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Mythical Explorations: An Interview with Dominic Butler, author of The Land of the Eagle

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Dominic Butler is a qualified journalist, photographer, and illustrator living in Manchester, England. He also works as a manager for an online educational program.

Dom discovered the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur in school and this inspired a lifelong love of fantastical tales. He has been writing stories ever since.

The Land of the Eagle is Dom’s first book exploring world mythology.

You can buy The Land of the Eagle here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was something that became clear as the book came together. Eagles are a recurring motif, not least on the Albanian flag itself. Many of the stories feature eagles, and one legend tells the tale of the origin of the name Albania, translated as “Land of the Eagle.”

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Unreal. I shared the cover image with basically everyone in my phone! Getting the proof copy was an incredible feeling of achievement but it was when I received the hardback version that it started sinking in that I’d reached that childhood dream.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Honestly, I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. As a kid I’d watch a film or TV show and immediately start scrawling down whatever I thought happened next.

From a young age, my grandma used to read the Narnia books to me. I remember loving Roald Dahl and The Hobbit, but I think it was reading KA Applegate’s Animorphs series when I was a bit older that really cemented the idea of being an author in my head.

In terms of the illustrations, it was comic book artists like Jack Kirby, John Romita, and Jim Lee that made me want to pursue art.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I currently help people build businesses online and mentor them through that journey. I’ve bounced around a few jobs in the past—photographer, warehouse, night shifts—but my passion has always been for the more creative side of things.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

My uncle mentioned something the other weekend; that my book would now always be out there, in one form or another, ad infinitum. That’s a hugely humbling thought. That someone might find a dusty copy of something I’ve written, years in the future, and maybe enjoy it.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The Eagles, I guess? Haha no, it would have to be traditional Albanian music and instruments, as the stories were originally told through song for generations. Although I’m also imagining some more cinematic instrumental fare, heavy on the brass section!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader would be someone, like myself, who is curious about different mythologies but maybe hasn’t come across anything beyond the more mainstream Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse legends. For the more general audience, I just hope it cultivates a bit of interest in other countries and their stories.

The fact that we all came up with these similar ideas (of gods, heroes, creatures, adventures) completely independently across the globe is fascinating to me.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

My research for Land of the Eagle drew up some interesting threads, so I’m currently working on my next book exploring Illyrian mythology, essentially where Albanian, Greek, and other European myths stemmed from.

I’m also a huge Christmas geek, so at the same time I’m working on a book covering the various different yuletide legends around the world.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed working with and getting to know the different experts throughout the process. I think the collaborative element of Atmosphere Press is very important, especially for new writers who can be very precious with putting their work out there.

You can buy The Land of the Eagle here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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