Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award, Remy! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way. Now, before we carry on, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, just in case they don’t know you already …
I am Remy K. Salters. My debut novel Butterfly Ranch was published at the beginning of this year. In July it won the fiction category at the 2018 International Rubery Book Award, as well as a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award. For me, that is the best of both worlds – being appreciated both by a formal jury and by readers.
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
Butterfly Ranch started off as loosely autobiographical – not as far as the plot events go, but rather the main characters’ psychology. I set off to write a book about the doomed love between the two main characters, Tristan and Hedda. But then I travelled to Belize, decided to set the novel there, and additional characters popped up due to the setting. One of those was a Kriol police constable, Altamont Stanbury. He hijacked the plot a bit and the novel took a life of its own, becoming a sort of literary mystery, a cross between a psychological mystery and literary fiction. From then on, the book inspired itself! This actually has been my greatest discovery – that you can’t simply have an inspiration and then plan a book, because the book writes itself. You have to respect where it goes, and be the best author you can to what the book is becoming, if that makes sense. At least that’s how it worked for me.
What does the award mean to you?
Promoting a novel as a total unknown is like making a carefully crafted speech to an audience of zero. No one is interested and everyone is wary of wasting their time. The award means a huge deal, it helps to cast an independent light.
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them.
Butterfly Ranch is my first novel.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that.
My next book will still be me, but it will be completely different. I am interested in writing in different genres and pushing the boundaries of genre in general. Next up is historical fiction.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
I travel a lot with my wife. I’m also a father of three, including one recently adopted, which keeps me pretty busy. Any time left is spent working full-time, beekeeping, reading, and writing. Oh and by the way, I’m half-French half-Irish and live in Vilnius, Lithuania – a green corner of Europe tucked away north-east of Poland.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
Joseph Conrad (for suspense and psychological depth), Carson McCullers (for immersion in different points of view), Emily Brontë (for setting and lack of compromise).
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
The genre that Butterfly Ranch is closest to is mystery, and I guess that was chosen not by me, but by my character Altamont Stanbury. I was looking for a plot driver, to make sure readers keep turning the pages, and he came up with it. The genre is a vehicle for the novel, not the other way round.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
Historical fiction interests me, if done in a thought-provoking way (eg, Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee). Dystopia is a good one, though there is a lot of it about these days, and the concept really needs to stand out. I might also be interested in writing a non-fiction novel, putting fictional flesh around real events (eg, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote).
Quick fire questions …
Twitter or Facebook?
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, strong and black, no sugar. Or Turkish, medium-sweet.
Marmite – yes or no?
No, no , no.
Marvel or DC?
Neither. Tintin instead.
Early riser or sleep in?
Pj’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing?
Sloppy ‘normal’, no shoes. Objects are important too. Ideally, same lucky pen for note-taking throughout writing the novel. Same disembowelled copy of Thesaurus.
Planner or pantster?
Pantser. Can’t help it so am embracing it.
Book or kindle?
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no?
And finally, … What is your favourite book of all time?
The question is favourite, not best. So I’m going to go for Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It’s very imperfect but so brilliant, like a rough diamond. Inspired the film Apocalypse Now (with a change of setting to modern-day Cambodia).
Thank you for joining me today and many congratulations again on your Chill with A Book Award!
You can keep up with all of Remy’s news by following him on the following social media platforms:
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/rksalters
If you’d like more information on the Chill with A Book Award, follow this link!
Butterfly Ranch is out now, here’s the blurb …
“The Britisher lay on his belly, arms cradling his head. He was wearing dirty shorts and there were beads of caked mud in the hairs of his calves. A washed-out black tee shirt had slid up his torso and bunched around his shoulders, baring the base of his powerful spine…”
Tristan Griffin is a household name and the author of a universally popular detective series. For the past few years he has lived in self-exile in a remote jungle lodge nestled in the Mayan hills of Southern Belize, with his partner Hedda. Butterfly Ranch begins as he attempts suicide and Hedda disappears. Altamont Stanbury, an old Kriol police constable posted to the local backwater of San Antonio, rushes to the scene with his daughter Philomena, the village nurse. Philomena saves Tristan but he remains unconscious. Altamont, a bumbler and long-time reader of crime novels, launches a half-hearted search for Hedda by radio but decides to remain at the lodge. In truth his reverence for Tristan the writer consumes all else, and he becomes obsessed with the Griffin books he finds at the lodge.
When Tristan comes to, he is distraught and at times delirious, haunted by flashbacks of his uncompromising, cursed love for Hedda and the dark secret behind her disappearance. His anger and increasingly erratic behaviour only find respite in the presence of Altamont’s innocent daughter. But he feels nothing but spite for Altamont himself, and the relationship between the two threatens to have fatal consequences for one or both.