Friday 6 May 2011

Something for the Weekend: Love Horror? Free eBook for every reader! Meet author Alan Spencer...

M.F.   Today I would love to welcome Alan Spencer, author of the brilliantly named, 'Zombies and Power Tools! Lets talk about the most important thing: your books. Give us a brief description of the novel you want to talk about today.

A.S.   My latest book is called "Zombies and Power Tools" from Living Dead Press. I'd like to separate it from the rest of the zombie books out there, simply because there's elements of mystery and suspense as much as there is horror. This isn't a post-apocalyptic book either. What really distinguishes this book is why the dead are able to come back to life. There isn't a chemical spill or virus. What impels the dead to live is as horrible as what the walking corpses are doing to their victims with power tools. And the reason the dead are using power tools on people also ties in with their ability to be alive. I don't want to give too much away on the matter, but rest assured, I think red-blooded horror fans would very much enjoy this book, whether they're fans of zombies or not.

M.F.   Sounds great. I love anything Zombie-fied! So what are you working on at the moment? Have you got any new projects in the pipeline?

A.S.    As of now, I'm working on putting out a book on my own. It'll be called "Cider Mill Vampires." Just imagine a friendly cider mill in Kansas hijacked by vampires who use the apple presses to press people of blood. This one's very brutal, sexual, and there's humor in it as well. There's something for everyone!

M.F.  Is writing something you've recently got into, or have you been writing for ages?

A.S   I've been writing since I was a freshman in high school, but it seems ever since my first novel, "The Body Cartel" (Damnation Books), was published, things have picked up a bit. I'm still not a "name" per se or a force on the market, but I've met a lot of cool people who've given me great tips on how to better my writing.

I do remember dabbling with writing as a kid, writing in Steno notebooks. I remember one story involving a fast food joint and a manager who was a serial killer. I think I wrote it in the fourth grade. It's probably a good thing it didn't see the light of day, or else I would've been sent to the principal's office. It was harmless fun for me, though others may not see it that way.

M.F.  What do you make of the changes in the industry, with so many people going "indie"?

A.S.   I can't blame a writer for seriously considering putting their own work out there. I've had a few close calls with bigger publishers, and I end up feeling jerked around. I'd wait 6-8 months to hear back from sending only three chapters, then be asked to send the entire manuscript, and wait about a year, and finally hear back, and they say no. That's a year and a half of my life gone. Sure, it's the business when you're a small fry. I understand that. But lately, it feels the industry is at a halt. Books aren't selling the way they used to sell, so publishers aren't taking on as many newer writers as they might've in the past. Kindle is becoming a competitor for readers' attention, though results vary from author to author what kind of turnaround they get.

My opinion is if you put out something independent, it's up to the author to create the best product they can. Don't use self-publishing as an excuse for half-assed editing and covers that look like a child created them. Self-publishing could use a dose of quality control, so it's up to the author to set themselves a part from the crop of other independents. As I'm working on "Cider Mill Vampires," I have to put myself in the readers' shoes and ask myself "Would I buy that?"

M.F.  Great answer, Alan. I totally agree with you. So who is your greatest influence when it comes to writing?

A.S.   From a genre standpoint, I really enjoy Joe R. Lansdale, Edward Lee, Tom Piccirilli, Jack Ketchum, T.M. Wright, and Gord Rollo. They're all great suspense and horror writers. But I also really enjoy Joyce Carol Oates. She's a mix of dark fiction and literary. I feel her writing bleeds into mine, and I'm bettered for it.

M.F.   When you write, is there anyone you're writing for?

A.S.   I started writing books because of my love for everything horror, especially books and movies. I emulate what I enjoy, so I write for the people who'll read it.

M.F.    Lol. That makes sense! What sort of books do you read yourself?

A.S.   I mentioned the authors I really enjoy above, but I don't limit myself to horror fiction. You'd be surprised how much darkness there is in literary fiction. I enjoy anything that's psychological, that pits their characters in situations they don't normally confront in life. I think the perfect book is a mix of literary fiction and horror.

M.F.    Brilliant. Now for some more abstract questions! If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

A.S.     I've really enjoyed the Hap and Leonard books by Joe R. Lansdale, so I'd be Hap. I could be solving a mystery or getting caught in a gunfight or picking up women. Hap's a fun bad ass. I guess I'd like to be a fun bad ass too.

M.F.   If aliens landed in front of you and offered you anything you wanted, what would it be?

A.S.    I'd want them to create some device that allows people to get over themselves. What I mean is for people to be polite, patient, and consider each other as important as the next person. Perhaps that's the lame answer. Here's a different answer. I'd ask the aliens to give me every horror movie ever made in the history of horror movies. And a cool place to watch them all in, like a little home movie theatre that would put Charlie Sheen's to shame. I'd add a great concession stand with popcorn and a soda fountain, and I've invite all kind of people to see movies like "Pieces" and "Killer Clowns from Outer Space." That'd be great fun.

M.F.  That sounds like fun! Tell us something quirky/interesting that people probably don't know about you.

A.S.   I'm an operations manager at a doggy day care. I was a zombie extra in "Zombie Bloodbath 3." I really enjoy reading in the bath tub. Every Wednesday night is horror movie night. Have I said enough weird things yet? That's probably enough for now.

Before I sign off, thanks so much for the interview. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask them.

And for those reading this, please visit and check out the latest updates on my writing. If you want to drop a line, email me at Who knows, if you ask me nice enough, I like to give things away. I've got free e-copies of "Ashes in Her Eyes" and "The Body Cartel" that are itching to be read.
Thanks so much for stopping by Alan. And you heard him right, everyone. If you just email Alan and let him know which ebook you would like, he will email you a FREE copy of one of his books. This offer is only open for the next week, so get emailing! Thanks Alan and have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Great interview! Alan almost sounds "normal." A nice eclectic assemblage of books with an actual message inside. That's cool!

    Alan, your advice about Indies needing to have that little something extra is great advice. All writers should follow that mantra.

    Delightful chat. I hope Marissa kept the power tools away from Alan.

  2. Thanks Blaze! And you're right. "Almost" normal.

    And I don't know if anybody can keep me away from those lovely power tools.

    Have a happy weekend!


  3. The cover of Ashes in her eyes really intrigues me :) thanks for the chance !

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  4. Panic Press has a great cover artist. E-mail me, and you can check out the book too.


  5. I totally agree, Mariska. Alan Spencer's covers are great -- really original. The Body Cartel (which I've now added) is my fav, but 'Inside the Perimeter' is intriguing.

  6. Matt Truiano, who painted "The Body Cartel" cover will be painting the cover for "Cider Mill Vampires" as well. He's a wonderful artist.

    So far, I consider myself VERY lucky as far as covers go.

  7. Great interview and stellar covers. I'm dying to read "Zombies and Power Tools" now! And thanks for sharing this, Marissa! Good work all around!

    Tyr Kieran

  8. I hope you enjoy "Zombies and Power Tools," Tyr. I had a recent review from Morpheus Tales Magazine giving it favorable comments, so I'm very excited to hear what other people have to say about it. Read on, my friend