Author Interview with Joseph Spencer
Favorite cuss word/phrase?
It's probably a tie between fucktard and assclown. They both get your scorn across nicely.
One thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I once was robbed at gunpoint while working as a pizza delivery driver. Having a barrel of a gun a few inches from my face probably stands as the most terrifying experience I've had.
My wife makes monster cookie bars, which are pretty much the worst thing for your health you can ever eat. The pan has a full bag of M&Ms, peanut butter and lots of other ingredients which make your tummy happy and your doctor sad.
One book that everybody should read
I know most people go the classic book route, but since I'm an independent author hoping for readers to discover me I will mention a series of book others may not know about yet. I recently began reading Ian Tregillis' Milkweed Tryptych, a series which features an alternate history for World War II which includes bio-engineered Nazi soldiers and British warlocks. His books are Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War.
Top three items on your bucket list?
1) Attend the clinching game of the Chicago Cubs' World Series championship
2) See the pyramids of Egypt, and visit Italy and Greece
3) Finish my planned Sons of Darkness and Sons of Light series of books - it may span 14 novels
Top three books on your TBR pile?
1) Charlaine Harris' Dead Ever After - comes out in May; I'm hoping Sookie ends up with Sam.
2) F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby - shame on me for not reading it yet; I want to read it before I go watch the movie.
3) Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl - heard great things from friends
What movie are you looking forward to this year?
I'm eagerly awaiting The Great Gatsby and The Mortal Instruments City of Bones. Leonardo DiCaprio normally churns out great stuff, and I like the highly stylized trailers for The Great Gatsby. My wife and I have both enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments YA series, so it'll be fun to see if the movie matches up with our imagination.
Best advice you were ever given about writing?
Write every day. You lose momentum and get into bad habits every day that you don't write.
Favorite place and/or setting when you write?
My favorite place is in my living room recliner with my feet up and my Toshiba laptop in my lap.
Is it better to write in complete silence or with music/TV going in the background?
I can't write with distractions. I am much better in silence. As I write, my books are playing out viscerally in my head. If I watch or listen to anything, it clouds my thinking.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Lynard Skynard's Simple Man. I will let the lyrics speak for me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be starting first baseman for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
To plagiarize George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series, a favorite of mine - "Winter is coming." I think there is something to be said for living like each day could be your last, and unfortunately the Starks have to live that way for a reason.
What movie could you watch over and over again?
I'm a huge Batman dork, so I've watched Dark Knight a bazillion times because Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker blows me away.
Renting a movie or going to the theatre?
There's nothing like going out to see a movie on the big screen with all of the sound effects rumbling around you.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I'd probably sail around the world with Captain Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl. I'd be the reason all the rum was gone.
Batman. I'm sure my wife wouldn't mind if I looked more like Christian Bale, either.
What superpower would you have?
I'd want the ability to manipulate time. That way, I could freeze it so I could stay home from work and write my novels.
Craziest story idea?
I'd say my novel Grim is out there. He's a possessed serial killer seeking vengeance against violent criminals to free their souls from spiritual limbo.
What was your scariest moment?
Other than the robbery I mentioned earlier, I had a car wreck during a downpour which reduced visibility to a few feet. The other car hydroplaned into my lane and nearly caused a head-on collision. I ended up steering my car on two wheels to the shoulder on the opposite side of the road.
What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
I work a demanding job at an understaffed 9-1-1 center, so making time to write is difficult.
If you could have a first edition, signed copy of any book, what would it be?
I'd have to say Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet. I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.
What is your favorite restaurant? What is the dish you order the most?
My wife and I went to The Melting Pot on a trip to Phoenix. It's expensive, but the fondue is fantastic.
If you could live in any time period, which would you live in?
I've always been fascinated with ancient civilizations in Egypt and Greece, but honestly the standard of life is so high nowadays I think I'm too spoiled to live in another time.
When it's New Year's, do you make New Year Resolutions and actually commit to them?
No. I don't need a special day on the calendar to make goals for myself. I try to do that all year long.
Are there times where you wish to go back in time and redo or fix something you regret?
If I could go back, I'd do it to see dead family or friends one more time. I think we all have things we regret, but like all of the morality tales about this there's always the chance you could make things worse.
Do you find yourself singing or humming to yourself sometimes?
I sing to myself in the car all the time. Also, my wife hates the McDonald's fish Mcbites song in the TV commercial,so I sing to make her eyes roll.
Ever wanted to learn a foreign language?
Definitely. My wife and honeymooned in Paris last September, and we studied with Rosetta Stone to learn some French. We didn't learn enough in time to help much, but it was still fun.
Which horror movie scared you the most? If any?
When I was a kid, the TV movie for Stephen King's It terrified me to the point I couldn't sleep. I hate psychological horror, especially the stuff which involves things one person sees that the rest of the world doesn't. It makes you think like that could happen to you, and everybody else would think you're nuts.
What shows did you watch when you were a child?
My favorite cartoons were Scooby Doo, He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers. As I got a little older, I loved watching Cheers, Night Court, The Cosby Show, Quantum Leap and Friends.
Strangest food you've eaten?
I became fond of eating bison meat when I lived in Colorado. It's lean, full of protein and tastes great.
Most embarrassing moment?
In sixth grade, I had first-period gym class. After I showered, I got dressed and went to my next class. I didn't realize until I sat down at my desk that the pockets of my flight pants were on the outside. I'd put my pants on inside out and wondered around the halls with them that way. Fortunately, people thought I was trying to be like the rappers Criss Cross.
Console or PC gaming?
I prefer console. I don't game that much, but I occasionally play Madden, Batman Arkham Asylum or Guitar Hero on Xbox.
I have a tattoo of a Joker on the upper part of my right arm. It's a sinister looking Joker that doesn't look anything like the ones from Batman. I guess I just liked having a symbol of my mischevious nature on my arm.
Adam heard a few sounds of Velcro peeling from its straps. Suddenly, Black Mask shed the mystery and ambiguity of his head gear. He became another mystery altogether. What happened to this guy? He looked like he’d seen hell, escaped, and doctored his face to give everyone else on Earth a preview.
Black Mask obviously suffered from rosacea because his skin was inflamed, swollen, and the angriest shade of red Adam had ever seen. A jagged circular scar similar to a clock face ran from Black Mask’s forehead down his cheeks to his chin. A vertical scar ran straight down the middle of his forehead and along the bridge of his nose. Two horizontal scars extended from the side of his nose and curved upward toward the temples. Two additional scars extended outward at angles from just under his nose, across his lips and ended on either side of his chin. All of the scars connected to the outer circular one like spokes to resemble a starfish shape. Adam struggled not to have any reaction, but failed to keep the corner of his mouth from inching up into a grimace.
Black Mask smirked and put his right hand up to his face. He pretended to be admiring himself in the mirror. “It’s okay, Detective. Your reaction is fairly common and a lot more subdued than most. Of course, I bet you’ve seen a lot of horrors in your line of work.
“So, you want to know the tale of Heath Grim, do you?”