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Utah authoress has a passion for dairy youth

Published on 09 April 2009

Robyn Buttars of Lewiston, Utah, has been writing and composing music for more than 13 years. When she reached a special birthday milestone in her life, she decided it was time to take her writing to the next level.

“About when I turned 40, I thought, ‘I want to write a book,’” she says. “So I just decided it was time to do it.”

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Since then, Buttars has written two young adult novels, two adult novels and numerous children’s books. She says most of her ideas for stories involve farming because she believes agriculture is significant to everyone – whether they realize it or not.

“It’s so important to America to have the ability to produce food,” she says. “It’s something we should all be grateful for, and I appreciate it.”

Published work
Buttars’ first published novel, Simply Jenny, is a story about the adventures of a young woman from a dairy farm and was inspired by her own family. Buttars’ husband, Kent, along with their six children, milk about 250 Registered Holsteins on their 400-acre farm.

Buttars believes Jenny’s character can relate to her children as well as agricultural youth across the country.

“Jenny’s character is very realistic about the hard work that has to be done,” she says. “Youth raised on a farm can understand that.”

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In the novel, Buttars says Jenny has the opportunity to compete at the local fair with one of her heifers.

“Young people can identify with wanting to excel – to take an animal and make them look their best to compete with them,” she says.

In real life, Buttars’ family often competes at local and regional dairy shows, and she says it’s something that her husband and her sons truly enjoy. In fact, sometimes she has trouble getting them to think about anything else.

“I always laugh because often times my daughters and I will want to change the topic, but the boys want to discuss a cow and what she looks like and who her granddam was.”

Although Christmas Rose, Buttars’ second novel, is not quite as agriculture-centered as Simply Jenny, she says many of the characters are involved in agriculture.

Christmas Rose, which was released in October 2008, is about a special friendship that spans generations.

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Balancing writing and family
In addition to being a mother, a wife and an accomplished authoress, Buttars is a registered nurse with experience in pediatrics and geriatrics. Despite her busy schedule, she is always thinking of topics to write about.

“Most of my ideas seem to come in the middle of the night,” she says. “I have to be sure I get them down on paper the next day before I forget them.”

In the past, Buttars has helped with the bookkeeping, but had to focus on her writing as her responsibilities increased. But with six children and a dairy farmer for a husband, distractions come along pretty easily.

“I guess you can just find time for the things you love, and for me, writing is one of those things,” Buttars says.

The challenges of a writer
Getting a novel published is not as easy as it sounds. Once Buttars completed Simply Jenny and Christmas Rose, she needed to find markets that would fit the books.

“It’s a long and time-consuming process, and frequently you’re waiting for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reply,” she says.

In the case of Simply Jenny, Buttars had a particularly difficult time finding a publisher because no other authors seemed to be writing about young adults involved in agriculture.

Buttars is currently working on a sequel to Simply Jenny, which will take Jenny through new challenges and difficult decisions. She is also attempting to get six children’s books published.

Despite the prolonged releases of her work, Buttars remains upbeat.

“It’s taken me a long time to get a book into the marketplace, but it’s very exciting that this time has finally come.”

Buttars believes anyone with a desire to write a novel, and especially women, can do it as long as they are determined enough.

“For me, an idea comes and keeps growing and stays there and bothers me until I put it down on paper,” she says. “If a young woman has those ideas and that desire, I encourage them to go for it and not to give up!”

Source of inspiration
Buttars considers herself lucky to have a never-ending fountain of ideas that come from the world around her.

“I’m so grateful to be able to share things that are valuable to me through my books,” she says.

She believes her life on the farm and the experiences she has had have resulted in the way she writes.

“Because of the influence agriculture has had on my life, many of my books are simple and down-to-earth in an agriculture type of way,” she says.

Her greatest inspiration comes from the relationship between her husband and their children. Even though her children might have complained some about helping with milking chores, Buttars knows they now appreciate it.

“In the long run, one of the greatest assets of a family involved in agriculture is the opportunity for parents to work in a meaningful way with their children.” PD

Buttars’ novels, Simply Jenny and Christmas Rose, are available in stores. Visit www.robynbuttars.com for more information.

Emily Caldwell is a freelance writer in State College, Pennsylvania.

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