Who is SM Spencer?
S M Spencer grew up reading the romantic suspense works of marvellous authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books, as well as others by such incredible authors as Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, and J.R.R. Tolkien, stirred in her a passion that would last a lifetime–to write stories that would stay with readers long after they’d finished the final pages.
Although SM Spencer grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area she now lives in Australia and writes from the home she shares with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.
Her first complete series is the YA Paranormal Romance trilogy, Absent Shadows. She is currently working on a contemporary romance series, and a science fiction thriller – all coming soon.
In Her Own Words
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in California and grew up watching the eerie television shows of the 60’s: Dark Shadows, The Twilight Zone, The Invaders and Outer Limits being among those I remember best. What imaginations those writers had!
The creative side of me contemplated studying either literature or parapsychology at university however the logical side of me won out and I ended up studying business instead. This led me to a number of occupations over the years, the most exciting of which landed me in Australia. I literally fell in love with the country—its people, its places and its culture—and made Australia my permanent home.
What made you want to start writing?
I think the desire to write started when I was very young. When I’d read a good book, I would live the story for some time afterwards, often re-writing the ending. I was amazed and in awe of the writers who could do that; write stories that saturated me so completely. And the respect I had for them was what made me want to be like them.
Tell us a bit about the Absent Shadows trilogy.
The Absent Shadows trilogy is the story of a young woman who wants to make a difference with her life, but isn’t sure how to go about it. When she takes a trip to Australia for her summer vacation, she discovers a supernatural world that she’d never imagined existed. Her belief systems and courage are tested, but in the end it is her love and devotion that get her through.
The story is set in and around some of the oldest parts of Melbourne, being the Flagstaff Gardens and Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. Most of what is now the carpark for the market was originally the site of the Old Melbourne Cemetery. The cemetery was relocated when the market expanded; however most of the bodies (in the order of approximately 9,000) were not exhumed, and remain there today.
The story brings together my love of the paranormal, my desire to remain open-minded to explanations of how the world we live in really works, and my deep belief in the good that resides in most people (even though we all know there are some vampires who, quite simply, cannot be trusted!)
What inspired you to write this trilogy?
I was working near the Queen Victoria Markets and the Flagstaff Gardens at the time, and the location really spoke to me. I started imagining vampires and ghosts living in the gardens and the market. This was also fuelled by the fact that I’d been on a couple of late night ghosts tours where I’d learned the history of the bodies under the car park and heard stories of ghost sightings all throughout the area.
So, taking all my love of the paranormal into account, along with the resurgence in popularity of vampires, I began hashing out the story. And the more I wrote the more vivid the story became for me, aided by my ability to walk through the gardens or the market whenever I needed more inspiration.
The Absent Shadows Trilogy is self-published. Why did you decide to go the indie route rather than traditional publishing?
I canvassed a number of agents and a couple of e-book publishers and got responses that varied from cool to luke-warm. The main message coming through was that the genre was very crowded, so I figured I was wasting my time trying to get a publisher to put their money into the series. But with encouragement from friends and family I decided to simply bite the bullet and do it myself.
The first book in your trilogy won an IndieBRAG medallion, and subsequently was given Awesome Indies Approval. How does that make you feel?
Absolutely THRILLED. Being validated by your peers is an incredible feeling, and both the indieBRAG medallion honorees and the Awesome Indies Approved authors are peer groups I feel exceptionally proud to be part of.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed a contemporary/rural romance novella, set in a fictional town not too far from Melbourne. The book might be released by the time this blog runs, and if so you’ll be able to find it on my Amazon author page.
When you’re not writing, do you have any hobbies you spend time on?
I have three horses, and they take up a bit of time! We live on a small acreage property, and there are gardens all around the house. I also do volunteer work and play bridge when I’m not writing.
Where to find SM Spencer
Destiny (Absent Shadows Trilogy Book 1)
When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born. She’s nervous about her first overseas trip, yet excited about spending time with her aunt and embarking on what her mother insists is “an opportunity of a lifetime”.
But when Lili arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him.
Enticed by his dark, seductive eyes, Lili ignores her better judgement and finds herself drawn into a relationship that will test her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy—and things that she thought only existed in nightmares.
Will Lili succumb to the allurement of this dark and sensuous stranger? And if so, does she have what it takes to follow the treacherous path that leads through his world of Absent Shadows?