AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Spencer Seidel

deadofwynterss.jpgWe were excited to hear about Spencer Seidel's mystery novel Dead of Wynter, and couldn't put it down (review coming soon!) Naturally, we just had to put our questions to Spencer to find out more...

Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.

12-word synopsis: small town, Maine, murder, family, alcoholism, love, secrets, revenge, rage, blizzard, redemption

What inspired you to write Dead of Wynter?

My own family. My mother's side of the family has a troubled history. In the 1940's, an ugly rumor about a murder among cousins at a Michigan campsite surfaced. In a moment of dementia, my grandmother inadvertently revealed to my mother that there may have been some truth to the stories. Then, when my heavy-drinking uncle died (my mother's brother), I decided to combine the two tragedies into a novel. Dead of Wynter is a kind of fermented, concentrated version of those events with plenty of made-up things thrown in.

Where do you do most of your writing?

When I'm planning a novel, the less it seems like work the better. The creative rocket sauce is more potent that way. So, I usually sit on my sofa under my headphones with my iPad. Then, once I start my drafts, I sit at a big bare desk my father built for me writing on a laptop. Unlike many other writers, I can't write in public spaces. I need to cocoon myself, preferably in the dark under headphones.

What is your favorite book?

Honestly, I consume and like so many books that my "favorite" is usually one I've read in the last year or so. Joe Hill is in that category currently. I loved Horns and Heart Shaped Box, both of which I read this past year. A few years ago, I fell in love with Caleb Carr's The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. Before that, I might have said Stephen King's The Shining. Ken Follett, Jack Ketchum, and Peter Straub have also written favorites for me at one time or another.

Which part of Dead of Wynter was the most enjoyable to write?

When I was about halfway through the second draft, I happened to be at my parents' house on Cape Cod. This was in the summer of 2009. There was something about the plot as it was then that had been bugging me for several weeks. One afternoon, I stepped out of the shower and out of nowhere came a new, better idea for the second half. I rushed for a pad and pen and felt incredibly happy even though I knew I would have to go back and shuffle some things around to make it work. After that, the second half of the book was a thrill to write.

What are you currently reading?

I'm always reading, so this is a moving target. I just finished Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, which I liked quite a bit and read quickly. Before that, I read The Exorcist by William Blatty for the first time with my Goodreads horror group. That was a trip. I loved the whole "Captain Howdy" thing. Absolutely brilliant. Now, I'm reading Port City Shakedown by Gerry Boyle, a wonderful Maine mystery writer. In addition, for bedtime reading, I'm slowly working my way through the Harry Potter series again in preparation for the last movie. I read the books too fast the first time through, so I've decided to savor them a bit this time.

Who is your favorite heroine?
Immediately I think of Ken Follett's books because I like his women characters, and he has plenty of them. Ellen from The Pillars of the Earth pops into my head. I love strong women characters. Ellen is independent, smart as hell, strong-willed, fiery, lusty, mysterious, and witchy. What's not to love about that? I thought she was brilliantly written, as was her relationship with Tom Builder.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published authors?

A lot of writers I know make the mistake of becoming too enamored with the fact that they've written a novel, so they spend years revising it, shopping it around, and trying to convince the world that they've really got something. But if no one's biting, consider filing it away for another day and get to work on something else. No shame in having a couple of novels in the back of your closet. You always learn something when you write a new novel.

Are you working on anything else at the moment, and if so can you tell us?
Always. I'm putting the finishing touches on a new manuscript coming out in 2012. The feedback on LOVESICK has been fantastic, so I'm really excited about it. It takes place in Portland, Maine and is about a brutal murder on the Eastern Promenade. The full pitch is available on my website, www.spencerseidel.com.

Thanks, Spencer!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Spencer Seidel - Comments

  • I Really think about when i read your this post its a really so helpfull news which you given in this site.

  • i can't write in public spaces either -- and it's the sofa for me, too!

    maybe i need to get a desk, though...

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