Who is Austrian Spencer?

I’m an English horror writer living in Austria, near the city of Graz, nestled under a mountain, slowly hoarding gold in order to bait a dragon. I live with my wife and two adult children, in an individually designed house that won the Solarhaus 2014 award. When not writing, I read and review horror books, and make better coffee than anyone you or your friends know. Take me up on that.

Your debut novel THE SADEIEST started life as a comic book, was then turned into a novel and published by a small press, before you re-released it last year as an indie book? Can you tell us more about the origin story of THE SADEIEST?

I read Piers Anthony’s On A Pale Horse when I was a teenager, and even then, knew the book had massive faults – it’s sexist, racist, and it annoyed the hell out of me. I loved the core idea of the book though – that someone becomes Death, but it made no sense to me – Death should die -again and again, and that should be his job.

That’s his name, dammit!

And I saw other books about the same thing, but none of them made death die. It’s what he should do. Everything else is avoiding the actual point of a character being Death itself. I also believed it should hurt, both mentally and physically, and it all had to mean something.

So, I thought about it for years, trying to come up with a reason why anyone would do that – and had kids in the meantime, and realized that one of the stories I wanted to tell in the book was how almost every parent has that sacrifice gene in them for their kids – or kids in danger generally.

I have had the story on constant repeat in my head for the better part of twenty-odd years and finally sat down and started writing it. After that long thinking about it, all the twists and plotlines had already been long established, so it was really simple to include all the things that are going to be threads in the series – there are things in the first book that won’t be of relevance until book 4, where you’ll hopefully look back at them and think – Damn – this guy knew that was going to happen before he even started. And it fell onto the page more or less as the finished product. There’s no mixing of chapter order, adding things in or taking them out. It’s chapter for chapter exactly as I’ve been imaging it for decades.

The Sadeiest Book Cover

What attracts you to horror/speculative fiction?

Horror is the purest form of emotional outpouring. Horror books can destroy you emotionally. They make you furious, horrified, passionate. And Horror readers accept the impossible and expect intelligence. They are patient and figure things out themselves. Horror readers want to be blown away. They love being shocked. They live the books they read. What better audience exists?

What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

Justifying the time to write. Knowing that every minute spent is a minute my significant other has sacrificed, allowing me to pursue my dream. I value that more than anything else. Authors that acknowledge that by dedicating their books to their significant others know exactly what I mean with that. There can’t be ego after that kind of sacrifice. The book belongs to them, even more than to me.

What’s the best thing about being an author?

The reviews. Reading that people are in shock, or destroyed, or can’t believe the emotional attachment they have to the characters I create. I’m lucky to be on a writer’s website where I post chapters as they hit the page, and I get to see the ongoing thoughts and reactions to all the bombs I place in my books. Those comments are always there for me to re-read when I get imposter syndrome. Which is often.

Have you got any strange writing habits?

I write when I know it’s time to write. It’s a terrible, chaotic system, but it means I’m always passionate about every chapter. There’s no filler.

Your website is a great place to check out considered reviews of tradition and indie horror books alike. So, tell us, what are you currently reading?

Well, I’m about to start Alex Woodroe’s Whisperwood, which will be released later this year, then Michael Clarke’s Hell on High – and I’ve about twenty other books waiting on my Kindle…

What book/story do you wish you could have written?

Iain M.Banks’ The Player of Games  – which I read at least once a year, or his Use of weapons – the only book I have ever read which fooled me – a book you read and then get to the end and a reveal shows you that you have read the entire book incorrectly, and reading it again changes every single chapter. It is, quite simply, brilliant. It is humanity’s loss that he was taken away from us so early in his career.

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare you can tell us about?

Pigs, shaped like mini bottles, like balloon animals, being taken and shoved upwards, their mouths open, onto a machine like a metal coat rack, with hooks that had tubes that went down their throats, which sucked all of the blood out of them. I could hear their screams as it happened – about 12 piglets in a row, squirming their fat little bodies, their tiny legs kicking uselessly.

I woke up drenched in sweat and seriously took about half a day to calm down. It was horrific. Not only because I am a vegetarian… Their screams…

Which character from someone else’s fiction would you most like to be?

I was brought up on comics. I learnt everything about storytelling from them. Someone as black and white as Marv from Frank Miller’s Sin City – The long hard Goodbye – is pretty much the definition of dedication to a cause. And nobody looks as good with plasters on their face as he does.

What are your comfort horror movies, the ones you go back to again and again?

I don’t watch horror movies, they scare the hell out of me. I am a total wuss. It’s too much. I hate seeing horrible things. I can read about them all day. I have a high gore factor, love clean horrific prose, yet I hate seeing people have bad things happen to them. I even dislike watching those clips where people do stupid things and get injured.

What are your plans for the next year of writing?

I’m hoping to get three books published this year, The Dawn Chorus, The Masocheist (the sequel to The Sadeiest), and my first collection of short stories. After that I’m hoping to get together with a well-known horror book cover artist and produce a horror graphic novel, and work on an animation.

Where can people stalk you online like a serial killer? Have you got a newsletter/reader magnet?

I hang out on twitter, and Instagram, and also my website:

you can sign up for my newsletter there, where I’ll be giving away some short stories as reader magnets and the first couple of chapters of The Dawn Chorus as a taster…

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Two things, I can’t wait for you all to get a hold of The Dawn Chorus, which I’m hoping for a mid-year release (I’ve been set back a little through a new job). It’s a creature feature where the Earth has been overrun by invisible predator like creatures that vague into our world from their own multi earth, kill their victims and pull them back into their own world. The story is from the perspective of a soldier with ADHD, and is the most challenging perspective and most fun character to write I have ever had.


Read more Indie Horror! And leave reviews. And reach out to the authors of books you love. They appreciate every single one of you.

Dan: Thanks, Austrian. Make sure you check out his website and review and of course get yourself a copy of The Sadeiest. 

This interview is sponsored by my novel Savage: 

Author Dan Soule Savage front coverJack is back, but he isn’t even the worst thing on the streets of Whitechapel…

The Ripper copycat murders are on the front pages, and Dylan is just a paperboy forced to deliver drugs along with the morning news. When a new house appears on his paper round, fate pushes Dylan into a rival gang’s territory. Risking being stabbed and robbed, he delivers the paper to 25 Gallows Court. But there’s something not quite right about the rundown house. Apart from being boarded up, and guarded by a rabid dog, no one else seems able to see it. Not the shopkeepers on either side. Not even the three kids from the Duppy Crew who chase Dylan one morning. When he steps off the pavement and vanishes from view, the house seems to offer protection from a cruel and unforgiving world. On the backstreets of London, where life is cheap, there are always deals to be made. Dylan might want to be a little more careful with whose offer he takes. Because what he gives away might wake up something far worse than the murderer stalking the women of Whitechapel…

Click here to read it now: SAVAGE