She has found the magic question to get anyone out of their deepest abyss – Interview with the award winning published author Joylene Nowell Butler

Mexico plate

Photo by C.R.Laksmi

Part of what I love about doing these interviews is that I can visit people in their ‘habitat’. Finding Joylene in Bucerias was quite an adventure too. She lived in a beautiful Mexican house, with 2 bedrooms, living room and the kitchen. On one side the view was opening up to the ocean side, on the other side to the main highway. All the interior was very Mexican, with lots of colours, artefacts and Mexican furniture. It felt very homey there. She took out her home made guacamole and I knew I should not even touch it before we are done, as it looked so delicious and I knew I would not able to stop eating it. 

I met Joylene during our writers group in La Cruz and from the moment I met her, I instantly liked her. What is there not to like? She has a very bubbly energy, so full of joy and wisdom and seems so caring and loving in so many ways.

After doing this interview I bow even more down to her, hearing about what she has been through and that she has been able to get through it and still smile and enjoy her life to the fullest. I hope this will inspire each reader to make the necessary changes in your life to live a life which feels fulfilling and maybe even buy her books!

Please read, comment and share, as this is one of the ways to spread good energy, frequencies and uplift the world!

Joylene shares stories about her personal roots and childhood influences.

Most of my childhood I felt like an outsider. As if I was adopted. I didn’t fit in with my family and their many talents. I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t draw, play the piano, skate, knit, sew, play the guitar.

I exhibited some of my dad’s traits, the class clown, the ranch hand. Never afraid to shovel manure or work outside in mud up to my knees. My siblings teased that I was adopted. I believed them until I was eleven and could finally see the resemblance with my parents. I could still never figure out why I was talentless.

When I turned eight my mother gave me my first diary. Writing breathed life into me. I sat alone for hours pouring my heart and soul into that little book. By fourteen I had graduated to journals. I still write in my journal everyday. At no time did I then or do I now feel more alive than when I’m writing. My mother told me that when I was barely talking, I’d stand on the hearth, rock back and forth, and tell tall tales to company until she’d rescue them by putting me to bed.

I thought I was destined to be an actress. Then I read Bleeding Heart by Marilyn French. I was transformed. All I could think was: I want to do that, write a book and move people with my prose.

In 1980 my dad passed away. He was 56. I was devastated. I cried for a year. I couldn’t imagine life without him. Who would save me? Who would protect me?

I wasn’t a child and I knew I would survive, but I thought maybe if I wrote his story, he could live forever. I bought an old IBM typewriter, sat up nights after my sons were asleep, and began writing my first novel, Always Father’s Child. Seven years later, I typed The End.

It was a badly written novel that would never see the light of day, but that was okay because I was hooked. I immediately began my second manuscript Dead Witness. I had studied literature at Simon Fraser University and thought, how hard can it be to write a decent novel?

Apparently, very hard.

Lucky for me my middle name is STUBBORN. (not really)

But stubborn I am.

In 1975 one of my English Lit professors told me I couldn’t write, shouldn’t write. He advised I go home and have more babies.

Joylene & DW2_2

Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

After twenty-two revisions, Dead Witness was published in 2008, twenty-six years after I started. I wish I could have hunted him down and slapped him silly with my newly published softcover.

Not only was I not adopted, turns out I come from a long line of storytellers, on both sides of my family. Losing my dad made me realize that. Though neither of my parents lived to see me published, they were instrumental in teaching me to be me, no matter what that meant.

My siblings, my parents, my husband, sons, friends, each of them has inspired me in a huge way. It’s their love that got me through the darkness moments and made me believe I could do anything. Even write a book.

bucerias view

Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

What is your biggest dream in your life right now?

That someone would invent a pill you could take so it didn’t matter what you ate. You’d never gain weight. Cheesecake for breakfast, cheesecake for lunch, cheesecake for dinner! Bring it on!

I have lots of dreams. I hope I always do. For now, I’d like to live in Mexico full time. Summer—bring it on! I’d like to walk the beach, work on my next novel while my husband sits a few feet a way reading. I’d like to savour the sweet smells of winter flowers. I want to live in a Tennessee William’s play.

I’d like to see one of my novels turned into a movie. I know two authors fortunately enough to experience that. Without too much guessing, I’m going to assume it was a truly awesome experience.

Another huge dream: having my entire family visiting me here in Bucerias. The chaos would be wonderful.

Your key to live your life on your terms?

5I15G75E93G63mc3Idc8ib1cdb8560ba01635 (1)

Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

I believe you are what you think. If what I’m thinking causes me to feel bad about myself or anyone else, then I owe it to me to stop thinking that. I’m embarrassed to admit how many years it took me to figure this out. Too many.

My brother once told me the thing my dad admired most about me was that no matter how many times I got knocked down, I always got up again. This has had a huge impact on my life.

Why am I here?

To be happy.

How do I do that?

By listening to my inner being.


Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

When I’m about to do something that makes me hesitate, I ask myself one simple question. Will it make me happy? If it won’t, I don’t do it.

I’m not talking about being selfish or cruel or unforgiving. If I’m truly happy in whatever I’m doing, everyone I love benefits. Conversely, same goes for what I’m thinking. When things aren’t going well and I’m sad or feeling bad, I ask myself:

Does this particular thought make me feel worthy?

If it doesn’t, it’s out of here. (Here being my head)

When I get depressed or overwhelmed, (and I do) I eventually see it as a sign that I’m out of alignment with my inner being. I stop focusing on the pain or the mood—and smile. And I don’t mean a small grin. I mean a big… wide… S M I L E.

Think I’m nuts? Try it next time you’re feeling bad. You don’t have to conjure up a reason. You don’t need a pill, or a drug, or a drink. Just stop what you’re thinking and smile for absolutely no reason at all.

Works for me every single time. In fact, I’ve been known to smile like a dumb-ass.

215239_6375168899_711213899_360149_5267_nWhat has been your hardest moment in your life and how did you get through it?

Losing my dad when I was 30. Then we lost Jack in 1991 in a car accident. He was 23. I couldn’t breath. I lost my faith. It took months before I could function. But I had four more children and a husband that needed me. So I turned to writing. I expressed my sorrow through made-up stories. Fifteen years later I was finally at the point where I truly believed I’d come to terms with Jack’s death—and we lost his twin. Jody died at 39. Bad heart.

I knew I couldn’t work through it so I went to group therapy. Then I read Sylvia Brown. Then I studied Eastern religions. Today I know our twins have moved on to another dimension. Call it heaven, or whatever. Their spirits are fully engaged somewhere else. Death was not their end.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for yourself having lost a beloved child when you come to realize they’re just not here where I can see them. They’re there.

If you’ve ever been with someone when they passed over, you felt the energy that was them leave their body, filled the space around you, and moved on. You may even have heard their spirit leave their body. Of course, I still grieve. But I’m grateful every day for having loved them, even though it wasn’t long enough.

I’m a better person for having loved them.

What has been the most inspiring moment in your life?

Being a mother. Nothing like it. Having children is akin to drowning in love. Being a mother changed me forever. I can’t imagine anything more powerful than my feelings for my sons.


Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

Getting published was definitely special. I spent years, almost 30, dreaming about being published, aching to be publishing. Begging to be published. I walked through a bookstore once with my best friend, we were 700k from my house. She looked up and saw two of my novels on the shelf–yelled. Scared me to death. I turned around to see her pointing at my books. It was surreal! Luckily, she had her camera with her.

Your relation to money?

I like money. I like how it fits nicely in my hand. I like wads of money. I like how it smells. I like it when the bills are brand new. Crisp. I like it when they’re old and you could iron them back to their original state, but don’t because your family looks at you weird.

The best thing about money: The more you get will not in any way take away from others getting their share. There is plenty of money to go around, and there always will be. You having it doesn’t affect me having it, and vice versa. Isn’t that marvellous!

What is financial independence for you?

I haven’t given it any thought. That is amazing. I guess I must be okay. I’m not rich by any means, but I never do without. My husband worries sometimes. I tell him, “When have we ever not had enough? If we need money for this or that, notice how it find its way to us? Worrying is silly, don’t you think?”

How do you maintain yourself?

My husband receives a nice pension, plus he’s always got some job on the go. He does lot clearing with his bulldozer and dump-truck. He sells firewood. The guy is 70 and he’s more energized than most men half his age. I receive a small pension and the odd royalty cheque. Not that long ago, I received a cheque for $21.75 from ebook sales of Dead Witness. I bought more books!

I’d like to downsize, get my teeth fixed, maybe get prescriptive glasses instead of these drugstore ones, get a funky hairstyle. I’m thinking purple and lime green highlights. What do you think? Be honest.

I want to thank my readers. I’ve heard from a few over the year; I’ve had the honour of meeting some. Not for one moment have I forgotten about them. I think of them every time I sit down to work on a manuscript. I’m not a writer without them.


Photo from Joylene’s private collection.

I’m certainly not published without them. They have my gratitude and respect always.

Though my novels centre around dark subject matter, (the complexities of the parent/child relationship, death, cruelty) my stories will always have hope.

People pay good money for my books and I think I owe it to them to entertain, amuse, scare, tantalize, and leave them wanting more.

I get ribbed about living in Bucerias, Mexico – six months of the year. I know how fortunate I am. I never take anything for granted.

I also believe that anybody can be as blessed as I am. You just have to believe you’re worthy. You have to know that you being happy doesn’t take a way from anyone being happy. There’s plenty to go around.

Anything else?

All my life my motto has been: Never give up and never surrendered. But above this, I can’t say it enough. Our purpose here is to be happy. If this makes anyone frown, maybe it’s time to stop and ask themselves: Why shouldn’t I be happy?

Photo from Joylene's private collection.

How do you know Crystal?

I met Crystal in November 2015 during my first meeting with the La Cruz Writers Group in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit. The meeting took place at the yacht club where we were surrounded by the beauty of the marina: the magnificent sailboats and the stunning Banderas Bay. That particular day, Crystal read from her blog, and I was blown away by the wisdom and clarity of her words.

How does someone so young understand so much?

Most likely it is because Crystal allows her inner being to shine through. Hard not to be spellbound by someone comfortable enough with herself to allow the world to see who she truly is. Over the next few months, I learned more about Crystal and was able to get to know her better. When I meet someone who is genuinely interested in what I have to say or what I think, I feel my own spirit lighten. It’s a wonderful feeling. I suspect Crystal brings that out in everyone she meets.

What fascinated me most about her?

Being in Crystal’s presence feels as if I’ve been given permission to experience pure joy.

Thank you, my dear friend.


Broken but not Dead. Joylene’s private collection.

I have a good news too – my psychological thriller Matowak: Woman Who Cries (sequel to Broken But Not Dead) will be released in October by my new publisher Dancing Lemur Press Llc! 

How can people get hold of you and buy your books?
Award winning Author of Broken But Not Dead and Dead Witness, hardcopy and ebook 

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” Standing Bear


25 thoughts on “She has found the magic question to get anyone out of their deepest abyss – Interview with the award winning published author Joylene Nowell Butler

    • You are so welcome dear Joylene! Thank you for your support and fun with words, time and guacamole! Hope all goes well with your launch and pls share the article with as many as you can personally as well! Lets get the word out there!Hugs from Mexico!

  1. Congratulations Jo! Can’t wait to read your new book. I always brag that my cousin is an author :). Love and miss you, Joan

    • Thanks Joan for your comment. Please share the article, so we can get the news about Joylene’s new book spread faster!

  2. Reading this interview is like a walk down memory lane…with a twist. My first sight of 13 year old Joylene told me this one was an old soul-one I had to hang on to and never let go. I always saw her as extremely talented in anything she put her hand to.

    • Thank you Judi. I have been so blessed to get to know Joylene in person a bit. She has been a blast and a great support. I almost feel like my literature teacher appeared with her;) Glad you enjoyed it and have been there for her! Please share the article with as many as you can!

  3. Such a privilege to be invited to read this story-like form of interview. It’s free-flow totally captures one’s attention and allows for total immersion. Thank you to both interviewer and interviewee for this open concept.

  4. What an amazing and inspiring interview! I learned things I never knew about Joylene, about her past, her family, and her determination to be published. I also found many things we have in common. (My middle name is Stubborn, too!) Her advice on getting rid of bad thoughts and unproductive attitudes is great! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks to both Joylene and Crystal! 🙂

    • That is good that you learned new things Lexa, as this is the point with the interviews – to inspire and underess the person layer by layer with the in-depth questions. I think we were a good team to make it happen. Thanks for the comment and your support!

    • Thank you Lisa. Joylene has often times commented my vulnerability and I think we both have learned through pain how precious quality this is and how you can make it work for you the best way you can;) Thanks for your time to read and comment this!

  5. Crystal and Joylene, thank you for a wonderful interview! It was great getting to know you better, Joylene. You are an inspiration. 🙂 Wishing you well with your upcoming book.

    • Thank you Karen. It is lovely to hear that you enjoyed it too! I wish Joylene also so much luck with the new book.

  6. Congrats Joylene!

    Brilliant interview. It looks like you and I have very similar views about happiness and money. 🙂

  7. Funny, I was just thinking of dying my hair purple last week. I don’t actually have the guts to do it (no guts to cut my hair either) but I want a picture if you go through with it.

    I loved getting to know more about you Joylene, and nice to meet you Crystal.

    • Thanks for the comment and nice to meet you too! If you do the hair change, share your picture too!;)

  8. So nice learning all this stuff about you, Joylene. I feel privileged to have a look inside your mind. Like your take on money and not worrying about stuff. It never does us any good. Loss is another thing that we learn from, but way, way in the future. Be blessed.

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