Name: Juan J. Gutiérrez
Where are you from: Born in El Paso, Texas but raised in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I grew up in a very poor area of Sunland Park called Anapra, its home to about four or five main families, many of the people where I lived were cousins, uncles and aunts. Everybody knew everybody; it’s very primal but a very close community. Without my precious Sun-Lands I don’t think I would be the person I am today.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The latest thing happening right now is the publishing of three horror anthologies containing my stories. Fear: of the Dark contains my short story “The Amos County Horror.” No Sight for the Saved contains my short-short “Incarnate.” Finally, Cursed Curiosities features my short story “The Music Sphere.”
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It all began with my upbringing really, I have such imaginative family members that the arts are a natural progression. My mother read many books and my father painted. My older brother is a tattoo artist; my nephew is an aspiring musician. Writing was a progression from my high school interests.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In August of 2013, I published five poems and my short-short “Casa Delarosa.” Seeing my name in print beside the many other experienced contributors gave me the funny feeling of authorship.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote my first short story, “Carmine,” in 2008. One night, I walked by a pile of bricks stacked on the yard of an abandoned house. My mind’s eye saw a winged creature with large red eyes, hissing at me. Of course, I imagined all this but that image really stuck with me. I returned home and put to ink the tale. Over the course of three years in changed many times until I was finally happy with the result.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I adopted, over time, a very Howardian style. By that, I mean Robert E. Howard. His stories always feature protagonists that stand up to the threat instead of going insane like a Lovecraftian character. I guess some residual branding from my Texas birth just flows through my quill. Beyond that, it’s all about atmosphere.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Carmine was actually suggested by a friend. I originally called the tale, “It,” but he felt that Stephen King had written a better work of fiction and that I try to stay as original as I could.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Growing up is not the privilege that it may seem. Many people wish to grow up, but with age come responsibilities and the drawing of the veil so to speak.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I’d say about 40 % is realistic and the rest is real inside my mind.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Events in my own life definitely. I married young (at 19) and thought everything was going to be easy but I met the carmine-eyed devil called responsibility with its fangs and talons and they sunk in deep!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, Louis L’Amour’s Riding for the Brand and Robert E. Howard’s Waterfront Fists and Others. You have the Dark Fantasy, Frontier Stories and Sports Fiction, all containing elements, which find a way into my fiction.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Brian Barnett fits the bill. He has given me advice in fiction, and editing. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Currently reading, Robert E. Howard’s People of the Dark.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not really, I’ve been reading many authors that are new to me but have been writing for the better part of the decade. I’m one of the new authors, ha ha.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently editing two anthologies. A sword and sorcery anthology dedicated to the memory of Robert E. Howard, called, “Barbarian Crowns” and an anthology about weapons in all forms, called, “Devil’s Armory.” Both are my brainchildren.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
An independent press called Static Movement. Through it I met many of the people I am currently working with in my upcoming projects.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
In my dreams, yes! I would love to stay at home and enjoy time with my family while expressing myself through fiction. For now, I do it for the love.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In my latest story, The Devil, a steampunk venture, I would change not one thing. It’s one of the first things I’ve written that is outside my comfort zone yet has everything I ever wanted in a story.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was in a black metal band called Forlorn Decay through my high school life. Being the vocalist and lyricist, I believe those interests transferred easily into poetry writing and eventually writing fiction.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes here is an excerpt:
A blond man with thin, round glasses sat at his dinner table drinking hot black tea and reading his newspaper. Outside his apartment, the overcast night sky roared with thunder. The lights flickered then went out. He looked around, lost in the blackness.
“Frederick Maledon…” said the darkness.
“Who’s there?” he shouted.
Suddenly, from the shadows, someone threw a glowing card in front of him. XX JUDGEMENT. Depicted on the face of the card was an airy angel blasting the trumpet of the apocalypse; awakening the dead from a city of tombs.
“You know too much I hear …” the voice came from all directions.
“What … what do you think I know?” he asked, trembling.
“What are you talking about?”
A deep breathing came from behind him, “There is a trail of whispers leading to you. I have followed. Where is R.I.D.E.L.?”
“I don’t care who you are or what you think I know but–”
“Do you see the card?”
“The Judgement card can mean many things but I assure you it is your card. I know you do not believe in Magik. I know Gavril has a hold on you, and you fear his wrath but this card will change that. For you, this card means Rebirth and The moment to account for the manner in which we have used our opportunities.
“Your friend, Gavril Princip, has told you of the facility in question.”
Frederick roared with laughter, “Really? I know no such things. I work for Illusion Inc. and you assume I am evil. They are working to build upon the ruins of man; to better this world.”
“Ruins we crawl upon as a result of their creations, built by their black hands.”
Frederick simply answered the voice in the dark with nervous laughter. Hidden beneath the table, secured within a holster, Frederick grasped the stock of a Smith & Wesson Triple Lock. Thunder crashed beyond the curtain and a flash of lightning momentarily illuminated the room.
“I wouldn’t …”
The room became dark and the laughter stopped. As Frederick unsheathed his revolver, he stood and spun firing into the darkness. Within the flash of the first shot, a shadow moved to the right. Frederick followed shooting three more times, each shot barely grazing the swift specter. Aiming across the table, Frederick smiled, as he knew the shadow’s death was imminent. Suddenly, yellow lightning shot from the glowing tarot card on the table, striking Frederick’s hands. The smell of burnt flesh filled the apartment.
“Sit down Frederick!” hissed the voice.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Adapting to open markets. Sometimes I can’t write what I want because no one has an interest. I look for anthologies that have something that interests me and I conform my imagination to the guidelines. But I feel like these ventures actually make me a better writer. I learn something new about myself through these stories and I’m able to transfer the experience to my passions.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Robert E. Howard is hands down my favorite author. He wrote so much in his short life. the stories he wrote were filled with a life that has not been captured since. I don’t want to be the next REH I’m just a fan and I’m hoping to one day be the next JJG.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No everything is just a click away now. I write about the things I know and the things I see in my dreams or nightmares.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
On nearly all the anthologies I’ve been a part of, Stephen Cooney has painted the covers, with input from the editor.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing for my latest project was the WW1 research I had to do. I had to find some way to connect a neutral Spaniard to the conflicts of the Great War.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
On writing my first short story, I learned to let the characters tell me what was next.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Seek out resources through any means, I once scorned Facebook and now look at me, I’m doing an interview for someone I met in Facebook. Crazy!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Stretch and use your imagination muscles. Eventually writing will be muscle memory, responding on it’s own accord.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love collecting coins, of all kinds. Foreign, America, ancient, new! I inherited my grandfather’s coin collection and have since tripled the collection finding coins at work.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Walking Dead, Hannibal and this last one might surprise people but I fucking love it Teen Wolf.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food-Pizza, Colors-Black and Red (sexy and powerful), Music-at the heart Metal but pretty much anything that sounds good to me.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I wish, I was a professional wrestler or rock star.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
No blog, no website just my Facebook author page: