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World of Horror: Interview with Austrian Spencer


Austrian Spencer lives with his family in Austria, nestled under a mountain, and is slowly hoarding gold in an attempt to lure his own dragon. Until such a time, he acts as the headbutting post to two cats, edits books for other writers, and writes horror novels or shorts such as: “Krampus” in Burial Day’s Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol; “9/11” in Ghost Orchid Press’s Beneath: An Anthology of Dark Microfiction; and The Sadeiest.

Austrian’s media
Website: https://www.austrianspencer.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpencerAustrian
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/austrianspencer/
Substack: https://austrianspencer.substack.com

World of Horror: Interview with Austrian Spencer

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

It’s the most honest of the genres—it asks its readers to understand their own capabilities for violence, fear, loathing, and our need to overcome them or embrace them. Horror writers ask the questions we all shy away from—because the commitment to face those emotions is too personal. We don’t address those situations daily, so it forces us to learn. Plus—I love turning on that cold hard place inside of me and destroying, clinically, that which I have built.

There’s probably a lot to work on in therapy in that admission.

Is there a horror tradition in your country, in your culture? A taste for horror, a market? Not necessarily literature; perhaps oral tradition too.

I’m a little removed, as an Englishman in Austria, from the market, which is mainly translations of existing authors. Horror in Austria is maybe given a shelf in the bookstores. Maybe less. Yet they have great parades for Krampus, every December 5th. Those masks can be awesome.

Who are some of your favorite characters in horror, internationally and/or in your own culture?

I don’t watch horror movies—too scary. It’d be characters from horror books—indie horror.

John from Daniel Barnett’s Nightmareland series springs to mind.

Do you make a conscious effort to include characters and settings from your country in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?

Yes, I generally have at least one European-sounding name in my cast—Henreich in The Sadeiest. I didn’t like Heinrich—sounds TOO German, so I altered it a little, and I use African names in The Masocheist for characters surrounding Famine, horseman of the apocalypse.

I guess my motivation is to include diversity. Anglicized names are everywhere; the world is richer than that.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

That people who read horror are highly intelligent and human and honest.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve, both in the US and in your country?

I think it’s opening up. It’s embracing diversity, it’s evolving.

How do you feel the International horror writing community has been represented thus far in the market and what hopes do you have for representation going forward?

We are a drop in the ocean. Representation in something like the Stokers is impossible, the judges that decide entries for the categories can only read English (I assume), and there isn’t even a category for “Horror in other languages,” let alone breaking it down into novellas, novels, debut work, etc. That’s not something I expect to see improve or change, you’d be asking a small group of constantly changing panelists to learn diverse languages? Nope. Not going to happen. And that’s just logical. There’s no prejudice there. Not everyone speaks multiple languages. The sad fact is, unless it’s in English, Stokers aren’t an option. This is probably the first and best response to the issue, which gives me hope for the HWA—I think they are heading in the right direction, and are open to evolving.

I’d still like to see Brian Keene on the board 😀

Who are some international horror authors you would recommend?

Alex Woodroe—Romanian (I believe), and also known for her wonderful editing and Tenebrous Press
Alan Baxter—Australian
Daniel Soule—English
Cynthia Pelayo—Puerto Rican (although that makes her American by default)

That’s a tough one. I need to work on this.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?

Drink more coffee. Eat more biscuits. Take us places we haven’t been before.

And to the writers from your country out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

Be a part of the horror community, and contribute to it, before you publish. Get to know us, and let us get to know you, so we can help you promote your work.

And drink more coffee.

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