Tag Archives: authors

Author Interview: Bonita Gutierrez and Camilla Ochlan

When I invited the writing team and  co-founders of Empyream Press how they would describe themselves.  Bonita and Camila  replied: We write urban fantasy on the brink.  Please welcome this dynamic duo to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, Wendy. Thank you for allowing us to share our work with your readers. We’re Bonita Gutierrez and Camilla Ochlan, co-founders of Empyrean Press.

We first met each other in college in a production of Three Penny Opera. And after college (ahem…many years later), we reconnected in Los Angeles. It was during this time that we really got to know each other. We discovered that we were kindred fangirls, sharing a love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. Deeply layered characters, biting humor, and devastating consequences are our kind of storytelling. So naturally, we wanted to work together.

Flash forward eight years, and we’re knee-deep in our third book in The Werewolf Whisperer series (There are three novellas as well).

When and why did you begin writing?

Camilla: I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Bonita: Though I always had stories in my head, I never thought about writing as a career. I was always more interested in acting. On stage, in front of the camera, that’s where my heart resided. It wasn’t until my screenwriter husband encouraged me to write my own scripts and get my own work out into the world that I entertained the idea of becoming a writer. But I don’t think I actually considered myself a writer until midway through writing our second novel, The Alpha & Omega: Book 2 of The Werewolf Whisperer. I knew we had an exciting story, and the fact that I’d helped breathe life into it, made me realize that I was actually good at this writing thing. That’s when I started calling myself an author.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Under our Empyrean Press banner, we are finishing the third main novel in our Werewolf Whisperer series — BLOOD & BONES. We’re damn excited about this story.

Our girls Lucy and Xochi have been on quite a ride. BLOOD & BONES brings this part of their journey to a shocking conclusion. Lots of devastating consequences. But Lucy and Xochi’s story is far from over. They still have a lot of roads to travel. Be on the lookout for BLOOD & BONES in the late fall.

What inspired you to write this book?

Bonita: Camilla’s inspiration for THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER came on the set of her short film, Dog Breath. The story forming in her head involved a “werewolf apocalypse” and a cop whose special knack for training dogs turns into a bizarre knack for commanding werewolves. I thought it was an awesome idea.

Originally, THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER was conceived as a web series. We even wrote the first thirteen episodes of season one. We had every intention of shooting the series, but as the Werewolf Whisperer world grew, so did the budget. As is often the case in show biz, our imaginations had exceeded our means. But we didn’t let that get in our way. We had a story to tell, so we got to work translating the web series into a novel series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Since our background is in theater, film and television, our writing leans toward the cinematic — visual and action-packed. We are both very interested in exploring the inner journeys of our main characters, unwinding psychology, letting them grow.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Camilla: THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER just popped into my head. It was as if it had always been.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Evolve or die.

But really, we just want to tell a good story. So, when we hear things like this from readers: “non-stop, action packed”, “a thrill ride”, “unexpected, not your typical werewolf story”, “destined to be a classic”, “really cinematic” — we feel like we’ve done our job.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Bonita: There’s something of both of us in all our books. That being said, Xochitl Magaña is mostly based on me. I’m a person of mixed race, and that informs a big part Xochi’s character. So, peppering the story with a bit of my life experience was a no-brainer.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Bonita: Writers of all mediums (film, television, comics, books) have influenced me at one point or another. I’m especially drawn to writers who create deeply flawed characters. I love anti-heroes. Humans are imperfect creatures. It’s what makes us interesting.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Camilla: Ray Bradbury. His poetry hits me right in the heart. His stories are unforgettable.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Our covers are designed by Christian Bentulan of Covers by Christian. For marketing purposes, we needed our covers to say “Urban Fantasy,” and an author friend of ours recommended Christian to us. But our title page’s art was designed by Bonita’s cousin, Richard “Rico” Rodriguez. The concept mashes the work of Frank Frazetta with DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. We call it our “Vitruvian Wolf.”

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 and re-writing and re-writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

We work to push our storytelling to a deeper level, more real, more psychological. We see greater possibilities in the urban fantasy genre – beyond the expected and comfortable.
We want our books to shred the usual tropes and leave them huddled in the corner crying for mommy.

Camilla Ochlan & Bonita GutierrezWerewolf Whisperer
Los Angeles, California


Cover Artist: Christian Bentulan
Publisher:  Empyrean Press






No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Labor Day to all my American readers.  This week I have a great list of writers links for you to enjoy.  This time the focus is more on general writing tips, but there are a few about publishing and books stores too.  I hope you like them!  Have a great holiday!

Succeed as a Professional Writer by Practicing Disciplined Creativity

SFF Works That Avoid Violent Solutions

How to Use Skeleton Outlines to Write Faster

A Fantasy Word List

Have Your Characters Say What You Wish You’d Said

Why Structures Like The Hero’s Journey Don’t Work

Coronavirus Lockdown Lessons for Authors

The Demise of the Second-Hand Bookshop

A Confederacy of Authors

How to Survive a Pandemic, According to an Academic Publisher


No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome back to another Monday of No Wasted Ink Writers Links.  This is a top-ten list of articles of interest to writers of science fiction and fantasy genre.  I hope you find them as interesting as I did.  Enjoy your week!

Amazon Editorial Reviews: Are You Using This Incredible Section?

Sci-Fi Tip: Futuristic Construction Technologies

Beyond Rome: Infrastructure in Ancient Civilizations

Convention Etiquette For Pros & Panelists

Writing Hacks: Keyboard Shortcuts

Building Arrakis: How Herbert Sabotaged His Own Ideas

History for Fantasy Writers: On Tree-Wrights and Others

It’s Time to Radically Rethink Online Book Events

Digital Printing: The New Normal

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Inks Writers links. This is a top ten list of writing articles for the science fiction and fantasy genre. Most of these are general writing links or articles to help with research. I hope you enjoy them!

Getting Married in the Middle Ages

How to Use Mind Mapping for Better Writing

Make Your Own Book of Spells: How to Use Grimoires and Unholy Scrolls from Ancient Tombs

Museums in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Why Fantasy and Science Fiction?

10 Ways to Be an Environmentally-Friendly Writer

Do a Best Day and Worst Day For Your Characters

Five Cool Storylines That Went Nowhere

Deity as Celebrity — Crafting a Myth Cycle

Navigating (and Writing in) a Corona-Colored World

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome back to another writers links here at No Wasted Ink.  This week there are writing tips as usual, but I found a few good resource articles and one on the benefits of journaling that I feel are worth taking a look at.  Enjoy your week!

17 of the Most Devious Sci-Fi and Fantasy Villains

The Importance of Good Fantasy Art

Big Brother is Watching: Surveillance Technology and Privacy

Is Science Fiction Bad For Us?

The 3 Acts of a Writer’s Life–Or How Your Age Affects Your Writing

Making A Living At Writing

The Hack’s Guide to Writing while the Kids are at Home

No Secrets. No Gimmicks. No Short Cuts. A Writer’s Guide to Patience, Practice, and Persistence

My Journal in the Days of COVID

Marathons, Sprints, and Pounces: 3-Tiered Approach to Book Launches