and it didn't help that Camille played to meanest games with them. She pulled all the strings. And right when you felt like everything has calmed down she hits you again.
That kind of relentless upset would cause a lot of miss trust among people.

11. What happens when Sara learns something about David her own husband? Why did you create that twist?

Ah man that was good wasn't it. Sara had to face a personal attack eventually. Her life was built up around David. It was only a matter of time before the events at the house pulled them deeper in.
I created that twist because it was a part of Sara's trust with David and the other characters involved. Where did David's loyalties really lie? I thought it brought a new dynamic to the story.

12. Who are the major players to watch out for in this novel?

Camille, Susan, Sara, and Ruth. All of them play a major part in the entire story but the players are those four.

13. What is the back-story about Cyrus Balestrom?

The Cyrus Balestrom that is Victor's father had a shady past. He was married to a beautiful woman named Anna Vera Blake. Some characters called her Anna and others Vera. It depends on who is talking about her. Anna was the nanny to Cyrus and Ruth's children. Then one day Vera had become pregnant with twins Elizabeth and Robert. Well Cyrus's mental state began to go and due to some unknown reasons he began attacking Ruth and Vera. Ruth sent Vera away with the children so she could confront Cyrus.
Vera never left. She sent the children away and returned to the house to help Ruth. Both women escaped Cyrus's wrath but only ended up in an accident when Cyrus ran his car into theirs. Cyrus and Anna died while Ruth ended up in a wheel chair.

14.Why didn’t Sara leave Susan to her own fate? Why did she stay until the very end?

It's almost like asking a mother to leave her child. If they call for you no matter what they had done you will go to them and take care of them. That's Sara. She's the mother embodiment of the story. The ultimate caregiver.
So sticking around is her job almost. Plus it doesn't help when she has someone scheming to keep her rooted at the house.

15.  Who was Gerard and what happens to him?

Gerard is the butler who works for the Balestroms. He's been serving them for some years now. He dies one night after asking Sara to help him keep his sanity.
He is found dead hanging from the rafters in the horse stable. But was it murder or suicide?

16. Just how diabolical is this family and where do you see some of the characters next?

The family is extremely manipulative and dangerous. They come off cold and regal. And at times they seem down to earth and calm but that could be a facade.
Next is to return to the house of Balestrom and continue Sara's new involvement with the family. Some new characters and dangerous twists. There is something addictive about the family that pulls you in.

17.  How does one simple ferry ride change the lives of two people?

Oy! A trip to hell and back. Haha. It's a part of writing that's always fun. A short unsuspecting visit to a home but ultimately it ends up changing you. That ferry ride is like Carrion carrying you across the bay of souls into Hades.
It was a new place for Sara and David. They were out of place. So they had no idea it was going to change them. But you think they would have realized when the ferry pulled off that they were trapped on the island.  

18. When does Sara get her rude awakening? What does she do?

I think it happens after she finds out what David, her husband has done. That type of betrayal will wake anyone up. She tries to leave, but that doesn't seem to work so she works on forgiving him.

19. Sisters forever: Why?

Sisterhood is important in any friendship or sibling relationship when it comes for two women. There are two sisters in The House of Balestrom. Sara and Susan and Camille and Elizabeth.
Sara and Susan are true sisters. They forgive each other and trust each other--well Sara trusts Susan a little too much. But they love each other and respect each other.
Where Camille and Elizabeth are the complete opposite. Camille manipulates and uses Elizabeth and Elizabeth takes it. It's an unhealthy relationship.

20. How long did it take for you to publish this great novel? Why the sci-fi Para normal aspect?

I wrote The House of Balestrom in 3 months. The research for it took about 2 months. I took 2 and half months to edit it and then boom it came out.
I'm glad you asked that about the paranormal aspects of the book. I wanted to write it like a ghost story. Tragic characters and curses, but I wanted to make it grounded in reality. There are no ghosts or curses. Just humans making mistakes and wild imaginations. I think I pulled it off with this book.

21.   What is your next project? Does it include a sequel?

I actually have two new projects I'm working on. Time of The Season, which is a noir thriller in the style of James M. Cain (Double Indemnity). It's a little bit more darker and rough. I describe it as a bad relationship. There will not be a sequel to this book. And my second project is the sequel to Bang. Which if you haven't read it there is a lot happening in that book.

22.  What obstacles did you face when writing this book?

Oy! This is a clean novel compared to my first book Bang. I say clean because there is no sex or cussing in the book. Everything is basically implied to an extent. I also tried not to go into a deep violent description of the action. That was my challenge. I held it all out. I did this because that wasn't what House of Balestrom was about. But it was still a twisted book just told differently.

23.  How important are reviews?

As for a new author with only two books under my belt and a third one on the way I say reviews are important. Readers sometimes respond to reviews and not just from the description of the novel. But reviews bad or good are hard to go by. It's someone's opinion about something. Someone is going to hate it and tare it a part while someone else will love it and push it onto their friends. Lol

24. Why do you think your novel deserves five stars?

I think my novel deserves whatever the reader sees it's worth. I'm not going to deny that I want 5 stars for what I write but everyone gets something different from a book or movie.

25. Where can everyone get your book and your websites?

My books are sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on all digital ereaders.

Bang Noir is my blog and that address is

Twitter: Will34us

Thank you so much for this!
William Butler

Bang by William Butler
Available in digital and paperback on
Look for his new book The House of Balestrom.

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