Author: Bryna Butler
Narrator: James Fouhey
Length: 4 hours 40 minutes
Series: Mothman Mysteries, Book 1
Publisher: Swancrest Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Mystery; YA
When Eric Jansen takes a seat behind his drums, every girl in the place takes notice - not that he's surprised. He's had decades to practice. Still, there's that other thing.... He's an alien. Offworlder. Take me to your leader, fall from the sky, space-invading, phoning home, UFO jockey. A swipe of the tattoo on his arm will reveal his true form, which locals call Mothman, a winged creature formed of ashen gray skin and glowing red eyes. Eric is one of the last of his dwindling, offworld species. So when the recently deceased of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, start walking and talking, the Men in Black mark Eric as suspect number one. It'll be up to Eric and his inner circle to solve the mystery before the black suits lock him up and throw away the key. A fun listen, Wrong Side of the Grave is a fast-action teen sci-fi mystery with a paranormal twist.
Bryna Butler is a journalism-trained writer having authored hundreds of articles and financial publications before taking the leap into fiction in 2011. Her first book, Of Sun & Moon, skyrocketed to number one on Kindle top free charts in multiple categories in the U.S. and U.K. when the title went to free status in 2014 and again held #1 Teen Romantic Mystery on the Kindle Free charts in the U.S. in February 2020. The book was also featured in The Morganville Vampires web series. Butler’s work is free of profanity and mature content making them safe reads for pre-teen as well as teen readers. In her latest series, the Mothman Mysteries, she creates an unexpected and delightful twist on the urban legend from her youth, the winged Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Butler’s love of storytelling leads her heart to many fandoms. You will often find her online gushing about the latest movie/TV show/book or fondly reminiscing about the time she met Charlaine Harris and didn’t faint.
Q&A with Author Bryna Butler
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- I grew up outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hearing the stories of Mothman, a red-eyed, winged humanoid sighted in the area in the late 60s. As a teenager, I even spent an evening or two “hunting” for the creature among the abandoned ammunition storage domes on the outskirts of town where he was rumored to roam. It was our small town’s version of visiting a haunted house. The night would end with a branch snapping and everyone running, screaming and giggling, back to the car.
- There are some aspects of Point Pleasant in the books that are made up. There is no Rigby’s Funeral Home and no Mr. Goodbrew. However, Tu-endie-wei Park is a very real place, as well as the monument that Eric’s ship is docked above. The plaque he uses to gain entry into his ship is real and actually on the monument, complete with the knot hole where he scans his thumb. The idea came to me because I’ve watched many kids and adults alike put their thumb there, it seems like the natural thing to do when you see it.
- Did you give your narrator any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- When it comes to narration, Duey’s part is often difficult. With his flirting and French accent, narrators sometimes slip into an impression of that beloved skunk from Looney Tunes, Pepe le Pew. James Foohay (narrator of book one) then later Michael Mola (narrator of book two), did a fantastic job of capturing him without making him sound cartoonish.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the format appeals to you?
- Oh my gosh, yes. I may be addicted. I love reading and still read books and e-books regularly. But I spend a lot of time driving and audiobooks are my go-to in that space instead of the radio. I’m also a mom who loathes housekeeping. I often crank up Alexa with my favorite titles to make the time go faster.
- Do you follow any particular fandoms?
- Heck yeah. Let’s see. I’m an old school Whedonite with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. A replica of the ring of Amara (the ring that allowed Angel to live as a human for a day) was my celebration gift for completing the Midnight Guardian series. I have a thing for time travel – Back to the Future, Bill & Ted, Doctor Who. In the book world, I’m into Sarah Maas, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Cassandra Clare, Quinn Loftis, Rachel Caine, Casey Bond, Kelly Martin, and most recently Eric Asher’s Vesik series. I’ve had Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun on preorder since the day Amazon let me throw my money at them. And the one time I got a chance to meet Charlaine Harris my heart was beating so fast I got light headed and thought I was gonna pass out.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it?
- Right now, I would go to the date this interview is posted because it will be posted after August 14, 2020. I am a huge Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure fan, and I can’t wait to see the new movie, Bill & Ted Face the Music, coming out that day. So, yeah, I would time travel to see a time travel movie. Probably no butterfly effect repercussions for that, right? Yes, this is how my mind works, folks.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- Bridget’s book rants. You can read them in all their run-on sentence glory, but it really hits home when the narrator voices it without taking a breath.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- I always picture a clean cut Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) when I write Carey Warner’s part, though Carey is a bit younger than Jensen. For Bridget, I would pick Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2, The Edge of Seventeen) because she has nervous rambling down to a science. And when it comes to Eric, singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes seems like he can pull off the easy-going cockiness and passion for music. Of course, no one could play villain Kendall except for Taylor Swift.
- What gets you out of a writing slump?
- There are times when I get stuck. When this happens, I bring in my sons. I tell them about the story so far and ask them what happens next. The have a lot of fun with this. They always go for the outlandishly silly. It’s never anything I can use, but somehow it always loosens up the old brainwaves and lets me look at the story differently. Best of all, their excitement is contagious, and my fingers are itching for the keyboard after our impromptu story session.
- How about a reading slump?
- I get in these moods too. I am a fiction girl, but when nothing really jumps out at me or when I can’t get into a story, I hope over to a celebrity biography, usually by a comedienne. Rachel Dratch, Penny Marshall, Anna Kendrick, and Amy Poehler are some of my favorites. And after a good laugh, I’m ready to hit my TBR.
- Are any of your favorite things referenced in appearance in your work?
- Strawberry milkshakes and ice-cold orange sodas can be spotted in many of my books. My husband bought me a strawberry milkshake on our first date, and orange soda has always been a favorite of mine. On my blog, www.brynabutler.com/blog, I post “Easter Eggs” for every one of my books, hidden somethings in the book that have a special meaning or is a secret reference to a particular fandom.
- What’s next for you?
- I’m working on Wrong Side of the Song, Mothman Mysteries #3 for release late 2020. Eric and Bridget face off with a murderous siren in the school’s show choir. Think young Harry Dresden meets Pitch Perfect. Oh yes, fun will be had.
- I had so much fun with this. Thanks for interviewing me today. Be sure to check out the entire Mothman Mysteries. Each is a standalone mystery that can be read in any order; though, book 1, Wrong Side of the Grave, gives the best foundation for the MM universe. And don’t miss the Fan Cave at www.brynabutler.com for all kinds of free extras.
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.
Sign up as a tour host here.