Today we welcome Spencer Stoner as we travel to Reno, Nevada USA and learn how doughnuts, Stan Lee, humor, and He-Man inform the game of Spencer’s writing life. Pour the hot chocolate and have a seat ….
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Spencer Stoner. I live in Reno, Nevada, USA. I was born and raised here, although I did live in Idaho for a few years. I still found my way back here.
I’m forty years old. I love reading novels, comic books, RPG video games, whatever I can get my hands on!
As a writer, the most egregious thing about me, I hope, is that I don’t drink coffee. That seems to be an almost defining trait in the community! But, still, where I lack in caffeine consumption, I make up for in sugar with a love of hot chocolate and doughnuts.
In which genre do you write?
I don’t think that authors should be only allowed to write in only one genre. That being said, most of my published work is fantasy. Although my first published work was a horror short story. Also, I am working on my first science fiction novel.
How many published books do you have?
I have a grand total of five, currently. That is, if you count the anthology novel that my first published short story, On the Way Home, was in (the book is In Creeps the Night, if you’re curious). Three are my Ophelia Legacy fantasy adventure series. In August, my first graphic novel releases, a spin-off of the Ophelia Legacy called Divine Intervention. 1+3+1= equals five, right. I don’t want a chandelier to get shot off the ceiling or something because I am lazy at math! (Anyone who gets the movie reference receives the coveted No-Prize, as made famous by the legendary Stan Lee!)
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I’d say it was when I was twelve years old. Several things hit all at once. I had just moved to Idaho and had zero friends in the same time zone. So, I made a kind of oasis in the school library. I discovered the Xanth series of novels by Piers Anthony, which taught me that fantasy didn’t have to always be formal and noble (not to disparage the Lord of the Rings but, for me, it was a bit of a slog because of that). Not to mention that the injection of humor really helped me in those days! For good or ill, I still think puns are the pinnacle of humor.
But what really, figuratively, revved my engine to want to become a writer was when I started reading comics. I fell in love with the work of Chris Claremont, who was writing X-Men at the time. Then I discovered Neil Gaiman and his Sandman series and I was hopelessly hooked to the idea of writing. In fact, I wanted to write comics before I actually wrote my first novel!
Back then the internet wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now, so I had no idea how to write a “script”, nor any way I was aware of then to find out. So I started writing short stories. Then I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends that came into my life as it moved along. We ended up almost ignoring the source books because we had ended up creating our entire world to adventure in.
Finally, I decided to find out if I could actually write a whole novel. The result of that was Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat. I found that I not only had a novel in me, but many, many stories I wanted to tell!
What are you currently reading?
In addition to my monthly rotation of comics, which currently includes titles like Monstress, Unnatural, and Sunstone (as well as Superman and Saga), I recently finished Neil Gaiman’s retelling of norse mythology. Gaiman is always worth reading. I also picked up the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Now, I always thought I had a robust vocabulary but with reading Lovecraft, which never fails to illicit the feeling of existential horror, I’ve come to realize how many words have fallen out of general use in the relatively short time since he was alive! I’ve had to look up more than I care to admit but it is truly an adventure amidst the insanity.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
Thankfully, whenever I’ve had to speak in public, at a convention or other venue, I’ve often had friends and/or family to keep me relaxed before heading out on stage or in front of large group. On those rare occasions where I am alone, I’ll pick some music that never fails to give me goosebumps and pump me up. It can be anything from a movie score like The Anvil of Crom, from Conan the Barbarian by Basil Poledouris, or from a video game like the Sephiroth Choir from Final Fantasy VII by Nobuo Uematsu, or a piece of classic music like Night on Bald Mountain or just about anything by AC/DC.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
When I was really young, I loved the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (in fact, Teela was one of my first crushes but that is a different story). I think I would like to live there, the mix of magic and sci-fi technology was always interesting to me. Not to mention all the potential for adventure!
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
He’s probably looking for my sister, Kalani. Her obsession with penguins is well known. I would probably be their designated driver when the penguin takes her out for tequila shots!
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my first science fiction novel, entitled Dimensional Schism. It is an eclectic mix of the movie Alien Nation, shadow governments, the Mandela Effect, and Harlequin Romance. Anyone who has read any of my stories knows that romance doesn’t come up very often.
Also, I am working on the sequel to my most recent release, which just happens to be the next question so…
Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.
My first graphic novel, called Divine Intervention, is written by me but drawn by a very talented artist named Stephanie Haigney. It is set in Honua (the same world as the Ophelia Legacy novel series) and follows the story of a young cleric woman named Appelonia. She is recruited by another woman called Narasumas to find a murderer before the turn of the seasons in two days. If they fail, a spiritual force will descend upon the city and destroy everything and everyone (innocent or guilty) until the criminal is punished!
Thank you Spencer for joining us on MTA! Spencer and I met at my daughter, Lillian Darnell’s, Barnes & Noble book signing this past June. It was great fun having him as a neighbor and Lillian enjoyed borrowing from his huge collection of colored sharpies to use for signing books. Take care Spencer and we’ll see you around! –Camilla
BLURB FOR DIVINE INTERVENTION
Narasumas is hunting down a murderer and needs the best tracker in the region. That would be Appelonia—a godless young elf formerly of the Order of Kuan Yin with the uncanny ability to find those who try to hide. She’s familiar with the barren fields in the Land of the Long-toothed Rabbit and knows how to survive.
There’s only one complication. The notorious mercenary Ophelia has already contracted Appelonia to help her search the frozen landscape for an exiled barbarian—and she doesn’t like to share.
But divine intervention won’t wait. And with it comes the destruction of the town and all the innocents living within.
Narasumas must find the criminal she seeks before her promise causes every unwary man, woman, and child unlucky enough to be around her to be torn to pieces…
Divine Intervention is available for pre-order online now but will be available at any bookstore and comic shop (online and physical) officially on tomorrow, August 3rd. I hope you give it a look and want to see more of “Apple” and her friends!
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LSKkyO
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Mu3PgQ
WEBSITES AND SOCIAL MEDIA
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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …