Author Interview: Camilla Ochlan & Bonita Gutierrez

Welcome to my blog interview with novelists, Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez, authors of THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER SERIES.

Camilla Ochlan grew up on fantasy and fairy tales, finding David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Mercedes Lackey early on. To thedismay of her parents, she spent her high school weekends playing Dungeons & Dragons. College split her time between Theatre Arts and English Literature.

Camilla still occasionally acts but focuses the majority of her time, energy and (in)sanity on writing. Her interests revolve around activities that add to her writer’s toolbox — travel, the arts and voracious reading.

Bonita Gutierrez found her way to the stage at the early age of five. After college, she moved to Los Angeles to get into “The Biz.” Over the years, she’s played many roles from actor to producer, screenwriter to filmmaker — and now novelist.

A mixed martial artist, Bonita has a background in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee’s art), Kenpo Karate MMA and Kali Escrima (stick and knife fighting). An avid runner, student of film and lover of music, Bonita is a self-proclaimed hamburger connoisseur with a passion for all things Star Wars and Buffy.

 

Hello, Camilla and Bonita,

What inspired you to write your first book?

Bonita: Camilla pitched me the idea after being inspired by the dog trainer on the set of her award-winning short film, Dog Breath. She said what if there was a “werewolf apocalypse” and a cop who happens to be good with dogs turned out to be even better with werewolves? Of course, I thought it was an awesome idea. Actually, Camilla had me at the title. I laughed out loud and said let’s do this.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

Camilla: The Werewolf Whisperer is a genre bender because it has elements of urban fantasy and science fiction with an edge of dark humor. We used to describe the story as a cross between Shaun of the Dead and Supernatural, but as the series progresses, there’s also a healthy dose of Planet of the Apes.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Bonita: Well, since we’re a writing team, scheduling gets a little more tricky. Camilla teaches and I run my entertainment business from home, so being in the same room together doesn’t always happen. Thank Apple for FaceTime. We do a lot of online chatting. But we do try to be physically in the same place at least one day a week. That’s when we go over chapters and split up the next week’s work.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Camilla: The first book took us a little over a year, but we built up to writing the novel by writing a web series. We were actually just a couple of actresses who wanted to create a project to act in. We’d both written scripts, so the web series was a natural progression from acting to writing and producing. What is more unusual is that, once we realized our story had outgrown our budget, we didn’t scrap the idea and move on. We buckled down and wrote the first novel. So it was really more like a year and half between conception and publication.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Bonita Gutierrez

Bonita: I didn’t know I’d be a writer let alone a novelist. Acting, directing, producing has always been my focus and still are part of my career life. My husband is a screenwriter and encouraged me to write my own scripts, to get my own work out into the world, which I did. I wrote, produced and acted in my award-winning short Cantar, inspired by the struggles my father went through as a singer back in the 60’s. That film launched my writing. But it wasn’t until Camilla suggested that we turn The Werewolf Whisperer series into a novel that I even entertained the idea of becoming an author.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

Camilla: Neil Gaiman. I’ve loved his books all along, but now I look at his work — especially how American Gods is translating to TV — and, in that As Good As It Gets kind of way, he makes me want to be a better writer. To be that free and bold. I think it takes unbelievable confidence to write like that. And, I am sure, he is wicked smart.

What book are you reading now?

Camilla: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. It’s a fantastic read. Completely engrossing. It’s a flintlock fantasy with a detailed magic system, great political intrigue and awesome characters. I admire McClellan’s ability to infuse tremendous world building into the story seamlessly. It’s masterful.

What are your current projects? 

Camilla Ochlan

Camilla: We are working on the third full-length novel in the Werewolf Whisperer series, and I am also getting ready to launch Night’s Gift, the first book in my new Young Adult fantasy series.

Bonita: Oh, and we’re also getting ready to break a new YA urban fantasy series that we hope will be out late next year.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Bonita: True, writing is hard. But I’ve found getting our books to the readers harder. Marketing is a full-time job. From creating books covers to writing book blurbs, finding what resonates with our readers is a huge learning curve. It’s a process that’s constantly changing. So, we have to be constantly learning.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Bonita: Write and keep writing until you finish the story. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. Writing is re-writing. So, you can always make the work better. And when the words don’t come (which is an inevitability with writing), write down anything that pops into your head. And keep inspired. Read; listen to music, watch movies or TV. Or if you’re like me, jog. (I’m serious. I get some of my best ideas running down the street, huffing and puffing. I often stop mid-jog and text Camilla my ideas. She thinks it’s hysterical. But it works!) You never know where your inspiration will come from, so be open. And above all…Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re not spewing out 2,000 words a day.

 

THIS OR THAT—The Speed Round

Camilla

Reading or writing? Love both
Writing during the night or writing during the day? Day
Writing from home or someplace else? Home
Reading a ebook or print? Both
Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? Both
Weather: Hot or Cold? Hot
Music or Silence? Music
Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? Retellings
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
The Beach or The Mountains? Mountains
The World being taken over my zombies or sexy blood sucking vampires? Vamps
Time travel to the future or past? Future
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? Fly
Bookmark or Dog eared? Bookmark
1st character POV or 3rd character POV? 3rd
City or Country? Country
Pen or Pencil? Pen
Polk-a-dots or Stripes? Dots
Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles
Books or Movies? Book
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Elbows the size of pumpkins or knees the size of watermelons? Knees

 

Bonita

Which do you prefer – Reading or writing? Can’t do one without the other
Writing during the night or writing during the day? Day
Writing from home or someplace else? Home
Reading a ebook or print? Both
Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? On-line
Weather: Hot or Cold? Hot
Music or Silence? Music
Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? Retellings
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
The Beach or The Mountains? Beach
The World being taken over my zombies or sexy blood sucking vampires? Vamps
Time travel to the future or past? Future
Facebook or twitter? Facebook
Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? Fly
Bookmark or Dog eared? Bookmark
1st character POV or 3rd character POV? 3rd POV
City or Country? City
Pen or Pencil? Pen
Polk-a-dots or Stripes? Stripes
Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles
Books or Movies? Movies
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Elbows the size of pumpkins or knees the size of watermelons? Elbows

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

The Werewolf Whisperer Series

Website: http://www.werewolfwhisperer.com

Beasty Bites Newsletter

Facebook

Twitter: @wwwhisperer

Camilla Ochlan

Twitter: ‪@CamillaOchlan

The Seething Brain Blog

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Instagram

Google+

Bonita Gutierrez

Twitter: @BonitzMG

Bonita’s Geeky Blog-Fu! Blog

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Instagram

Google +

Book Links

The Werewolf Whisperer Book 1

The Alpha & Omega Book 2

¡Feliz Navidad! Novella 1

Beast Out Of Hell Novella 2

The Seventh Lane (mythpunk, not Werewolf series, stand alone audiobook)

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