Author Interviews

{Interview} Horror After Dark chats with Walter Spence

by Walter Spence
Published by Full Moon Publications on 3/31/2015
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 223
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

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 Walter Spence has been my online friend for a few years now. On top of being a good friend he is an excellent author. To celebrate the release of his new book “The Secret Room” today, (the second entry in his Breed Wars series), I decided to ask him to talk to us and here we are.

 

Personal Stuff

HADWhat books have most influenced your life and/or your writing?

Walter: Every book I’ve ever read has influenced my life, for good or ill, if for no other reason than to inspire me to occasionally hang a sign around my neck that reads, “Club me like a baby seal if I so much as hint that I want to read< insert title or author here> ever again”.

If we’re talking about fiction and writing, Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy were the first books to inspire me in terms of realizing what a great storyteller could accomplish, as did various science fiction authors almost too numerous to mention (::cough, Harlan Ellison, cough::). I also consider Stephen King a seminal influence, particularly his earlier work, as well as the novellas of Dan Simmons.

I also read a ton of nonfiction, so if I had to choose a couple of favorites which have inspired me in ways other than in the writing of fiction, Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist and Peter Lynch’s One Up on Wall Street would easily make the top ten. Both of those books show the kinds of possibilities that are available not just to the wealthy, but to the average person as well.

HAD: Is your family supportive of your writing endeavors?
Walter: Yes. A rare few have even read some of them.

 Questions Regarding Writing

HAD: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Walter: I realized I wanted to write when I was in junior high school, but even as a child I loved to tell stories. I still recall trying to convince a female cousin of the existence of malevolent pumpkin men, though she never really bought any of it (not for lack of trying on my part). Being a longtime reader, I know how influential and meaningful good storytelling can be. I’ve always wanted to be one of those authors whose work brings joy to readers, even (and perhaps especially) while we’re ducking the curveballs life so often throws at us.

 HAD: What inspired you to write your first book?

Walter: My first solo novel was a fantasy novel titled The Caballa, but since it hasn’t seen print yet I don’t know that we could call it my first book, so let’s go with the first that did, House of Shadows. The short version is this, I finished The Caballa after working on it for far longer than I care to recollect, and after completing it I realizing that—while the book had its merits—it just wasn’t as good a piece of work as I believed myself capable of. Whether that’s true or not is a subjective judgment, but it’s how I felt at the time. But since even the thought of spending one more day on it made my brain numb, I decided instead to give myself a present and write a novel just for myself, no one else, and to self-publish it so that it would remain as pure an example of my own personal vision as possible. That book became House of Shadows.I wrote HoS because, while I’ve always been a fan of vampire fiction, some of the modern tropes just felt cobbled together from old myths and legends. I wanted to plug those holes (I often default to Freudian metaphors, so please bear with me) with an internally consistent mythology which would make sense to the reader, in terms of how and why such creatures could exist. What I didn’t anticipate was how this one story ended up inspiring something far larger, a devastating behind-the-scenes war with world-wide consequences. My vampires refer to themselves as the Breed, and they are divided into twelve varying Houses. Each House has its own unique and defining relationship with humanity in general and human beings in particular, which in the past has on occasion led to serious conflict. Now comes their greatest conflict of all, beginning with House of Shadows and continuing in the sequel, The Secret Room.

HAD: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Walter: Doing it well. That’s always a tough.

HAD: Have you ever hated something you’ve written?

Walter: Yes. Which is what rewrites and editing are for.

The Secret Roomtsr

HAD: This is the second book in your series, The Breed Wars. How did the idea for this series originate?

Walter: Much like life on Earth, it evolved. Stories sometimes tell themselves, but then you (the writer) find yourself asking questions about the tale you’ve just told. Why did he or she do that? What comes next? Stories like this often turn into snowballs rolling downhill. The darned things just keep growing . . .

HAD: Which was more difficult, writing the first or the second book? How many books total do you see in The Breed Wars?

Walter: That’s two questions. To answer the first, the second book was definitely harder. Can’t say why that was, but ’tis true. I’d like to think this was due to my being forced to stretch my storytelling muscles, but it could also be that—after how easily the first one came—the difficulty of the second was some sort of cosmic rebalancing act perpetrated by the Muse of Paranormal Fiction, Heather.As far as how many books there will be, hard to say at this time. You never want to paint yourself into a corner, because the bathroom is inevitably on the other side. For multiple reasons, I envision twelve. We’ll see how that goes. Thing is, the events building behind the scenes will, as they manifest themselves, cross over into other books not specifically in the Breed Wars series such as The Caballa, which will be my next release. Readers shouldn’t worry about the third Breed Wars book, however, since not only do I already know how it begins, I know how it ends as well. Unless I change my mind that is . . .

HAD: What would you say to a potential reader to get them to read The Secret Room?

Walter: You’ll never be the same again. But in a really good way. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Walter. HAD and myself wish you the best of luck with The Secret Room and with any and all of your future endeavors.

About Walter Spence

From an early age Walter Spence channeled his fascination with life, the universe and everything into an obsession with the literary and dramatic arts. After years of splitting his attention between writing and acting, he realized a choice had to be made.

After collaborating with fantasy author and Compton Crook Award winner Holly Lisle on The Devil & Dan Cooley (book two of the Devil’s Point trilogy) he began working on various projects, including a novel called The Caballa, which he describes as “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as written by Stephen King.” During this time he was “sideswiped” by the idea for a multi-volume tale of humans and vampires joining in common cause against a mutual enemy, a series he titled The Breed Wars. House of Shadows begins this tale, which will be continued in book two, The Secret Room.

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