Jim Butcher (born in Independence, Missouri, United States, on October 26, 1971) is a New York Times Best Selling author most known for his contemporary fantasy book series The Dresden Files. He also writes the Codex Alera series. Butcher grew up as the only son of his parents, and has two older sisters. He currently lives in Independence with his wife, Shannon K. Butcher (an author of romance novels), one son, and his guard dog, Frostbite Doomreaver MacBane Butcher.
While he was sick with strep throat as a child, Butcher's sisters introduced him to The Lord of the Rings and The Han Solo Adventures novels to pass the time, thus beginning his fascination with fantasy and science fiction. As a teenager, he completed his first novel and set out to become a writer. After many unsuccessful attempts to enter the traditional fantasy genre (he cites J. R. R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and C.S. Lewis, among others, as major influences), he wrote the first book in The Dresden Files...about a professional wizard in modern-day Chicago...as an exercise for a writing course in 1996 at the age of 25.
For two years, Butcher floated his manuscript amongst various publishers before hitting the convention circuit to make contacts in the industry. After meeting Butcher in person, Ricia Mainhardt, the agent who discovered Laurell K. Hamilton, agreed to represent him, kick-starting his writing career. However, Butcher and Mainhardt have since parted ways; Jennifer Jackson is his current agent. Since becoming published, Butcher has written two series: The Dresden Files and Codex Alera. Codex Alera has ended after six novels and The Dresden Files are still ongoing; he has also written a Spider-Man novel, entitled The Darkest Hours, released on June 27, 2006. In addition, he contributed a short story for publication in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding with Charlaine Harris and Sherrilyn Kenyon, among others, released in October 2006. He has since contributed to the anthologies Many Bloody Returns in September 2007 and My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon in December 2007. In October 2008, he released another short story in Blood Lite and a novelette, Backup, illustrated by Mike Mignola.
The Dresden Files series
Six months after Butcher was signed by Mainhardt, Storm Front, the first novel in The Dresden Files, was picked up by ROC for publishing. It was released as a paperback in April 2000. Fool Moon followed nine months later on January 1, 2001, and the third book, Grave Peril, appeared on store shelves in September of that year. Thereafter, the release schedule slowed, with Summer Knight appearing on September 3, 2002. The fifth and sixth books, Death Masks and Blood Rites, appeared in August 2003 and 2004, respectively. Coinciding with the release of Blood Rites, Butcher published a Harry Dresden short story, entitled Restoration of Faith, on his website, chronicling Harry's life before The Dresden Files as a private eye for Ragged Angel Investigations. In December 2004, the Science Fiction Book Club picked up the first three novels in the series for release in a hardcover omnibus edition entitled Wizard for Hire for a March—April 2005 rush release in order to arrive on store shelves before the seventh novel in May.
Dead Beat, released on May 3, 2005, was the first hardback release in the series by ROC. Unprecedented demand led the initial run of 15,000 copies to sell through to stores in just three days, and the book immediately went into a second printing to prevent supply problems. A second omnibus edition, called Wizard by Trade and containing Summer Knight and Death Masks, appeared in early 2006, followed by Proven Guilty on May 2, 2006, the same day as the paperback edition of Dead Beat. Proven Guilty quickly climbed to #21 on the New York Times Best Seller List and #91 on the USA Today list. A third omnibus release from the Science Fiction Book Club entitled Wizard at Large and containing Blood Rites and Dead Beat was released in November 2006.
A ninth book from ROC, White Night, was released on April 3, 2007, following closely on the heels of a February paperback release for Proven Guilty. White Night reached the top five of the New York Times Best Seller List on an initial run of 100,000 copies. Small Favor, the tenth book in the series, was released April 1, 2008. It debuted at number two on the New York Times Best Seller List, Butcher's highest debut ever, and number three on the USA TODAY best seller list.The eleventh book in the series, "Turn Coat", was released April 7, 2009.The 12th book in the series, "Changes," was released April 6, 2010.The series garners a strong following and is now available in several languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Czech, Polish, German and Mandarin Chinese
The Dresden Files in other media
Audiobooks and game
Due to the popularity of The Dresden Files, Buzzy Media Publishing has released the first four novels as audiobooks in both audio and MP3 CD formats. They are voiced by actor James Marsters. Storm Front was released in July 2002 as an unabridged 8-CD set, with an unabridged 9-CD set of Fool Moon following in August 2003. The Grave Peril audiobook shipped as an unabridged 10-CD set on October 28, 2004, with a free t-shirt bundled with all purchases before December 26, 2004. Summer Knight was released March 31, 2007. All four have since been released in MP3-CD format with fewer discs.
Buzzy Multimedia announced in November 2007 that Penguin Audio had purchased the audio rights to the remaining Dresden Files novels, and the tenth novel, Small Favor, would be next in line for audio treatment. The audio book was released simultaneously with the hardcover April 1, 2008. Jim-Butcher.com reports that Penguin Audio intends to produce and release the remaining novels as soon as James Marsters' schedule allows.
On December 16, 2004 Butcher also inked a deal with Evil Hat Productions to release a role-playing game based on The Dresden Files. The game uses a modified ruleset from Evil Hat's acclaimed Fate RPG.
Television writer and producer Morgan Gendel optioned The Dresden Files in June 2003, paving the way for a film or television release of the series. On April 5, 2004, Sci Fi announced production of a two-hour backdoor pilot film of The Dresden Files based on the events of Storm Front in conjunction with Lions Gate Television and Saturn Films, with Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly set to executive produce. Gendel was listed to write and executive produce the television series, along with Anthony Peckham. Initially, Harry Dresden was listed as "Erik" Dresden, but by the end of 2004 the name had been canned in early drafts of the pilot in favor of Harry.
On October 5, 2005, Variety reported that the television project had been officially greenlit by Sci Fi, with Hans Beimler and Robert Wolfe coming onboard as executive producers with Cage, Golightly, and Gendel. Production of the pilot took place in Toronto, and the original intent was to air the pilot movie in the summer of 2006. In November, the Sci Fi Wire released casting details for the series, with Paul Blackthorne cast as Harry Dresden over James Marsters, who turned down the opportunity to audition because he was unwilling to relocate from Los Angeles. In May 2006, Sci Fi announced an initial purchase of eleven episodes of The Dresden Files and a January 2007 premiere of the two-hour pilot movie. However, the two-hour pilot was not shown, and the show premiered on January 21, 2007 with the episode Birds of a Feather, originally intended to be the third episode. The show garnered mixed reviews
After the season one finale aired on April 15, 2007, fans began a letter campaign in an attempt to have the show renewed. Sci Fi decided not to continue production on the Dresden Files the following August.
The Codex Alera series
After the success of Dresden, Butcher returned to the traditional fantasy genre with his second series, Codex Alera. The series chronicles the life of a young man named Tavi from the Calderon Valley of Alera on the world of Carna. The people of Alera have grown complacent with the trappings of empire (the story is based loosely on the late Roman Empire) and their control of powerful elemental forces known as furies. On March 3, 2003, Jim Butcher announced that Ace won a bidding war against rival publisher Del Rey Books for the rights to the series.
The first novel in the series, Furies of Calderon, was published in hardcover by Ace, and in August 2004, major booksellers began taking pre-orders for an October 5, 2004 release. Furies of Calderon was the first hardcover release for Butcher, and was a significant step forward in transitioning from a part-time to a full-time writer. A paperback version followed in June, 2005, just a month before the release of the second book, Academ's Fury. It was released in paperback on November 28, 2006, with the third novel, Cursor's Fury, following on December 5.
While originally intended to be a six-book series, Codex Alera was initially signed as a trilogy. After the series showed success, Roc agreed to publish three more novels in the Codex Alera series. The fourth novel, Captain's Fury, released December 4, 2007 and peaked at #17 on the New York Times Best Seller List. The fifth novel, Princeps' Fury, was released November 25, 2008 and peaked at #13 on the New York Times Best Seller List. The sixth and final novel, First Lord's Fury, was released on November 24, 2009 and has reached #7 on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Audio rights to the Codex Alera belong to Penguin Audio. Captain's Fury was released in audio format March 27, 2008, read by Kate Reading. Audio versions of the first three books were released in November, 2008. The audio book of Princeps' Fury was released simultaneously with the hardcover.