Monday, February 4, 2013

Joseph Spencer: Creating Fear in Fiction

KAREN: Joseph Spencer is the author of the Sons of Darkness series. His debut novel, Grim debut on September 1, 2012. Work on his second book of the series, Wrage, is already underway and is expected to be released some time in 2013. Let's give Joseph a warm welcome!

***CONTEST: Readers will have a chance to win a copy of Grim in this tour wide giveaway. 10 eBook copies of Grim will be given away! (ends Feb. 18th so don't delay entering the Rafflecopter below.) Good Luck!

Ten things you didn’t know about Grim 

by Joseph Spencer 

Ten things you didn’t know about Grim
Sometimes the true essence of a book can’t be summed up by a brief synopsis and an excerpt. Readers ask me all the time about insider nuggets of information about the book. So, here are a few quick-hitting pieces of information you won’t find on my book cover or any marketing material. 

1. How Heath Grim got his name

I named my title character in honor of the late Heath Ledger for his turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. His role as an agent of chaos intrigued me. I sought to create a villain just as insane, but provide more of the character’s back story and make him a sympathetic figure.

 2. My favorite character

Though I enjoyed all of my creations, Heath’s friend Craig Campbell had a special place in my heart. I compare him to a wise-cracking Jiminy Cricket. He’s a ghost who only Heath sees, and serves the dual role as both the angel and devil on Heath’s shoulder. In a gritty book, Craig provides much of the comic relief.

3. My best edit

In my initial manuscript, Adam White’s character had a much different personality. He resembled more of the common crime-fighting archetypes. I decided I wanted to break the mold a bit. Though he keeps it together in front of his colleagues, I created a much edgier storyline with him when he’s alone during edits. I wanted him to be more vulnerable and unhinged.

4. My favorite living scene

Toward the end of the book, Adam White uncovers the metaphorical mask shrouding Heath Grim’s past which provides the insight he needs to figure out the reclusive millionaire. White visits Grim’s former commanding officer in the military, and relentlessly grills the grizzled vet until he spills the beans.

5. My favorite dead scene

Heath receives a visit from a former tenant. He befriended an Hispanic family, and took a particular liking to a young boy in the family. After the family moves away, all of them die in a tragic house fire which turns out to be arson. The imagery of the boy and the rest of the supernatural stuff in that scene creeped me out while I wrote it.

6. Egyptian mythology makes a cameo

As a boy, I loved reading mythology from all around the world. During one of Grim’s missions for Abaddon, there’s a scene which recounts one of my favorite myths from Egypt. It deals with how someone’s life is measured to determine their fate in the afterlife.

7. Is Abaddon good or bad?

I’m frequently asked this question. It’s probably a disappointing answer, but that’s up for the reader to decide. Everybody has their own morals and values. At this point of the story, Abaddon’s purpose isn’t clearly black and white. I chose him because his role is ambiguous. Is he God’s destroyer and watchdog over Satan? Or is he in league with Satan or Satan himself? You’ll have to read on.

8. Is Sinks good or bad?

It’s clear there’s tension between Officer Christopher Sinks and Adam White from the opening investigation scene. There’s a rivalry between Sinks and White which goes way back. At this point of the game, Sinks has lost a lot, and he blames White for part of that. Again, you’ll have to read on and form your own opinion.

9. Who is the vilest character?

Without a doubt, Mayor Terry Sandburg will make your skin crawl. He’s got all the sleaze of a dirt bag politician, and he’s got no backbone whatsoever. He lets crime kingpin Cyrus Black walk all over him. In a book filled with bad guys who are somewhat sympathetic figures, Sandburg winds up just being slimy.

10. Is it more fun to create villains or heroes?

I like blurring lines. Many of my characters in this book wind up morally gray. I guess I don’t like making anything black and white. To me, there are always two sides to a story. If you’re only presented one view, you may miss layers to that character which would greatly alter your perception.

Title: Grim
Series: Sons of Darkness Series, Book 1
Author: Joseph Spencer
Genre: Crime, Dark, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller,
Publisher: Damnation Books
Words: 93,000


Book Description:

When everything is taken from him, Detective Adam White must choose what's most important. Does he stick to the heroic ideals which made him a famed paragon of justice and take down a murderous madman? Or does he give in to his vigilante impulses, avenge his wife's murder, and become the type of killer he's hunted for so many years? 

About the Author:
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.

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.

Website | Twitter: josephspencer00 | Facebook |


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Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for hosting me today. I wanted the readers of your blog to know that my publisher is offering 28 percent of all ebook purchases with promo code 289snake. If you'd like a free signed bookmark or postcard, email at

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks for being a guest. Thanks for sharing the info about your publisher's discount.

I wish you the best success with your book. Sound intriguing. :)

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Your books sounds interesting.

How many books will be in the series?

cnickol at verizon dot net

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips


I have finished writing Book 2, Wrage, and I just started Book 3, Malice, which will feature a rocker influenced by Marilyn Manson. The plan is seven books in Sons of Darkness series. I have a plan for a Sons of Light series as foils for the Sons of Darkness. It is ambitious and I hope I can gain a following and have people want to read that much in the series.