Author profile: John Paul Jaramillo, author of The House of Order Stories

A native of Southern Colorado, John Paul Jaramillo now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University, and presently holds the position of Associate Professor of English at Lincoln Land Community College.

His writing has been featured in Acentos ReviewCopper Nickel Review, Antique Children Arts Journal, Fogged Clarity Arts JournalDigest Magazine, Verdad Magazine, Polyphony Online, Paraphilia Magazine, Sleet Magazine and forthcoming in Palabra Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art. 

He's the author of the short story collection, The House of Order, published by Anaphora Literary Press.

Jaramillo began writing poetry in high school before moving on to short stories in college. “I didn’t think I had many stories to tell,” says the author. “They were mostly my grandfather’s stories. It wasn’t until years later, as a graduate student at Oregon State, I found a stride writing more minimalist stories about my younger days in Colorado. I had been teaching composition and literature and more and more interested in the differences in those that write and those that study writing…I began getting down stories about the neighborhoods I grew up around in southern Colorado. I found an inspiration in the old house I grew up in and in the old folks of my family. I’ve been trying to capture their stories and re-imagine old family stories and myths since then. I guess I was finally okay with his stories and my stories coming together.”

The House of Orderbegan as a failed novel while the author was working on his thesis at Oregon State. The novel was based on his father’s side of the family during the 1950’s, while his graduate thesis was based on his life after college. “I brought them together because the family stories didn’t quite stand alone and the short stories were missing a family component and dimension I wanted to establish. I also wanted these stories to be more urgent in form and elliptical in form than a traditional novel or traditional collection of short stories. They became composite and somehow more than the sum of their parts,” states Jaramillo.

Themes explored in The House of Order include self destruction, folks who are in the process of being tested or breaking down, the positive and negative effects a family can have on the young Latino male, and delinquent parenting, the lack of positive male figures, among others. “I’m interested in characters and folks in my stories who only seem to live for the moment rather than for the long haul of a responsible and work-filled life,” says Jaramillo. “I can’t help but think folks would rather try and win the lottery than work for a consistent paycheck.”

Presently, the author is working on a follow up to The House of Order, as well as turning blog posts from his writing and teaching weblog into fuller essays on subjects such as “Spanglish” and the use of intimate language within his written work.  He’s also interested in writing on the representation of Latinos in popular culture, films, and literature.

About the book

The House of Order, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Manito Ortiz sorts family truth from legend as broken as the steel industry and the rusting vehicles that line Spruce Street. The only access to his lost family’s story is his uncle, the unreliable Neto Ortiz.


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