Dave ButlerAuthor Photo by Brian Clarkson

The Author

Dave Butler is the author of the Jenny Willson mystery series, published by Dundurn Press. He’s a forester and biologist living in Cranbrook, British Columbia, in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. His writing and photography have appeared in numerous Canadian publications. He’s a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal winner, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. When he’s not writing, Dave is professionally involved in sustainable tourism at local, national and international levels and he travels extensively. He’s a Professional Author Member of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Dave is represented by Sam Hiyate at The Rights Factory http://therightsfactory.com/authors/dave-butler/


I’ve been writing since my early school days, and I come from a family of writers. My grandmother was a prolific writer in BC newspapers from the 1940s to the 1970s, my father published a book of stories about Barnston Island in the Fraser River, and my brother Bruce published “Letters to a Driving Nation” (he has more books in the pipeline). The first piece of writing I had published was a poem, followed by an award-winning historical essay. Since then, I’ve written and photographed many magazine articles. But being an avid reader of fiction, it has always called my name. Fiction offers a new avenue for me to explore different characters, different perspectives, different landscapes, different issues faced by society. Full Curl is my first published work of fiction.

No! Full Curl is the first in a series that will include at least three books. The second novel — “No Place for Wolverines” — was published by Dundurn Press in October, 2018. The third in the series — “In Rhino We Trust” — will be available September 30, 2019. I have at least three more books in the series sketched out beyond that.

I’m a long-time resident of Western Canada, and I’ve traveled extensively through the Pacific Northwest. I love the landscapes, from rich coastal forests to dry ponderosa pine grasslands to the high alpine.

This is a work of fiction, but it is true that the novel was loosely inspired by a poaching investigation in which I was involved while working as a national park warden in Banff.
The story itself had a long gestation; it sat unfinished on a shelf for years before writing professor and celebrated author Angie Abdou persuaded me to dust it off. I had a lucky break when the novel was short-listed for the 2015 Unhanged Arthur Award (best unpublished crime novel in Canada). At the Crime Writers of Canada gala dinner in Toronto, I met inspiring writers, agents and publishers who were friendly and generous with their advice. It was there that I made contact with the wonderful folks at Dundurn Press.

I can’t give away any secrets, not only because I hope you’ll share the journey with me, but because only Jenny knows for sure. She’s always at least a step or two ahead of me. She’ll tackle at least one more investigation in Canada before she heads to Namibia on a secondment. After that, I get the sense that she’ll travel, perhaps because of a new love interest, and that she and her Parks Canada bosses will have to sort out their differences.

I’ve had people ask me if the book is about hairdressing (no) or surfing (no again). It takes its name from the horns of bighorn sheep rams. If an animal is old enough, his horns will circle around toward the back then back to the front again, passing their point of origin … to form a full curl. It also reflects a story that does the same: returns to its starting point.

For the first few drafts, I struggled with the title. But then, Jenny Willson gave me the title. When she was talking about a specific place, and the potential for something to happen there, she said “this will be no place for wolverines.” Thanks, Jenny!

In truth, I’m not a huge fan of these labels. But I recognize why they’re necessary. The Jenny Willson series could fit under mystery, crime fiction or even thriller, depending on your definition. But I’m starting to like the idea that they might fit in a new category of eco-mystery or eco-thriller. Let’s see if that becomes ‘a thing…’

I post on Facebook about a wide range of items and events of interest (Dave Butler’s Jenny Willson mysteries; @DaveButlerwriter), I tweet now and then (@Dav3butl3rDave) and I regularly share images on Instagram (dav3butl3r). Please join me there, or send me a question or comment via the ‘contact form’ on the ‘contacts and links’ page. I’ll respond to all.

It’s a play on words. Not only does it mirror a phrase on the U.S. penny, but it honours the incredible work being done in Namibia by Save The Rhino Trust Namibia.http://www.savetherhinotrust.org/)

I think both Jenny and I were getting too comfortable in the Canadian Rockies. I decided to send her to a place where almost everything was different – the geography, the history, the culture, and the conservation challenges – to see how she would react. I hope you’ll agree that she did just fine.

I’m working on two projects at the moment.

I’ve completed a stand-alone ecothriller with the working title of “Run, River, Run,” which is now with my agent. It’s largely set in the Columbia River basin (with guest appearances from Prince George, McBride, Whitefish, San Francisco, Madrid, Saint-Malo, and Washington, DC) and poses the question; how far would the United States go to become self-sufficient in water?

I’ve also begun a new series starring Ros du Raan, a former Namibian wildlife officer working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The first — “View to a Kill” – is set at a bear-viewing lodge in Alaska and is finished, and I’m a few chapters into — “Whispers of the North” — which is set in northern Norway.