Park war­den’s job con­tin­ues to in­spire Pen­tic­ton au­thor

David But­ler com­pletes 3rd novel in award-win­ning Jenny Will­son Mys­tery se­ries, with its re­lease set for Septem­ber

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By MELANIE EKSAL

Anovel re­cently named one of the best new en­vi­ron­men­tal books is writ­ten by an award-win­ning au­thor born and raised in Pen­tic­ton. “No Place for Wolver­ines” is David But­ler’s sec­ond novel in his award-win­ning Jenny Will­son Mys­tery se­ries and earned its most re­cent ac­co­lade of best en­vi­ron­men­tal book from The Rel­e­va­tor web­site.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Pen­tic­ton Sec­ondary School in 1976, But­ler at­tended UBC and grad­u­ated with a de­gree in forestry and wildlife.

While But­ler was whisked away to Banff, Alta., to work as a park war­den af­ter, his pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy opened up the world of writ­ing when he at­tempted to sell pho­tos to mag­a­zines.

“Edi­tors and pub­lish­ers of ma­jor mag­a­zines would say, ‘These are great pho­tos, but then I have to hire a writer to do the story.’ So I started pitch­ing them on sto­ries and pho­to­graphs,” he said.

But­ler’s ex­pe­ri­ence in non-fic­tion writ­ing amasses roughly 20 years, as he spent his ca­reer work­ing as a war­den, an aux­il­iary RCMP of­fi­cer and now for Cana­dian Moun­tain Hol­i­days in Cran­brook.

“I’ve al­ways had, like many peo­ple, I guess, that old, ‘Gee, I’d re­ally like to write a novel one day,’” he said.

His knowl­edge of wildlife and tourism earned But­ler the Queen El­iz­abeth II Di­a­mond Ju­bilee medal in 2012 af­ter he helped set up the well-known Desti­na­tion BC pro­gram.

It also in­spired his Jenny Will­son Mys­tery se­ries.

“I took a travel-writ­ing course with a woman who’s a well-es­tab­lished Cana­dian au­thor, named Angie Ab­dou,” said But­ler. “She phoned me up one day af­ter the course and said, ‘I’m go­ing to be do­ing this di­rected stud­ies course and I’m only go­ing to take 10 stu­dents, and you ba­si­cally just have to write a chap­ter a week — that’s the course.’”

It was this mo­ment that But­ler knew it was time to put pen to paper, and the chap­ter he wrote each week be­came what’s now known as the se­ries’ first novel, “Full Curl,” which was pub­lished in the fall of 2017 and is loosely in­spired by But­ler’s time in Banff.

“Full Curl” won the Arthur El­lis award for “best first crime novel in Canada” in early 2018.

“I used it as a bit of val­i­da­tion for the writ­ing,” he said. “Even be­ing short­listed for an award like that made me think, ‘All right, I’m on the right track here.’”

His third novel has al­ready been writ­ten and will be re­leased in Septem­ber.

The se­ries fol­lows the life of park war­den Jenny Will­son and tack­les a va­ri­ety of so­cioe­co­nomic and po­lit­i­cal is­sues in the world to­day, as friends are turned against friends, fam­ily against fam­ily and small-town com­mu­ni­ties are threat­ened with be­ing torn apart.

While “Full Curl” and “No Place for Wolver­ines” bring read­ers on a jour­ney through B.C. and the United States, But­ler’s third novel, “In Rhino We Trust,” will trans­port his au­di­ence all the way to Namibia, Africa.

“I started the first novel with a male main pro­tag­o­nist, and it just didn’t feel right some­how,” But­ler ex­plained.

Mar­ried with two daugh­ters, But­ler jokes that he had “ex­perts” to work with as he cre­ated the life of Jenny Will­son.

“I find my­self now, when­ever I’m in so­cial or busi­ness sit­u­a­tions . . . I spend a lot more time pay­ing at­ten­tion to what women are fac­ing,” But­ler added, say­ing these sit­u­a­tions help him un­der­stand a woman’s per­spec­tive and his own char­ac­ter bet­ter.

Asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of a movie deal, But­ler said he wouldn’t turn the of­fer down and that he has been work­ing with a screen­writer.

But­ler

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