Butterflies in the system received a rating of 4 or more stars, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
You will then find an interview with author Jane Powell.
What is the title of the book and when was it published?
Butterflies in the system (October 2020)
What is the first line of the book?
“Systemic rats. That’s what they call us. Lost causes, shit, unwanted. And they wonder why we’re running. “
What is the book about?
Full of both laughter and sadness, Butterflies in the system allows readers to travel through the years in the lives of Sam and her friends as they browse group homes, detention centers, and street life in Montreal. Sam is not your simple sympathetic character. It is complex, deeply affected by past injuries and desperately trying to survive in a system of ‘protection’ for young people that has proven to be just as complex.
Shortly after AWOL from the group’s home, Sam is caught and sentenced to custody for a serial escape. Here she spends the first few days in solitude, and the following month is locked up in a section with youth offenders, and it comes to her mind that her well-being is best kept in her own hands. After another great escape, she returns to the streets, where she meets her best friend Gabe again and meets another escaped name, Tig. Each person Sam meets on the way through the system has a unique story and a reason why he doesn’t live at home, and Tigo’s heart hurts especially. While Sam, Tig, and Gabe create a creative business plan that turns into an adventure that will take them for a lifetime, their path to freedom is full of pits where they have to learn to navigate or risk disappearing inside.
Butterflies in the system endorsed by award-winning journalists Viktor Malarek and Gillian Cosgrove.
Read the first four chapters Butterflies in the system on my site – https://www.janepowell.org
What prompted you to write the book? A specific person? An event?
Butterflies in the system inspired by my own teenage experience in the Montreal youth protection system. I wrote this book to help me realize the need for a systematic change in the youth protection system. Abusive practices such as solitary confinement and negligence, such as a lack of occupational mental health care and a lack of an aging plan, have existed in the Montreal youth protection system for more than 70 years. The media has reported this several times since the mid-1970s, but few changes have been made. I hope that with this book, I will be able to express my voice to all the children who continue to struggle as adults because the youth protection system has not done its main job: to protect young people.
This book also coincides with a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of people who experienced violence while caring for Quebec’s youth protection services.
Read more about my inspiration to write butterflies in the system on my blog: https://www.janepowell.org/post/the-story-that-inspired-butterflies-in-the-system
What is the main reason why someone should really read this book?
Butterflies in the system will take you to a world that is often hidden from the public eye. Many of us tend not to talk about young people who “do not reach”, suffer – rebellious, tiring, “lost things”. We don’t really know what to do with them, so we quietly turn the other way and move on. While this is an understandable reaction, because so far it is an unpleasant conversation with few answers, this reaction only helps to silence a problem that our young people desperately need to solve. My book takes readers on a journey into the thoughts of the “rebellious” youth, the causes of the rebellion, and the positive anti-negative effects of care in the youth protection system.
What is the main character trait? Who — real or fictional — would you say that a character reminds you?
Although Sam is in the youth protection system, her family history is very different from other characters Butterflies in the system. Hailing from a high-class neighborhood, she was raised by very strict parents who carefully considered their single child’s plans and had little patience to “play with the child.” The traumatic event, coupled with parental pressure to be perfect, breaks it at the age of 15 and it is incorporated into the system to keep running. Sem has obvious flaws and makes a few mistakes worthy of mistakes, but most of all he is characterized by the ability to adapt to uncertain situations and turn shit into gold.
If a film were made from your book, who would you like to see the main character (s)?
Sam: Michele Selene Ang (13 reasons); Gabe: Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things); Tig: Sadie Sink (“Foreign Things”); Gini: McKenna Grace (I, Tonya); Subject: Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give); Dave (childcare worker): Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers); Mrs Cohen (Social Worker): Kristin Kreuk (Burden of Truth).
When did you first decide to become an author?
As soon as I could read! However, I only started writing my first novel after many years, when my youngest son was about a month long and had a long afternoon sleep. Since he also slept well at night (I was lucky!), I had free time and a lot of energy. I had written my book in my head for many years, so I decided now was the time to finally write my story on paper. Like life, he stopped sleeping in Chapter 3, and that was for many more years. When I finally finished my first book, Sky linked to Misfit (2018), my heart was officially released into the world of authorship. Since then, I have published short stories, opinion articles and the latest novel, Butterflies in the system. I am now working on my third novel and I am sure there will be many more.
Is this the first book you have written?
Butterflies in the system is my second novel. My first is called Sky-Bound Misfit, inspired by my experience of sexual violence during adolescence. I also posted some short stories and opinions that can be found through mine Website and blog. I am currently working on my third novel.
What do you do about work when you don’t write?
I am very active outdoors. I tend to plan my writing while skiing, biking, or hiking. I am also a writing consultant; I help new authors plan their writing projects and lead writing workshops. And I am a special needs support worker.
How much time do you spend on your writing in general?
1-2 hours a day planning and 2-3 hours a day writing
What is the best and hardest thing to be indie?
What great advice can you share with fellow indie authors?
Remember, we write to ourselves as much as others do. No essay is a waste of time or effort. Our scriptures enrich our hearts and souls.
Would you choose a tradition if the publisher called? If so, why?
Yes, mainly because I would like professional help in marketing that doesn’t hurt the bank!
Is there something that motivates you (fame? Wealth?)
The opportunity to influence social change through my writing.
Which writer, alive or dead, admires the most?
Bryce Courtenay (The power of one) is my favorite author.
What book would you like to write?
The traveler’s wife (Audrey Niffenegger).