Today we're interviewing R.S. Guthrie, author of Black Beast--a paranormal thriller set in Denver, Colorado. Leave a comment to be entered to win an e-copy of Black Beast and LOST.
Hey, R.S.!! It’s good to see you! Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I grew up in Iowa and Wyoming, so I’m a bit of a small town guy. But I’ve lived in L.A. and Denver since my twenties, so my writing covers all that ground. I’m a family guy and our dogs (3 Aussies and one little Chihuahua who thinks she’s an Aussie) are like our kids.
What does R stand for?
If you believe the AKC documentation for our first Aussie (and the subsequent emails I get from them), it stands for Rolo. I think my parents intended Robert (and I go by Rob).
How do you carve out time to write?
That’s a tough one because it feels sometimes like all there is to carve with is a dull spoon. I’m like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption…it’ll take me twenty years to carve out enough time to do all the writing I need to do (and another twenty to write it)!
Which book are we talking about today and what is it about?
Well we were supposed to be talking about Dark Prairies, a crime novel set in Wyoming, but remember that dull spoon we were talking about? I’m not quite ready for release (two weeks), so we’ll talk about the first in my two (soon to be three) book series featuring Denver Detective Bobby Mac. In Black Beast the reader gets to first meet a character they will no kidding fall in love with (I always say “guys want to be him, ladies want to be with him”). In all seriousness, I’ve actually had a writer friend who professes love for Bobby.
In Black Beast, Bobby catches a double-homicide with some strange twists that turn out to be a little bit further into the “unknown” than he’s ever been willing to go. He discovers a family heritage, however, that will change everything for the detective. It’s a fast-paced page-turner.
What inspired this book?
Bobby Mac’s character has been inside me, waiting to be written for over a decade. He once lived in Seattle, also Portland, L.A., and Phoenix. He ended up in Denver because that’s where I had settled once I finally decided to sit down and write the dang novel.
Tell us something about your characters that we wouldn’t be able to figure out by reading the book.
Bobby Mac is a total mama’s boy. In the book he’s tough-but-tender, but you’d never guess how much he misses his mother.
Is there a book 4 in the works? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Book three, which will hopefully be out by the end of the summer, will tie up the supernatural tangent Bobby’s been on through books one and two. But YES, there will be a book four (and beyond) as Bobby gets back more into the detective grind in Denver with some really cool cases.
Where can readers purchase your book?
May we read an excerpt from the book?
WHY DO we let the bad times rent space in our heads? It’s something I’ve never been that good at: letting the ugliness slide off me like watershed—off the duck’s back and all that.
In fact, for me, the pain builds up over time—like a splinter left unattended under your thumbnail. You try to ignore it; pay no attention to it. But without thinking, your other fingers pick at it. Squeeze it. Scratch the itch.
And after a while—over a period of days or weeks or even years—this small, seemingly insignificant prickle has become swollen and infected and full of bad juice. It’s then the pain begins to swallow up the better things in life.
I’m not proud of my failure in this area. Most would say I should’ve long ago unloaded to some shrink from the comfort of a leather couch. But that kind of release is no good for me.
It doesn’t work—I clam up.
Even though I realize letting things pile up in my head is no winning strategy for any person, much less for a cop, I still can’t share such personal insights with a complete stranger. Unfortunately, there are a great many things stacked up in there—like a multi-car pileup on a foggy highway.
It’s also my theory that too many shrinks have a rosy, optimistic view of the world; they come at you from a singsong vantage that just doesn’t ring true.
I’m not saying Nietzsche had it right. God is not dead. But at least Friedrich wasn’t running through the flower patch, dancing like a deranged idiot, or climbing the twelve steps to enlightenment.
Speaking of God, I know many people who believe we are inherently good—built in his image. I used to feel that way. I used to go to mass and read the passages and bow my head in prayer.
(For the record, few shrinks I know have ever put that much faith in a greater power, much less God himself.)
But when I became a homicide detective, my faith began a slippery descent. I’d seen some pretty awful things when I was on patrol—not the least of which was the murder of my partner—but when I started investigating the crimes; when I began to understand the machinations behind the mayhem—well, let’s just say my faith could only stand so much testing.
Don’t get me wrong. I did not stop believing in God. That would have been easy. Just chalk it up to no one’s home upstairs and call it a day. To me, God is real—just as real as the day I first attended mass with my father and mother.
Now I just hold him less accountable.
What has happened over the years is that I have relinquished a part of my understanding. My grip on the bigger picture has been loosened. No. Loosened doesn’t cover it these days.
Being one hundred percent truthful? It sometimes feels like I’ve lost hold entirely and have entered a kind of spiritual free-fall.
So do I have issues with God?
Has my faith been shaken?
In light of all this, do I still maintain hope?
I have to.
If there is not a bigger picture—if there is no purpose to this lousy existence—I wouldn’t know or understand how to proceed. What thing in life is worth doing if there is no outcome?
So here’s my nutshell—the World According to Macaulay:
God is up there. And he’s tired. He’s so damned tired of it all. He sees the handwriting on the wall—that we can hardly mess it up any more than we already have.
If you’re a parent, then you may know what this helplessness feels like:
You’ve done everything you possibly can to provide for your child. You’ve loved them, clothed them, and procured everything they needed to survive. You’ve even thought about their future—saved for it.
Eventually, however, they don’t care. Not a lot of them, anyway.
Who are you and why are you looking for love, or even respect?
It’s an ugly time, the teenage years. And I think that’s what we’ve become to God:
So do I blame him for turning his back?
But, like a teen, I also find it difficult to admit my culpability.
Where can your readers connect with you on the web?
I’m currently revamping my main website, so it’s kind of a mess. My blog is really the best place to hook up with me (and catch some of my innermost thoughts on writing and other stuff). I’m really good about responding to comments, so come on over to http://robonwriting.comand hang out.
About R.S. Guthrie
R. S. Guthrie has been writing fiction for several years. Black Beast is the first in a series of Clan of MacAulay books featuring Denver Detective Bobby Macaulay. The sequel, L O S T, released on New Year’s Day, 2012 and is now also available on Amazon.
Guthrie is presently working on a Western Crime Novel entitled Dark Prairies, set in his home state of Wyoming. An excerpt was featured in the June 2011 issue of New West Magazine. The full book is scheduled to be released by Summer, 2012.
The author currently lives in Colorado with his wife, three Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she’s a 40-lb Aussie.