Blog Tour: Interview with Joseph Spencer, author of paranormal crime thriller ‘Grim’
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 summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. 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”.
His latest book is the paranormal crime thriller, Grim.
Visit his website at www.JosephSpencer.com.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Joseph! Can you tell us where you are from?
I’m from Peoria, Illinois. It’s one of the largest downstate cities in the state, located about 3 hours southwest of Chicago. When I was a journalist, I also briefly resided in Martinsville, Va., Grand Junction, Co., and Burlington, Iowa.
Q: How did you come up with your title?
It’s sort of a Shakespearean double entendre. Grim is the last name of one of the main protagonists, but it’s also an apt description for the gritty narrative.
Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
Damnation Books’ artists Dawne Dominique, an author and artist, turned in a fantastic effort with my cover. I’ve been to horror conventions and people who know nothing about me or the book stop by on the strength of the cover. My title character, Heath Grim, has gruesome scarring and rosacea which turns the color of the skin on his face red. The cover accurately rips his face out of my imagination on to the cover.
Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
It’s Dexter meets The Exorcist while trying to contend with a mob boss straight out of The Sopranos.
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
The narrative of the book plays out as a morality tale about being able to cope with death and obsession. Many of the characters have an obsession that drives them and makes them capable of unspeakable acts.
Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
There’s a chapter where my title character, Heath Grim, loses control of his body to the supernatural entity possessing it. I had chills on my spine when I was writing it because it felt creepy to me.
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. I used to be a newspaper journalist and always said I thought I could write a book without putting my feet to the fire. That and I wanted to create a character every bit as creepy as Heath Ledger’s Joker character in Dark Knight, but provide more of the story from the point of view of the tortured madman.
Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
I’m fortunate to be alive. I was born premature, with my umbilical cord strangling me to the point where I was turning cyanotic. Doctors told my mother I’d likely be brain dead. I’ve also had a gun pointed at my head twice, once during a domestic fight between my mother and birth father and once when I was robbed while delivering a pizza. I feel I’ve beaten the odds, and am thankful to be alive.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
My wife and I want to explore Rome and Egypt. We’re both fascinated with ancient civilizations. We recently traveled to Paris for our honeymoon last year. It was my first time leaving the United States. I’d recommend it for anyone who has never traveled overseas.
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m more of a night person because of the odd hours I work as a supervisor at an emergency 9-1-1 communications center.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
My entire family likes to read, but no one else writes. I have begun trying to plan a book with my wife, who reads several books a month. We’re trying to come up with a new take on a serial killer tale.
Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?
Sure. I loved to read, and that kept my mind busy with stories of what all sorts of characters achieved when they put their minds to it.
Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
I’d like to be in attendance at Wrigley Field for the clinching victory of the Cubs’ first World Series Championship since 1908.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
I’d like to let readers know that the next chapter in my Sons of Darkness series, Wrage, picks up where Grim left off. Damnation Books will release Wrage on June 1st. Damnation Books (www.damnationbooks.com) is offering 28 percent off all of its ebook titles all year with promo code 289snake. Also, Damnation Books offers ebook versions of new releases for free on the first day it is released, and the price only goes up 25 cents with each copy purchased until the ebook reaches its full retail price. So, readers of your blog can capitalize on great savings on many titles from up-and-coming horror writers.