For Self-Published Authors Appreciation Week, we’re interviewing a series of amazing indie authors who we think need their time in the spotlight! First is the lovely Leif Spencer, author of gripping post-apocalyptic fiction with her series The End We Saw and Darkness Ahead of Us. If you’re bored with fantasy and looking for something new, then we invite you to visit a post-apocalyptic England!
One: In your author bio, you mention that you’re from Switzerland and love hiking in the mountains! Did this inspire the dangerous treks your characters make in your post-apocalyptic stories?
Mountains have definitely taught me how to walk for hours, how to avoid blisters and that shoes are an incredibly important aspect of your attire.
We actually do a lot of hiking with our two dogs, and the English countryside has been a huge inspiration. I like England as a setting because it allows me to include guns, but at the same time it’s very believable when survivors are armed with only cricket bats.
I am, however, considering setting one of my stories in Switzerland.
Two: Why did you decide to self-publish and what has been your biggest success so far?
Freedom. I like being able to share my work as I grow as a writer, and I love the idea of readers watching me evolve. I also like being in control of my own covers and the editing.
My biggest success so far: completing two series. And yes, that’s a success because I’m one of those people who lets perfectionism get in the way. Crippling anxiety never makes for a productive artist. I need to learn to be braver and bolder. And I need to allow myself to experiment more.
Three: You recently finished your Darkness Ahead of Us series. What has been your favourite part of writing these books?
Christine Hughes. She’s a very complex and dark character. She starts out as what can be described as morally grey but slowly turns into…well, not a villain, but she’s not someone you want to meet in an alley after dark. This character allowed me to add a touch of psychological suspense to this EMP trilogy. A recent two-star review said, “The two female main characters are lunatics.”
Four: Your other post-apocalyptic series, The End We Saw, combines a post-apocalyptic world with magical powers. What inspired you to write this world?
I started writing the first novella, Stolen Visions, in 2016. As I was watching the refugee crisis unfold, I wondered how we would deal if something terrible happened in the West. I wrote the first chapter, then worked on something else.
A year later, I came up with the Pulse. The Pulse is the apocalyptic event in The End We Saw that kills anyone who isn’t underground on a fateful Tuesday morning at 11am.
While gaming with a friend I told her about it, and she said quite enthusiastically, “AND THE SURVIVORS DEVELOP SUPERPOWERS.” And I replied, “Well, actually, why not?”
I decided to make the powers a thing the survivors are afraid of, that they struggle to accept. Something that reminds them of the fact that they might still die, and that they’re not safe.
Five: You seem to be quite a big post-apocalyptic fan! Can you recommend a few of your favourite post-apocalyptic books from indie/self-published authors?
Check out Kyla Stone’s Edge of Collapse if you want to read about a woman held captive by a sadist until an EMP unlocks the electronic door to her prison. Read D Stalter’s Allison’s Secret if you want to learn about homesteading and would prefer to follow a small community who are working together. Read Misty Zaugg and Stephanie Mylchreest’s Aftermath series if you want to read about the aftermath of a devastating storm. And then there’s always Chris Pike, whose dogs are the best!
Six: What are you working on next? Can you tease us?
I’m going to try something new, for me. I’m going to write about three families who are coming together in a secluded manor for the 80th birthday of the patriarch, and then…it begins to snow, and it doesn’t stop. Trapped together, they must learn how to survive an incredibly cold winter, but they’re a family…and families rarely get on well for a prolonged period of time.
Seven: And a few quick questions:
What’s your favorite…
…book, in recent times?
The Iron Crown by L.L. MacRae (epic fantasy with dragons)
…game, in recent times?
Bloodborne (I actually play that to relax and unwind when I’m stressed)
Write as often as you can, finish stories, write the next one, then be brave and share.
…advice for someone who wants to publish their own book?
NEVER pay a publisher money to get it published. If they’re asking you for money, it’s a vanity press, and you’re losing money. Get sample pages from editors and agree on a timeframe with cover artists. Talk to other indie authors! Share! Help each other!
…source of inspiration?
Film score (especially Hans Zimmer)
…way to clear your mind when everything gets a bit much?
Cooking! I get up and cook for three hours. Others go for a walk or take a shower, I stir a stew for three hours.
Eight: Do you have any last words?
A hunter is a hunter, even in a dream.
Books by Leif Spencer
The End We Saw series:
Darkness Ahead of Us series:
Connect with Leif Spencer Here: