Please welcome occult horror writer Joseph Spencer to Andi's Book Reviews today. He is going to help us get to know him and his book, 'Wrage,' a little bit better. Feel free to leave him questions and comments below!
What was the inspiration behind 'Wrage'?
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.How much do you have in common with Jeff, the main character?
Jeff is a character who has lost his hope and his faith. He feels like his wife’s murderer ripped his whole world away from him. He’s lonely and afraid of what his future holds. He’s lost almost every reason to live. The only thing keeping him going is pure hate and the pursuit of vengeance. I must admit I’ve had times in my life where I felt lost and hopeless. I think many of us can identify with loss and having to reinvent ourselves in the wake of that great loss whatever it might be.Which scene was your favorite to write?
Some critics mentioned they weren’t quite sold on the ending of Grim. I enjoyed penning the ending to Wrage. It’s emotional. It springs a twist on the readers. It gives them something to look forward to for the next book in the series. I feel satisfied that I executed each character’s storyline well and I hope my readers enjoy reading the conclusion as much as I enjoyed writing it.'Wrage' is the second book in this series. How many do you anticipate? When can we expect the next installment?
Each book follows one of The Sons of Darkness. Each son is patterned after one of the seven deadly sins. I’m planning seven books. I’m also in the development stages of the opposite side of the war in the supernatural realm with stories following The Sons of Light. The third book in The Sons of Darkness series will be Malice. The action will follow Malice Madsen, a notorious rocker inspired by Marilyn Manson. With my demanding work schedule, I hope to write one book a year, so my hope is that Malice will be released in summer or fall 2014.What kind of research did you need to do for this series?
Mythology and biblical stories have always fascinated me, and I’ve read and re-read different stories and passages to try to infuse some of that into the supernatural part of the storyline. I’m also a 9-1-1 dispatcher for emergency services, so I try to inject some of the personalities I work with on a daily basis into the police storylines of the book.What is the appeal of writing in this genre?
I’m a huge fan of crime and horror myself, so I write stories that I’d like to read. I don’t think many people are writing the sort of stories I’m writing right now. They aren’t stories which can be narrowed down to just one genre.Why do you think readers like this genre?
I think most everyone ponders what happens after we die. There is so much we don’t know, and I think that’s part of the fun of reading stories with supernatural creatures. Our history is full of literature which tries to explain the unexplainable. I also think it’s fun to be scared. So I hope I get some pulses racing when I write a scary scene.Please tell us about your other books.
Grim kicked off the series and was my professional writing debut. In order to avenge his father and redeem himself in his eyes, Heath Grim sells out his soul to a paranormal entity he doesn’t quite understand and loses every bit of his humanity to see his vengeful plot through. To live up to his end of the bargain, Grim becomes an executioner of killers to appease the entity possessing him and to avenge the souls of murder victims that entity protects. Detective Adam White, obsessed by his wife’s unsolved murder, is hot on Grim’s heels, but when his top suspect is the only one who can help him avenge his wife White must make a tough decision. He either upholds his heroic ideals or become like the monsters he’s hunted throughout his law enforcement career.You love to read. What are some of your favorites?
I would recommend James Rollins’ Sigma Force Series. I love Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter books which inspired the TV show. I think any crime novel fan should read Thomas Harris if they haven’t already. I’m also enthralled by George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series since the HBO series introduced me to the novels.What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I’m dedicated to helping animals and wildlife. My wife, Amy, is a veterinary doctor. We are proud parents to a 16-year-old orange tabby named Murphy, and we both make contributions to charities which look after the welfare of animals.Thank you so much for your time!
Joseph Spencer is the author of the Sons of Darkness series launched by his debut novel, Grim, on September 1, 2012. The second book in the series, Wrage was completed and released on June 1, 2013.
THE ROAD HERE
The Sons of Darkness is a series of paranormal crime thrillers following investigations into mysterious deaths in the central Illinois city of Prairieville. Home of the notorious serial killer, The Reaper, Prairieville has had a history of violence centered on an ongoing feud between the Marino and Black organized crime families. When bodies start showing up again at the abandoned Marino State Hospital, many fear the Reaper has returned. The people of Prairieville are about to find out their problems stem from a supernatural source which has lurked in secret for decades.
THE STORYTELLER’S STORY
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 was 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. Joseph and Amy look forward to their honeymoon in Paris in September 2012. 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.
Date Published: 6/1/13
Sometimes the toughest fight lies within yourself.
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.
Read an excerpt:
“What do I have to do? I didn’t know rules before I did the ritual,” Jeff cowered into a ball, pulling his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them. It was definitely the weirdest conversation he’d ever had, considering he was talking to himself or whatever was inside of him now.
“My terms are simple,” Abaddon rumbled, once again speaking to Jeff through his own lips. “You must avenge the lives of the wrongful dead by killing those who robbed them of their rightful place in the afterlife. After I’ve collected the souls you’ve punished, I’ll help you avenge your wife. I’ll help you kill Christopher Sinks.”
Jeff’s eyes searched his suddenly glowing skin looking for answers. “What if I can’t kill for you? I’ve never hurt anyone. I don’t know how I’d do something like that.”
The beastly laugh once again rattled his chest so hard his ribs hurt. “Don’t worry, boy. I’ll show you. Let me see if I can convince you. Hear the plea of the souls stuck in limbo, waiting for judgment against their murderers.” Jeff’s hands were forced toward each other. A thunderous clap echoed when they met together. The wound on his right palm reopened and drops of blood littered the ground.
Immediately, loud rustling noises surrounded Jeff on all sides. Clumps of dirt in front of graves everywhere shook and collapsed. Pale, glowing hands clawed out of their disturbed burial plots. The bony hands reached out toward the sky, fighting to be free of their earthly bonds. Gradually, heads, torsos and full bodies climbed out of the overturned soil. Some were only skeletons, while other corpses growled as they inched closer, sagging, rotting flesh dripped blood, dirt and worms to the ground with every step. Some were dismembered. Some were riddled with bullet holes. Others bled from gashes in their sides, stomachs and necks. All of them had a blinding light poking out of the cracks and crags of their rotting flesh. They reached out toward him. None of their mouths moved. Yet, an otherworldly buzz of whispers filled the air. The uncovered corpses seemed to be chanting.
“We’re the wrongful dead,” they whispered. “We’re robbed of our eternal bed. Our souls mark the evil deeds. Punish those with bloodthirsty needs. Kill the ones who took our eternity. Kill them and set us free.”
Also available from Damnation Books