What inspired you to become an author?
When I was young, I read a lot—everything from fantasy and light romance, to mystery and science fiction. And I often found myself living the stories long after I’d finished the books. I had so much respect for this ability—to create a story that had such a lasting effect on me—that I wanted to do the same thing. I wanted to be a writer.
It’s taken me a lot of years to be in a position to dedicate my time to writing, but now that I’m here, I love every minute of it!
Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to write in a fast paced, conversational style. Although I appreciate the work behind the highly descriptive and thought provoking narrative style of writing, I find that more often than not I can’t “get into” those books. So, I write what I like to read.
Do you write in different genres?
Yes. I’m a new author, and the paranormal romance trilogy Absent Shadows is my first book. However, I’m midway through a rural romance novel, and there is a science fiction novel that has been bubbling away in my subconscious for several years. I hope to have both of these out over the next year or so.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
I thought long and hard about this. I wanted something that implied vampires, but with a bit of subtlety. Especially since the book is geared toward the YA audience, with limited sex and violence.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Trust your intuition. Listen to what your higher self is telling you, and follow your heart.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of the book is pure fantasy, but when I first came to Australia I had to learn to understand ‘Strayan (Aussie slang) and so writing Lili, the Californian girl who arrives in Australia and tries to fit in, was based a lot on what I’d gone through.
But the story is set in a real place. I was working near Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, and while walking around at lunchtime, I started sensing that I was smack dab in the middle of the perfect setting for a story about ghosts and vampires. Of course, the late night ghost tours I’d done in the area, where I’d learned the history of the cemetery under the market’s carpark and about ghost sightings all throughout the area, really gave my imagination a kick start.
What book are you reading now?
I recently joined a book club, RRBC, and am trying to support those authors as well as my fellow indieBRAG medallion authors. I’ve just finished The Glade, by Harmony Kent and Blue Mercy, by Orna Ross that are both 5 Star reads. I would highly recommend these to anyone, especially since you can get the free sample chapters from Amazon to see if the writing style is for you.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
At this point in my career, I’ve chosen to set my books in areas that I’m already familiar with. I consider myself quite fortunate to have lived in exciting places—like the San Francisco Bay Area, and now, for quite some considerable time, in Melbourne Australia. Having lived in the places where the stories are set adds a great deal of credibility to them—understanding both the culture and the geography of the settings.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
I’ve used a local company called bookPOD. Sylvie and I worked together to come up the ideas and models for the cover designs, and her amazing talent made it all happen.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m and indie author—both by choice and circumstance. I tried the traditional route, but got a rather lukewarm response from agents who felt my genre was very crowded. So, having belief in what I’d done, I pressed on by myself.
For other others my advice is simple. Firstly, ignore the negative commentary about there being too many books out there. If you have a story to tell, and you believe in it, tell it. There will be people who will be glad you did.
But secondly, before you publish your book anywhere, make sure it is the best you can make it. Read books or articles about self-editing. Have others read it for you. And when you think your book is as good as you can get it, set it aside for a time. Then go back to it later and edit it again with fresh eyes.
I did all the above, and am proud to say that Destiny was awarded an indieBRAG medallion. If you aren’t familiar with indieBRAG check it out at www.bragmedallion.com .
Absent Shadows Trilogy
S M Spencer
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: October 2014
Number of pages: 208
Word Count: 75,000
Cover Artist: BookPOD
Destiny: ‘The predetermined or inevitable path a person must follow.’
When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.
But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him.
Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life.
Using a modern theme, the author tells an old fashioned love story that you won’t want to put down, even when you’ve finished the last page.
Sometimes, when something bad happens, time seems to slow to a crawl.
Like that time I was running to visit my friend who lived down the street. I was only about ten at the time, but it seemed like it was yesterday. I remember exactly how it felt as I ran down that street toward her house. And how, when I was only part way there, I stepped on an acorn and my foot rolled out from under me. As I fell, the pavement got closer and closer to my face—in horrible slow-motion. I hit the ground with my hands stretched out in front of me, scraping the skin off both palms. They barely bled but man they hurt like crazy.
Yes, I could replay that memory like a slow-motion movie in my head even now—years later.
But this … well, this wasn’t like that.
What happened next was like a series of still photos. Tom flew out of the bedroom in a blur, but stopped just long enough for the image of his face to be burnt into my mind. His eyes were no longer soft brown, but were instead a glowing red, and his normally tanned complexion was now pallid grey. But what really stood out was the blood that ran down from the corner of his mouth.
Then I heard Sam’s voice—loud and harsh. ‘Go!’
Tom was gone and I heard the door slam.
I closed my eyes for no more than a long blink—it couldn’t have been more than a second—but when I opened them, Sam was in the bedroom, bending over Claire. Was he doing something to her neck? She was so still.
I ran to the doorway but stopped short of going in. I couldn’t draw a breath to scream or talk. I just stood there, frozen.
About the Author:
S M Spencer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As a young teenager her mother introduced her to the world of romantic suspense by encouraging her to read the works of authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books stirred a passion in her that would last a lifetime—to become a writer.
Feeling the need to experience life before embarking on a writing career, Ms Spencer completed a business degree. Her career eventually landed her in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived ever since. Yet her true passion to be a writer never abated.
SM Spencer now writes from her home in the outskirts of Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.