Dean Kutzler is a full-time independent author of multiple series in science fiction/fantasy and thriller/mystery. (Well…stay tuned! The sci-fi/fantasy series is coming this fall 2018.) He started out writing thrillers, then realized all the fun he was missing. He has always loved anything involving spaceships or sorcery–twist the two together, even better!
He loves hiking, jogging, and cats. If you believe that, there’s a bridge he has for sale really cheap. The “cats” part is true, but let’s face it, he loves eating. Eating and writing. Sometimes both at the same time.
He’s originally from New York but found his home (and heart) in Philadelphia. GO EAGLES! (Another misnomer. He isn’t into sports but doesn’t want to get beat up. Philadelphians take their Eagles seriously, seriously.)
How did you become interested in writing fiction?
As a young kid, I’d taken an interest in reading. My mother was an avid reader and encouraged me to come to the library with her. She would look for the latest Agatha Christie novels, and I would search for Stephen King—my mother never censored my choices. I’m eternally grateful for that.
In 1976 when I was eight years old, my mother was crying. I asked what was wrong. She said her favorite author, Agatha Christie, had passed away and that she was sad because she’d never write another Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple mystery. She said I was lucky that my favorite, Stephen King was still alive.
I told her that I would become a writer and write mysteries for her, so she didn’t have to be sad. That’s when I really thought about becoming a writer for the first time. My first story was “The Squirrel.”
You write thrillers and sci-fi. What draws you to those two genres?
Well, as I said in the first question, I wanted to write thrillers for my mom. They are in a sense thrilling mysteries that she would have loved if she’d lived to read them. I put a lot of myself in the Jack Elliot Thriller series. I guess that was subconsciously for her.
When I wasn’t reading, I was watching television. Back then I was the channel changer. My mom loved games shows and of course murder-mysteries. I craved all things. She would send me up to her bedroom and suffer changing the channels for herself so that I could watch my shows.
I would lie on my stomach with my head in my hands watching Captain Kirk schmooze alien woman, or Mr. Spock raising an eyebrow at Kirk. My favorite was ‘Beam me up, Scottie!’
I then moved on to The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, Land of the Lost, etc. If it was different, I was all over it.
So I thought to myself: I’m trained to write, right?
The first of your Jack Elliott series, Brownstone, hit #1 on an Amazon best seller list in its first month out. What do you think draws people to this book?
Without giving away the plot, I’d uncovered some little-known facts about Adam and Eve from the Bible. It was the spark that lit the series. I was fascinated and had gotten lost in the research.
I’d wanted to try and recreate what excited me in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I was driven and determined to flesh out the truth. The energy I put into that book is what I think had drawn so many people to read it. I get emails about it every day.
The descriptions of your Jack Elliott series talk about challenging religions. Have you faced backlash against this fact?
Surprisingly, knowing how religious people are, only a handful of fans reached out to me. A few were—let’s just say, not too nice. But the others just politely disagreed, telling me that they did enjoy the book, though.
I was a little shocked when a few organizations that will remain nameless reached out to me in what one might say a slightly threatening manner, telling me to un-publish the book. I expected backlash as you’ve put it, but I was taken aback somewhat.
Your books take readers all over the world (or universe in the case of your space opera). With the exception of your space opera, do you try to visit the places you write about?
Absolutely. I’m a fact fanatic. If I haven’t visited a place, I extensively Google pictures and vacation blogs to get the sight and feel of the location. I actually find it to be a lot of fun. In my mind’s eye, I actually envision the place.
In Jack’s hotel, The Marriott in Times Square, there is a scene with a pool. The Marriott, by the way, is one of my favorite places. Most have pools, but I’d never stayed at this particular hotel. So, I called just to ask if they had a pool. They didn’t. I figured, well…this is a fiction story, so I wrote a sign in the book introducing the newly installed pool!
If I hadn’t, I don’t know how many calls or emails I’d have to entertain.
You have just published a space opera, Kahari: The Scarab Reign. What inspired you to write this book?
I had that ‘ah-ha’ moment. This is blasphemous for me to say, but I guess as a kid, reading and watching, I felt it wasn’t for adults. I know—ridiculous. That is what partially inspired me to write my own Space Opera; that along with the fact that I absolutely love the stuff.
Another reason is that television networks are always canceling the best shows. I’m not alone in this thinking. Millions of people were outraged when they heard The Expanse was going to be cut—so much so that they wrote another season.
I wanted to write a sci-fi series that people would love and could count on being around for quite a few installments. I’ll have control over when it stops, and as long as people are reading, I’ll keep writing.
Tell us about Kahari.
The protagonist is a strong, female lead. A badass-bish if you will! The story is set thousands of years in the future. Earth has long since given up her resources, and people now live on a similar planet called Aurailia.
Long ago, a man discovered a clean source of energy flowing through the universe called universal power; an energy that could freely be tapped into by anyone.
Life went on using this clean source of power, saving the planets until one day this alien race called the Scarab shut it down. Think about our present day if someone took away our energy source. It would be catastrophic. Transportation would cease; hospitals would soon run out of power, etc.
The Scarab went as far as banning the use of fossil fuels so that people had no choice but to buy universal power. They didn’t want money; they wanted slaves. Slaves to mine gold for them to make their machines and weapons since gold was harmful to their touch. If a human touched gold, it was like taking the charge away and making it safe for them.
Saren Thorn, Commander of the first class federation warship, Avenger, had illegally saved up enough fossil fuels to start her own revolution. It wasn’t long before her ship was commandeered and she was abandoned on the mysterious planet Kahari.
Armed with only a wristcom, Saren must get off Kahari and save her ship and crew. Part of that crew was her daughter.
You have written Valentine’s Day Surprise, a romantic thriller. What made you turn towards romance from plain thrillers?
Actually, Vicki, I haven’t finished that book yet. Sorry, I need to update my website. I literally stopped to write The Scarab Reign series. Valentine’s Day Surprise started out as a free short story that I was going to give away. I was so intrigued by the facts I had uncovered that the story needed to be full length.
The book is about 75% done, and it tells the hidden story of Saint Valentine. I’m really excited about this book and cannot wait to get back to it. I’ve done something that I’ve never done before. I’ve written the book in two timelines. Present day and back in 67 AD. It was a challenge (and a lot of research), but I was really loving writing it. Once I’m finished publishing the first three books in the Scarab Reign, I will immediately get back to Valentine’s Day Surprise.
You have had special editors. Tell us about them.
Yang, my faithful editor of 25 years, passed away in 2013, and his brother, Ying, shortly followed thereafter. They were the best cats a man could ever ask for and they spent 25 years with me. I guess that says something.
Xena, new to the publishing house, is no Yang, but her insights into the life of catnip are beyond reproach! She’s still young. In a few years, she’ll be Grammar-Nazi-ing with the best of them!
When Xena misses something, then the following people catch my errors:
Julie Larson – Editing, it’s kinda her thing. She was inspirational t5o me. Her medical knowledge shaped some important scenes in the book, as well as her grasp of the English language. She’s not only amazing, she’s amazingly fast!
Paul Melendez – he’s got one of the keenest eyes I’ve ever seen. He catches everything and does great developmental editing to offer, as well as a great hawk eye for detail.
What authors have most influenced your writing career?
This is probably the hardest question of all since there are just so many authors that have influenced me! I’ll start with the early ones, then blend into the newer ones. Stephen King, first and foremost, Dean Koontz (earlier works), Anne Rice, Graham Masterton, Ray Bradbury, James Rollins, J.F. Penn, Chris Fox, Martha Carr, Michael Anderle, and that is just to name a few. I could go on and on.