interview: Author Spencer Seidel

Written by Darlyn At Sunday, May 15, 2011
Today I would like to welcome Author Spencer Seidel at Darlyn & Books. This interview is to celebrate the release of his debut book in Dead of Wynter, a mystery-thriller novel. You can read my review here. It's totally a good book!

D: Hello Spencer! Can you tell us what inspired you to write Dead of Wynter?

SS: My own family. My mother's side of the family has a troubled history. In the 1940's, an ugly rumor about a murder among cousins at a Michigan campsite surfaced. In a moment of dementia, my grandmother inadvertently revealed to my mother that there may have been some truth to the stories. Then, when my heavy-drinking uncle died (my mother's brother), I decided to combine the two tragedies into a novel. Dead of Wynter is a kind of fermented, concentrated version of those events with plenty of made-up things thrown in.

D: Where do you do most of your writing?

When I'm planning a novel, the less it seems like work the better. The creative rocket sauce is more potent that way. So, I usually sit on my sofa under my headphones with my iPad. Then, once I start my drafts, I sit at a big bare desk my father built for me writing on a laptop. Unlike many other writers, I can't write in public spaces. I need to cocoon myself, preferably in the dark under headphones.

D: Would you tell us what is your favorite book?

Honestly, I consume and like so many books that my "favorite" is usually one I've read in the last year or so. Joe Hill is in that category currently. I loved Horns and Heart Shaped Box, both of which I read this past year. A few years ago, I fell in love with Caleb Carr's The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. Before that, I might have said Stephen King's The Shining. Ken Follett, Jack Ketchum, and Peter Straub have also written favorites for me at one time or another.

D: The whole story is awesome but which part of Dead of Wynter was the most enjoyable to write for you?

When I was about halfway through the second draft, I happened to be at my parents' house on Cape Cod. This was in the summer of 2009. There was something about the plot as it was then that had been bugging me for several weeks. One afternoon, I stepped out of the shower and out of nowhere came a new, better idea for the second half. I rushed for a pad and pen and felt incredibly happy even though I knew I would have to go back and shuffle some things around to make it work. After that, the second half of the book was a thrill to write.

D: What are you currently reading?

I'm always reading, so this is a moving target. I just finished Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, which I liked quite a bit and read quickly. Before that, I read The Exorcist by William Blatty for the first time with my Goodreads horror group. That was a trip. I loved the whole "Captain Howdy" thing. Absolutely brilliant. Now, I'm reading Port City Shakedown by Gerry Boyle, a wonderful Maine mystery writer. In addition, for bedtime reading, I'm slowly working my way through the Harry Potter series again in preparation for the last movie. I read the books too fast the first time through, so I've decided to savor them a bit this time.

D: As a new author, do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published authors?

A lot of writers I know make the mistake of becoming too enamored with the fact that they've written a novel, so they spend years revising it, shopping it around, and trying to convince the world that they've really got something. But if no one's biting, consider filing it away for another day and get to work on something else. No shame in having a couple of novels in the back of your closet. You always learn something when you write a new novel.

Thanks so much to Spencer Seidel for his time for the interview.

About the Author

Spencer Seidel lives and works in suburban New Jersey but has also called Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine home. He is an honors graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University and attended the Berklee College of Music to study guitar, which he has been playing for over 25 years. His love of reading and books began as a child after discovering Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Later, he was drawn to darker work by authors such as Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Jack Ketchum, who continue to influence his dark novels and short stories.

His debut novel, Dead of Wynter, is due to be published in May 2011.


  1. Great interview, Darlyn! And hello to Spencer!

    I'm happy to know that the author has read and enjoyed Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box. I loved that book. Also excited to know that he's catching up on the Harry Potter series. I'm about to start Book 5 soon.

  2. I always enjoy author interviews and this was no exception. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  3. Did you get my message about winning the preloved giveaway? Please email me your address and full name so I can send it out thanks



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