Monday, August 26, 2013

Interview with occult crime thriller author Joseph Spencer

Today I’m happy to host occult crime thriller author Joseph Spencer as kicks off his virtual book tour for his novel Wrage, published by Damnation Books. This is the second book in his Sons of Darkness series.

Joseph will be awarding a $25 Starbucks gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So, to be entered to win, leave a comment below. And if you'd like to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour sites and leave comments there too.

As a boy, Joseph Spencer immersed himself in the deductive logic of Sherlock Holmes, the heroic crime fighting of Batman and Spider-Man, and a taste for the tragic with dramas from poets like Shakespeare and Homer.

Before Joseph took to spinning his own tales, he pursued a career in print sports journalism, graduating with honors from Clinton (IL) High School in 1996 and summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2000. He covered such events as NASCAR’s Subway 500 race in Martinsville, the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago, the Junior College World Series, and Minor League Baseball’s Midwest League All-Star Game during a ten-year career throughout the Midwest. Now, he works as an emergency telecommunications specialist with an Illinois police department. The combination of years of writing experience with a background working with law enforcement professionals gave rise to his writing aspirations.

Joseph married Dr. Amy (Waggoner) Spencer, an accomplished veterinary doctor, on March 14, 2012. He received word his debut novel was accepted by his publisher, Damnation Books, the next day. Murphy, a 15-year-old orange tabby, is perhaps the most vocal member of the family. The Spencer family enjoys reading Charlaine Harris, George R.R. Martin, Mary Janice Davidson, and most paranormal stories. The Spencers also enjoy quoting movie lines from The Princess Bride, Rain Man, Bridesmaids, and Office Space.

Welcome, Joseph. Please tell us about your current release.
Wrage is the second novel in my Sons of Darkness series. It continues where my professional debut – Grim – left off.

As more dark secrets come to light, the battle for souls pushes Prairieville to the brink of war in the living and supernatural realms.

Jeff Wrage swears a blood oath to Abaddon, the supernatural avenger of murder victims, to hunt the crooked cop who butchered his wife. Jeff wonders whether he can be the executioner Abaddon requires. Their pact throws the supernatural realm in chaos and threatens to trigger an apocalyptic fight for control of the afterlife between the Sons of Darkness and Sons of Light foretold in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Orlando Marino sees the death of Cyrus Black as his opportunity to restore the Marino family's stronghold in Prairieville’s organized crime scene and become a mob kingpin. He unleashes a plague, turning its victims into mindless followers. Cyrus' heir is busy rooting out a traitor and is unable to stop the coming turf war in the realm of man.

The fate of all rests with Homicide Detective Anna Duke, who steps into the shoes of her mentor while coming to terms with unrequited love. As she tries to clear the fallen hero's name, she takes on a case where corpses go missing. Her new partner is reported dead. She learns the truth about her true identity and uncovers a trail of secrets questioning her tragic past. She journeys to avert the destruction of all creation.

What inspired you to write this book?
Wrage explores the Faustian theme of wanting something different for your life. Several characters strike deals they may end up regretting to see their schemes and obsessions realized. This novel also expands its universe of supernatural characters which were inspired in part by mythology and one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural. Critics of my first novel in The Sons of Darkness series, Grim, expressed some dissatisfaction that there wasn’t more redemption for the characters involved, and I think they will find this story a little more to their liking.

Excerpt from Wrage:
“Dad! Is that you?” Anna recoiled with her hands rushing up to her mouth as if to snatch up each word of her inexplicable outburst and bury them deep inside of her. Her whole body tensed and hunched backward like a frightened cat waiting to dart away to safety. The frigid bite of the air gnashing against her skin transformed her caramel complexion into a cherry shade of irritated skin.

“Seek The Way, The Truth and The Life. The Way leads to death. Death stalks you now. You can’t escape Death. You must face death to find The Life.”

The sea of officers scrubbed prim and proper in their dress blue uniforms, the tartan-clad bagpipe players, the somber clergy, and the black-suited politicians all washed away into an indistinguishable herd being driven somewhere in the distance. The wind swept Anna to a whole other world, one where it was just her and the smoke man.

“Keep your head, Rube.”

“What?” Anna heard herself cry out her question. She’d heard the smoke man’s words echo inside her head. They were familiar words from long ago, but she couldn’t believe she heard them from whatever this thing was.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Malice is my third book of the Sons of Darkness series and readers will learn more about Anna Duke while also following a bad boy rocker, Malice Madsen, loosely based off Marilyn Manson.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I worked for ten years as a print journalist in large regional daily newspapers in Peoria, Il., Decatur, Il., Burlington, Iowa, and Grand Junction, Colo. I covered such events as NASCAR’s Subway 500 race in Martinsville, Va., the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago, the Junior College World Series, and Minor League Baseball’s Midwest League All-Star Game. I also won an award for outstanding writer of the year by the Colorado Tennis Association.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I were a full-time writer, but I haven’t made it there yet. I work as the supervisor of an emergency 9-1-1 call center in Peoria, Ill. I try to infuse some of the personalities of officers I work with on a daily basis into characters into my novels. I basically have to chip away at my writing because I have a demanding work schedule. I try to set a daily writing goal of 3-5 pages per day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m kind of a pantser. I go into a chapter with one idea of how it will go, but then sometimes the characters take me to different places than what I initially intended. My characters talk to me. The scenes kind of play out visually in my mind like a movie only I can see. I would rather stay true to the direction my characters are tugging me towards than some preconceived notion of getting from one part of the plot to another. Obviously, I still get to roughly the same places as I initially intended, but some of the details maybe different than what I thought I would write when I started.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be the star slugger who helped the Chicago Cubs snap their World Series title drought.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My publisher Damnation Books is offering 28 percent of all ebook orders with promo code 289snake. Wrage on Damnation Books’ site
I also created video trailers on YouTube for both of my books: Grim | Wrage
And my other links are: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks, Joseph. I’m a fan of Damnation Books, as they’ve published a short story and poem of mine in The Zombie Cookbook a few years back. Love meeting other DB authors and learning what they’re up to. Happy touring!

Readers, don't forget about the gift card giveaway - leave a comment to be entered to win! (or just to say 'hi' to Joseph).


Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a compelling story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me. Readers can get a 28 percent discount on my ebooks at with code 289snake

Unknown said...

This sounds like a thrilling, edge of your seat, type of read! I love how you mix the paranormal and human worlds together! My family would love to read this book, so I added it to my TBL, so when my fiance' finds a stable job, or I finally get my disablitly help, I can buy it!