Welcome to another Author Highlight, a series where we feature indie authors like ourselves. You’ll find author interviews, tips, stories, poetry and more. We aim to entertain, promote, and inspire. Other interviews can be found here.
Joining us in our post today is Rebecca Weber, author of The Painter’s Butterfly which just released from Artemesia Publishing!
Rebecca is a Midwestern girl with a lifelong passion for books! She spends most of her time nurturing her baby girl and two Boston Terrier fur-babies, and flipping houses with her realtor husband. It took fifteen years to find the courage to craft her first novel, The Painter’s Butterfly, but now she’s never letting her feather pen go! While she misses teaching preschool-aged children their ABC’s, Rebecca is thrilled to have the chance to reach middle graders worldwide with her fantastical stories. Words are magic and you have the power to change the world too. Chase the dreams calling out to your soul!
What if art could come alive and guide you home?
Twelve-year-old foster child Nova longs to find her one true home. When jealousy of her art ability upends her most cherished placement, Nova’s dropped in the middle of nowhere to live with painter Mr. Russell in his ramshackle farmhouse.
While exploring, Nova sneaks into the attic and discovers a magical easel that brings paintings to life. She puts her art skills to the test and gets caught in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and a journey to the rainforest.
Following the magic, Nova stumbles upon an underground cellar that houses a startling secret. She’s forced to choose: escape to a prior foster home, or mend her relationship with Mr. Russell. Nova makes a dangerous mistake when she strikes a match of revenge. She must survive the inferno to learn the true meaning of home.
Q: Thank you for appearing on our blog! How or what got you interested in writing?
A: I’m happy to be here! I’ve always been interested in writing, or at least, as long as I can remember! I had a story published in the local newspaper when I was in 2nd grade and from then on, I was hooked! As a child, I primarily wrote poetry to sort through my emotions, but writing a novel has been a lifelong dream of mine.
Q: What inspired you to write The Painter’s Butterfly?
A: As a preteen, my sister had a MAJOR crush on Johnny Depp. She knew how much I loved to write, so she approached me about writing a story that could eventually be adapted into a movie where she acts with Johnny Depp. That got my creative gears turning. I needed a story about a young girl and a middle-aged man, preferably one that included art because my sister was a talented artist. That would make her a shoo-in for the part. The Painter’s Butterfly was born from those ideas and fifteen consecutive years of daydreaming about the premise.
Q: The main character of The Painter’s Butterfly is 12-year-old Nova. Tell us a bit about her.
A: All of her life, Nova has been a foster child. She’s lived in more homes than she can count, but never had a relationship with an adult she felt she could truly trust. Because of this, she has a somewhat jaded view of life in general. Nova loves art and has often used it to cope with her emotions. I’d say her personality is both inquisitive and impulsive, but underneath her walled-off exterior, she’s just a kid who needs someone to love her.
Q: What other characters will readers meet and what do you hope readers will like about them?
A: There’s a whole cast of colorful characters in The Painter’s Butterfly: Mr. Russell, Nova’s new mysterious foster parent; Ms. Ellie, owner of the local diner whose bubbly personality helps Nova come out of her shell; Mac, a friendly albeit mischievous boy who resides at the orchard down the road; and a host of loyal animal companions. I hope that the readers will see these characters as real people with relatable quirks and problems, and possibly admire their resilience in the face of adversity.
Q: Painting plays a role in Nova’s life. What role do you think art plays in our lives?
A: Art, as with any creative medium, allows us to express complicated emotions and better understand ourselves. I’ve always been envious of my sister’s ability to translate the world through her own lens and put it on display for everyone to see. Writing is a little different in that the reader decides how the characters or landscapes look in their mental image, whereas an artist gets to be more intentional about what people will see when they look at a piece. Ultimately, I think people want to know themselves, and art really helps in that effort of self-exploration.
Q: What do you hope middle grade readers take away from your book?
A: That they don’t need to be anyone except themselves. Nova longs for a family to accept her as she is, and I think it’s important for kids to learn how to accept themselves first. I hope they find hope and encouragement in my story, and that it helps them feel less alone.
Q: What advice would you give a writer reading this blog?
A: Find your people. Every writer needs a good support group for when the going gets tough. I have a middle grade writer’s chat on Twitter that has been INVALUABLE in my publication journey. On those difficult days of rejection, my group reminded me that I deserve to get my words out into the world. I couldn’t have achieved this milestone without them. Writer friends are key to battling imposter syndrome.
Q: What has it been like working with a micro-publisher (Artemesia Publishing)?
A: Phenomenal! I had signed a prior contract with a different small press that I inevitably backed out of because of unforeseen issues, and Artemesia had the flexibility to include the already established art with my book. My sister drew all of the chapter illustrations, so it was very important to me that I didn’t lose them. I think a bigger press would have wanted to make more of those final decisions, whereas with Artemesia we’ve always had an excellent equal partnership. I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I encourage other writers to consider different avenues of publishing (so long as you do your research and know what you really want).
Thanks for joining us for an author interview!
You can connect with Rebecca Weber at her website and social media links below. And don’t forget to get your copy of The Painter’s Butterfly.