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1-31-18

David Butler
A Craftsman of Words

By Jeffry Boatright


Some tales are certainly worth retelling, but there are some stories that just have to be written and preserved. One of North Florida’s favorite storytellers has enthralled eager listeners for decades with accounts of his own adventures, as well as misadventures.


In recent years, however, David Butler has proven that his ability to spin a good yarn is not limited to oral presentation. The Hamilton County resident has distinguished himself as a talented author, capable of captivating his audience. In doing so, Butler has developed a loyal fan base that always awaits his next title with excitement and anticipation.


Author David Butler -Photo: Submitted

Butler’s latest release, Signal Six, echoes the writer’s unique style and instinctive ability to develop authentic North Florida characters who are believable and realistic. It is no wonder that his well-developed characters, along with engaging storylines and brilliant descriptions, have yielded David Butler shining reviews from his readers.


“I use the personalities of people that I have worked with and loved,” Butler explained, “but all in a good way.” According to writer of mystery and suspense, many of his readers are certain they have pinpointed the true identity of his characters. “One of the best compliments I received on Ellaville was about the sheriff character. Someone said that sounds just like the personality of the present sheriff of Hamilton County, Harrell Reid. While I didn’t intend it to be, the more I thought about it, the personality did fit our great sheriff.”


With so many unique experiences and innumerable encounters with interesting characters over the years, it was only natural for Butler to take up his pen and paper in 2009, and begin recording some of his entertaining and amazing stories.


“It started with me telling stories around small groups of friends,” Butler recalled. “Someone would always say that we could write a book about what all we have done.”


Instinctively, Butler began writing the stories and later posted them on his blog. Of course, he concedes that many of those humorous tales were embellished. “Embellishment is probably not a strong enough word to use on some of the stories,” Butler admits.


A few years later, Butler had written his first book, Back Up Lavon, Back Up. According to the amicable author, publishing that first book has been his most rewarding experience as a writer. “I have to thank Trenda Reid from Lake City for making that happen,” he added with gratitude.


While Butler is clearly talented and skilled in the techniques of character and plot development, he does not fail to draw from the experiences in his personal and professional life. As a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Butler is able to convey emotion and love through his work. Having served two tours in Vietnam, the Army veteran is no stranger to danger and comradery, and does a remarkable job of introducing those aspects of his life into his fiction.


Butler’s post-military career with the Florida Department of Corrections has surely offered insight needed to create a fiction novel as realistic as Signal Six. The aspect of Butler’s life that he cherishes most, however, is his relationship with Christ. The devoted husband and father’s faith is obvious through the wholesome writing that many readers are now raving about.


The approach that Butler takes to writing is, in one way, the same approach that he took in his career for so many years. He simply gets up and does it, and finds great joy in his work. In fact, he has set aside from 4 a.m., until 6 a.m. each morning for writing.


He does enjoy the freedom, however, to take a break from his writing as needed. “I have to get away from it from time to time,” Butler explained, “especially when I’m struggling with parts of the story. I just take time to think on the story for a while. When I come back, things seem to just fall into place.”


Admitting that there are challenges in writing, Butler identifies grammar as his greatest struggle. “Wow, what a struggle that has been. Thank God for my wife, Barbara Jo, who taught school for 37 years. She is my number one editor, and she is tough. But, I have earned a minor degree in grammar because of her,” he chuckled.


Like most writers, Butler has had other influences. He is an avid fan of the late Louis L’amour. “I’ve read every one of his books many times,” Butler acknowledged. “I have always loved the way he described the area in which the story takes place, and I try to do the same in my novels. “My love for the Suwannee River and the surrounding area is in all my books,” he added.


Butler’s desire to offer exceptional description for his readers has been successfully accomplished. His unique ability to depict a setting without losing his reader with excessive or unnecessary details keeps his action-packed stories in motion.


Another author who has been influential in Butler’s writing is a long-time friend from his childhood. “Doug Dahlgren, a friend who I went to school with, has authored nine books. He is another person in my life that has inspired me,” Butler stated.


While writers such as L’amour, Dahlgren and others were surely instrumental in Butler’s decision to write, it is through his readers that Butler finds the greatest incentive as a writer. “What can be better than hearing someone say they really loved that story?” he asked.


David Butler is a man of many wonderful attributes, one of which is congeniality. With his pleasant demeanor, the Georgia native is a great communicator. He articulates his thoughts with ease and is an attentive listener. Perhaps that is, in part, how he has been so successful in skillfully conveying his thoughts and stories into books.


Fans of Butler’s work will be delighted to know that he is already working on his next project, a novel entitled Echo on the Suwannee, which will feature some of his characters from Ellaville and Signal Six.


Each of Butler’s books are available through Amazon.com, in both digital and print format. For an autographed copy of Butler’s work, he can be emailed at dbc1@windstream.net.