Though there is a great deal of fiction in my Sons of Darkness series, both Grim and Wrageare full of references from mythology, religion and historical lore of spirituality. I’ve always been fascinated with how various cultures explained unknown phenomenon in the world around them with supernatural tales or with faith-based belief systems. I’ve also loved reading the exploits of some of the great fictional detectives in literature from classical characters such as Sherlock Holmes and HerculePoirot to modern-day crime fighters like Jack Reacher and V.I. Warshawski. When I decided to write fiction professionally, I wanted to blend my fascination of occult and paranormal subject matter with classic crime conventions to create a different sort of book.
I’ve dealt with a great deal of loss in my life. My mother left my father when I was a toddler because he threatened my life with a hunting rifle. I haven’t seen my father since the age of five. In a lot of ways, my grandfather became the only willing father figure in my life and I attended his funeral on my tenth birthday. I lost my grandmother, who was a lot like a second mother, eight years ago. I think that’s why I’ve always fixated on the afterlife. When I started writing, I wanted to tap into some of my own emotions about losing loved ones too soon.
I wrapped many of these emotions into Heath Grim, a world-weary millionaire fixated on solving the riddle of his past. Mythological references played a central role in telling Heath’s story. His case of masks featured several mythological monsters such as the Piasa bird, a Native American legend from my home state of Illinois. During punishment of an arsonist who killed a family in a fire, Heath wore the mask of Ammut, the Egyptian destroyer god. Heath lectured the arsonist on the Egyptian tale of the weighing of the heart in the afterlife which describes how a soul is judged to determine its eternal fate.
When I decided to expand Grim into the Sons of Darkness series with Wrage, I incorporated many references from religion and historical lore. The “War Scroll” from the Dead Sea Scrolls foretells of an apocalyptic fight between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness in which Light will earn eternal peace by destroying Darkness. Each son in the Sons of Darkness series will represent a deadly sin, and each son in my future Sons of Light series will symbolize a cardinal virtue. Abaddon, a mysterious entity in Grim and Wragewhich attempts to corrupt souls so that he can use them as vessels for the Sons of Darkness army, is a debated figure from religious contexts, viewed either as a bottomless pit for the damned or an angel of destruction. Archangel Michael also appears in Wrageas the leader of the Sons of Light. He attempts to dissuade Jeff Wrage from damning his soul by becoming Abaddon’s executioner.
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 summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. 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 to 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 is hard at work on the rest of the series. Book 2 – Wrage – was released June 1, 2013. 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.”
Visit his website at www.JosephBSpencer.com.