Mystery, Creativity, and the Black Beast

Black Beast

Black Beast, by R. S. Guthrie

I’m thrilled to have author R.S. Guthrie with us today. Join me as we discuss mystery, horror, creativity, and his first novel, Black Beast, which has been getting rave reviews!

What draws you to write horror and mystery?

One of my favorite authors is John D. MacDonald. His “Travis McGee” series in particular. I love the struggle between good and evil; between the killer and a detective or a hero and a villain. All plots have these elements, but to me a mystery or a good horror story really accentuates this ages old struggle.

So horror raises the stakes in that struggle, because the villain has powers of supernatural proportions, no?

Exactly. Of course, then comes the talisman of some sort—to level the playing field for the hero! Unless, of course, the hero is doomed…

Horror is very popular, judging from the titles in my local video store. What do you think makes it compelling for some many readers?

This book started out in 2001 as a pure mystery/thriller. I grew up idolizing Stephen King. His horror novels were likely one hundred percent formative when it came to my imagination — which is a scary proposition. I dusted off the old idea and infused it with a bit of the horror and occult. I think because of the SK influence, it was inevitable.

The story was with you a long time. That must have allowed you to sink into the metaphors deeply on a conscious and unconscious level.

Yes, although I had already burrowed into another book, which really has been occupying my head for many years. You are right, in any case: the works closest to our heart, that we’ve been wrestling with for years, yield the best bounty.

Tell us about your latest book, “Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel.”

It’s first and foremost intended to be a good weekend read. I like the idea of a book getting to the point. I love the classics, but I know a lot of readers (myself included) that sometimes just want to be entertained. That doesn’t equate to poorly written or without decent plot. I just think there’s nothing wrong with a strong, fast-paced weekend read. It’s the kind of book you want to take with you on a vacation–get away from the mundane rat race for a couple of days!

Your main character, Detective Bobby Macaulay, has experienced many losses. Did you consciously plumb your own experiences in creating him?

Absolutely. Everything I write–fiction, non-fiction, lyrics…even the grocery list–is ultimately plumbed from my own experiences (okay, not the grocery list, but you know what I mean). Here’s what I believe, unequivocally: writers must create their art from their hearts; the words must begin as kindling in the soul. If they don’t, the words are just letters sewn together. They’ll never breathe.

Drawing from the heart makes the writing true. For example, Macaulay discovers heroism in his roots. Why is that significant?

I am intrigued with ancestry. I actually had to be careful in this book. I want the family history of the MacAulay Clan to come out over the series. The significance here is that this family line has been steeped in heroism for centuries. Protectors, engagers–warriors of light against the collection of darkness. Detective Bobby Macaulay discovers there was a preordainment to his chosen career; that in his blood runs a torrent of evolutionary heroism.

What is your approach to the creative process?

I have my inspirational moments. It’s not something that will allow itself to be forced. Creativity is a funny thing; you don’t command it. Creativity sneaks up on you, in its own time. For me, that’s frustrating as heck. When I want to write, I want to write NOW. It just doesn’t work like that for me. I wish I drank more like Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson. Although ultimately things didn’t turn out well for them. Creatively, though? Alcohol doesn’t hurt. In moderation.

Did you look for specific settings in Denver, or did the settings in that area inspire what you wrote?

There’s a familiarity with one’s home city that helps the process. I’m not a Denver native, so I like to choose locations that stick out to me as interesting. Then I like to infuse a little history behind them. Of course, creative license is also nice! Some of my locations are purely imagined.

What inspired you to link proceeds from your books to charitable fund raising?

My wife and I tried for five years in the 2000s to get pregnant. Then we ended up having the most perfect, healthy boy, just when we thought it wasn’t in the cards. Brody was born on Christmas Day…it just doesn’t get any more miraculous than that in my book! Two months later, Brody died in his sleep. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A diagnosis that is no diagnosis at all.

One of the ways we survived was through fund raising for the cause. As time went on, I just felt compelled to keep branching out in Brody’s memory. We’ll never have a future with him, but doing important things in his name helps to build a positive legacy for his memory.

My new site, Read a Book, Make a Difference, stems from my decision to donate proceeds of my books to a cause. Authors giving back. The way I see it, we were blessed with what talents we have. I never want to take that for granted. Giving back–paying it forward–is something I wish everyone would feel inspired to do.

What is one question you’ve always wished someone would ask?

Nice one! I suppose the question I would like to be asked is the same one that wakes me up in the middle of the night: why are we here? I know there are a million different opinions, but I’d like to think most of us could agree that there must be a purpose. I’ve spent a lot of time since losing my son, trying to understand the bigger picture. One answer that I have discovered: none of us should wait until tragedy strikes to find out.

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the blogosphere. It’s been a pleasure talking with you!

The pleasure is all mine, Peter! I really appreciate you having me. Next time could you at least warm up the coffee, though?

I’ll be bringing a hot vat of it to Melissa Foster’s book party, launching her new novel COME BACK TO ME (see details below!). Meanwhile, you can learn more about R. S. Guthrie on his website,

R. S. Guthrie

and here’s a synopsis of BLACK BEAST:

Decorated Denver Detective Bobby Macaulay has faced down a truckload of tragedy over recent years. The death of his partner; the loss of his own leg in the line of duty; the companionship of his beloved wife to cancer; his faith in God to his inner demons.

After the man who ruined his leg and killed his first partner is executed, Macaulay becomes the lead detective investigating the Sloan’s Lake murders. The method of killing in this double-homicide is so heinous it leads Macaulay and his partner down an ever-darkening path—one that must be traversed if they are to discover the evil forces behind the slaughter.

Just when Bobby Macaulay is questioning the very career that has been his salvation, he will discover a heroic history buried within his own family roots: The Clan MacAulay—a deep family lineage of protectors at the very core of a millenniums-long war against unimaginable evil. “Black Beast” is the first in a series of Clan of MacAulay novels—a stellar first outing for new author R.S. Guthrie. The book is a page-turner that avoids meandering, written with tight prose that keeps the action flowing. The reader is taken inside the heart and mind of a common hero who will make you believe in good again—Macaulay is a believable, flawed character with whom each of us can relate and for whom each of us will cheer.

Buy Black Beast Now




Join R. S. Guthrie and 35 other authors for the 99¢ Book Event,

in celebration of the release of award-winning,

bestselling author Melissa Foster’s


Tues., Nov. 1 – Thurs., Nov 3.


ebook giveaways, and more!


Come Back To Me Launch Party!

Come Back To Me Launch Party!

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