I was recently given the opportunity to review the New York Times bestselling novel by Kathryn Harvey called “Butterfly”. Published in 1988, it was recently re-released along with the sequels Stars and Private Entrance. Engaging and well-written, it was a steamy read with a great story line that kept me intrigued until the end.
Here’s the skinny:
Above an exclusive men’s store on Rodeo Drive there is a private club called Butterfly, where women are free to act out their secret erotic fantasies. Only the most beautiful and powerful women in Beverly Hills are invited to join …Jessica–The lawyer, who longs for the days when men were men, and women dressed to please them. Trudie–The builder, who wants a man who will challenge her-all of her-with no holds barred. Linda–The surgeon, who uses masks to unmask the desires she hides even from herself. But the most mysterious of them all is the woman who created Butterfly. She has changed her name, her accent, even her face to hide her true identity. And now she is about to reveal everything to realize the dream that has driven her since childhood–the secret obsession that will carry her beyond ecstasy, or destroy her and everyone around her!
After finishing Butterfly, I immediately bought the second and third novels in the trilogy; Stars and Private Entrance. I told my friends Debi and Teri about them and after we all had the chance to digest what we read, we had an impromptu get together to discuss what we thought and put together some questions for the author.
Teri and I loved them. The many different story lines and constant shift from present to past kept us on our toes and engaged. Debi liked them but was distracted by the themes of abandonment and verbal abuse. We all agreed that the female characters were very dimensional. Strong and driven, but often very sad.
We can’t go into many details about the storyline. Anything we say could be a potential spoiler because of how the books are written. What I will say is that while the books are sexual in nature, there are many stories that unfold that offer so much more than descriptive sex scenes. We all considered the books to fall almost into the mystery genre…with enough spice to keep things fired up! We felt the best way to give you a taste of what’s to come is to tease you with the questions we had for the author after we read the book and her answers!
About Barbara Wood (Kathryn Harvey)
Born in England, she immigrated to the U.S. with her family and attended high school and college in Southern California. She sold her first novel, Hounds and Jackels, in 1976 and has written 25 books to date. Under the pen name, Kathryn Harvey, Barbara wrote “Butterfly”, “Stars” and “Private Entrance”, a trilogy quite different from her other novels. Her newest historical novel, The Divining, was published in June.
Still Living The Dream (SLTD): What inspired the books/trilogy? It’s quite a departure from your other books!
Kathryn Harvey: The idea for Butterfly came from a board game friends and I had invented for our personal amusement. We designed a board with squares, we had little movers, we rolled dice and we drew cards. The game was about women’s sexual fantasies, and we each contributed fantasies on the cards, plus “men.” (Mostly in the form of movie stars). Some of the fantasies were basic, but most were elaborate and sounded like romance novels. One evening in the middle of a game, one of my friends said, “How come men have such easy access to sex? They can buy it whenever they want. But what’s out there for women?” Another player said, “Wow, a really neat bordello for women.” And I added, “I’d be there in a flash.” Mind you, we were all happily married and just speculating. But the idea had been planted. I did not set out to write a trilogy. After Butterfly, I went back to writing historicals, but then two more inspirations for Kathryn Harvey followed and voila! I had a trilogy.
SLTD: Why bordellos for women in all three books? Do these places exist?
Kathryn Harvey: Alas, I have never visited or even heard of a bordello for women. As I said above, some friends and I speculated on What if ….? I did recently hear a famous “madam” talk about possibly opening such an establishment in Nevada, for women, but the way she described it, the place sounded unspeakably seedy. Women don’t want seedy. We want fantasy, elegance, role-playing. At least most of the women I have talked to on the subject. Let’s face it, men and women are wired differently. And I love it! Why brothels in all three books? Why not? It’s a fun concept to play around with. And do these high end places exist? If they did, would I be sitting here right now in my tattered bathrobe and big fluffy slippers, thinking about the litter box I have to clean? Amazingly, I still get mail from readers asking me for the exact address of Butterfly because they can’t find it!
SLTD: In your bio, you mentioned that you frequently base characters on real people. Is anybody real in Butterfly?
Kathryn Harvey: Certainly, but I can’t say who!
SLTD: Come on! How about Danny? Is he based on anyone specific?
Kathryn Harvey: No, although for a physical model I kept a picture of dishy Eric Roberts on my desk.
SLTD: Was there an evangelist there when JFK was shot? Any historical significance to any of these characters?
Kathryn Harvey: If there was, I don’t know. I just thought it was a great platform to show off how opportunistic Danny was – using such a national tragedy for his own gain. The JFK assassination was a big thing in my own life, and the story was set in Texas, so it just sort of happened that way.
SLTD: Why did the main characters come from Texas? (Being from Houston, we are really interested in your connection to our state!)
Kathryn Harvey: It just happened that at time I had a very charismatic Texan in my life whom I met through a friend. I was helping him with a book he was writing and he really rubbed off on me. I had just started Butterfly and I was sort of searching for my antagonist, and this friend was regaling us with tales of Texas (he was a professor at USC who had long ago trained as a tent preacher). So I patterned Danny’s life, his colorful speech, and his mannerisms after this really Texan Texan.
SLTD: The male characters in the book range from pretty questionable to downright evil. Why?
Kathryn Harvey: Strong villains make for strong heroines. Nice and likeable men don’t pose much of a challenge to my main female characters. I like my ladies to work for their rewards.
SLTD: I’m already on the third book and there’s a lot of abandonment throughout all three. Did you experience this?
Kathryn Harvey: Not abandonment per se but I had a very lonely childhood. We were immigrants in Southern California and we moved around a lot. I never formed close friendships. I had no cousins or other relatives. I suppose that loneliness translates into abandonment in my characters. I never really noticed this! Interesting observation.
SLTD: How do you keep all the characters and different story lines of each straight? There were so many in each book (which we thought made the story very dynamic) but it was hard for the reader to know who was who at times. Butterfly clients, Beverly’s current friends, Beverly’s past friends, Beverly’s real family, Danny’s people…
Kathryn Harvey: I keep detailed and extensive outlines and biographies on each character. I assign colors to each, also, so that when I make notes I can tell immediately who I am talking about. I always have lots of characters in my books. I guess I like having a lot of people around me.
SLTD: How did you come up with the symbol of the butterfly?
Kathryn Harvey: I wanted something feminine, pretty, visually captivating and memorable. I first came up with a rose, but then I thought a flower stays in one spot and I wanted the symbol to also represent freedom and liberation. Hence the butterfly.
SLTD: Which of the women did you most identify with?
Kathryn Harvey: I identify a little with each of them because I put some of myself in each character I create. Naturally, I identify mostly with the tall, leggy blondes.
SLTD: Do you compare this book with the 50 shades books?
Kathryn Harvey: I haven’t read the 50 Shades books so I can’t make a comparison.
Intrigued?! I hope so! But I won’t leave you hanging. How about the chance to win TWO copies of Butterfly (one for you and one for a friend). All you have to do is leave a comment below and you are entered. A winner will be chosen at random on July 25, 2012, at 11:59 CST.
Want more chances to win? Leave a separate comment for each you do below!
- Like Still Living The Dream on facebook
- Follow me on twitter
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Tweet this giveaway with this language: “I want to win two copies of the NY Times best-selling novel, Butterfly @jpatrickcomm http://www.stilllivingthedream.com/2012/07/butterfly-book-review-author-interview-and-giveaway.html”
I was given a copy of Butterfly for review purposes but no other compensation was received. In fact, I purchased Stars and Private Entrance on my own because I was hooked on the trilogy! All thoughts and opinions are my own.