Ohio woman to set novels in Eagle River
Literary-minded Eagle River residents will recognize a piece of home in a spooky new series planned by indie Ohio author Bryna Butler, who chose Eagle River as the setting for her upcoming werewolf trilogy.
“The extraordinary natural beauty and openness will no doubt be compelling to readers,” she said via email. “I think anyone who lives in a small town will relate to Eagle River.”
Butler is a banker by day, writer by night. She deals with corporate communications at Ohio Valley Bank, and her degree is in mass communications. She’s been writing for the past sixteen years, creating non-fiction pieces and articles. In 2008, she decided to try her hand at fiction writing and said she’s loved it ever since.
Her new trilogy is still in the research and character development stage, but there are a few things she knows for sure. For one, the female protagonist of the story will be a resident of Eagle River. For another, the werewolves featured in this young adult series will have characteristics similar to the town’s nearby wolves. Butler stumbled across the fact that there is an abundance of wolves present in the area and, “taking the artistic leap from wolves to werewolves, Alaska became the perfect setting,” she said. The fact that Eagle River is close to a large state park comes in handy, too.
There’s more to Alaska than just the wolf population though. Eagle River holds a place in Butler’s imagination, she said, because even though she’s never visited the town, the area’s small-town feel reminds her of her home in Ohio.
“I was very drawn to [Eagle River],” Butler said. “Everyone writes about New York City, Dallas, L.A., I love setting my stories in lesser-known gems across America.”
For the past few months Butler has been doing research on Eagle River, looking at pictures, talking to residents, reading the local news — anything to make her setting believable.
“I plan to use local trials and public areas. Other sites, like schools, stores, or restaurants, will be fictional,” she said. “Eagle River will be shown in a positive light. I hope to capture the community pride.”
Yet research is only a part of the puzzle when it comes to creating a book, she said. Writing and publishing are integral pieces as well. The first novel, with the working title Werewolf Biology, will take about four months to write and edit, she said. As for publishing, Butler does that herself.
“I write, not to become rich and famous, but because I enjoy writing and people seem to enjoy reading my work,” she said.
She already has a tie in with the self-publishing route, as this trilogy is not the only work she has out. She said her previous young adult series, Midnight Guardian, currently sits on the shelves at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords, among others. She hopes her werewolf trilogy will settle down next to it — and, hopefully, in the hands of plenty of Eagle River residents.
“I also plan to donate some copies to the Chugiak-Eagle River Branch Library,” Butler wrote.
In order to capture a setting, place the characters in it and have readers be there as well, authors often travel to somewhere similar to their setting. Butler said she might travel to Alaska to research and visit the area she plans to fictionalize.
“I am looking into a possible research trip in September,” she said.
When asked what her favorite part of Eagle River was so far, a slew of examples came in reply, ranging from the Eagle River Relay for Life to the Bear Paw Festival to the Chugach State Park’s Dew Mound Trail.
“It seems like I’m learning something new about the community every week,” she said. “So I’m sure there will be many more.”
Kellie Doherty is a freelance writer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org