Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Ed Butts

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Ten Questions with Ed Butts

Ed Butts is a writer and editor with a special interest in Canadian history. He lived for several years in the Dominican Republic, where he taught English and social studies and wrote regularly for local magazines. His latest book is X Doesn't Mark the Spot (Tundra Books).

OBT:

Tell us about your latest book, X Doesn’t Mark the Spot.

EB:

X Doesn’t Mark the Spot is a collection of stories, both factual and fanciful, about Canadian treasure. It includes tales of pirate treasure, outlaw loot, shipwrecks and lost gold mines. Some of the tales involve the supernatural. The stories come from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and the West.

OBT:

How did you research your book?

EB:

Because of earlier work I had done on Canadian pirates and outlaws, I was already familiar with some of the stories. I researched archival material and books that have long been out of print for some of the other treasure tales.

OBT:

X Doesn’t Mark the Spot is a collection of tales about people who searched for treasure. What sparked your interest in this subject?

EB:

I have always been interested in history and folklore. Most people like stories that involve mystery and treasure. Even if the treasure remains undiscovered, readers will be interested in the story behind it.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

EB:

My ideal writing environment is a quiet room with a desk, a pen and a pile of lined paper. I write most of my first drafts in longhand. Then I do an edit when I type it into the computer. I always keep a dictionary and a thesaurus on my desk.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

EB:

When I was seventeen I had a short story published in a magazine. In 1984 I was co-author, with the late Harold Horwood, of Pirates & Outlaws of Canada. In 1998 Colombo & Co. published my short novel Buffalo: A Fable of the West.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

EB:

I am reading Simon Girty: Turncoat Hero by Phillip W. Hoffman. It is a biography about a frontiersman who is seen as an arch-villain by Americans, but is a Loyalist hero to Canadians.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

EB:

The first would be my new book True Canadian Explorers because it gives readers a good account of the exploration of Canada. I would also suggest John Robert Colombo’s book of Canadian jokes, because it shows that we have a sense of humour, and a good Canadian atlas so the person could get an idea of the expanse and geography of Canada.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

EB:

Three words: revise, revise, revise.

OBT:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

EB:

When I was teaching school in the Dominican Republic, I wrote articles for two local multi-lingual tourist magazines. I learned that one funny article I wrote about driving in that country was a big hit, and people were sending it to friends and relatives all over the world. I had an email from a woman in Lebanon who said she just had to tell me how much the article made her laugh.

OBT:

What is your next project?

EB:

I would like to go to work on a book for juveniles about pirates, Great Lakes shipwrecks or Great Lakes monsters.




Read mores about X Doesn't Mark the Spot by Ed Butts at the Tundra Books website.

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