Interview Q&A with Spencer Hamilton, Author of The Fear with Richelle
Q: Hey, Spencer! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: Hi, Richelle! Thanks for having me. The brass tacks: I write horror. You probably want a little more than that, heh heh, so . . . I’m from Austin, TX, I’m not even the tallest in my family at 6’4”, aaand I just put out my first book (short story collection) (Kitchen Sink: Stories) and my first novel (The Fear) this year.
Q: Who are your inspirations for writing? Where did your love for writing start?
A: Oh god, where to start? There’s the obvious leviathan, Stephen King, but just as much there’s Joe Hill, Paul Tremblay, David Mitchell, Dave Eggers . . . the list goes on. From an early age I was in love with reading—Goosebumps, Harry Potter, Redwall—and as soon as I found out this was something people did as a job, I was all in. So I think my answer to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question was first Spider-Man and then an author.
Q: How does it feel to have your first novel out? Also, what would you say is your writing process? Have you gotten down a method yet or are you still figuring that out?
A: It’s strange to celebrate such a massive dream of mine during such a tumultuous time, so releasing The Fear has been equal parts a dream and surreal. Jury’s still out on my writing process, despite having been writing for as long as I can remember. I’m still testing out how best to approach novel-length works, but the more I work the more I realize that in the end, what matters most is that I have a feel for the characters.
Q: Were there any writing prompt books you used to help with the creative process?
A: I don’t know about writing prompt books, but The Fear was essentially born out of what we all were living through (and are still living through) when COVID-19 began. So, essentially, my own fear and anxiety from watching the news unfold and from everything shutting down was what prompted my creativity.
Q: I haven’t had the chance to read your short story collection but have you written a same-sex couple before? Did you do research before writing this book or have someone read over it?
A: There was a same-sex couple in a story that ultimately wasn’t finished in time for Kitchen Sink, but it will be a huge part of a future project (called Void Hunters). As for research, I think the most important part of a writer’s job is to approach each character as a real, fully realized human being with their own opinions and background and lived experience. I fell in love with Jack and Ash in The Fear and felt a deep connection to them. I was certainly conscious of the differences while writing, and talked about this with my editor Amy extensively throughout. I also had a sensitivity reader, Cecilia, from the LGBTQ+ community, which I think is very important.
Q: I was definitely impressed with the amount of editors you had for this book and each role they played which is mentioned in the back of the book. Do you mind giving us a brief rundown of that?
A: Absolutely! Amy Teegan, my editor, talked with me about every scene before I wrote it, and I actually read each chapter to her right after writing. A very hands-on (and invaluable) developmental editing approach. In the middle of writing, I had my friend Jamie Davis answer a slew of medical questions so I knew what my characters were going through would be realistic (Jamie is an author and EMT; check him out @podmedic). My draft then went to my beta reader, David Burchell, who gave me copious notes after I finished each part of the book. Then came my sensitivity reader, Cecilia. After a number of drafts and revisions, Amy copyedited the book and I proofread it. I believe very strongly in the editing process, so it was important to me to give the book the attention it needed.
Q: Well I’m excited to read more of your work in the future with how much you value and put into your work. Can you tell us what you're working on now or have coming out soon?
A: Night Worms exclusive! (Is that a thing?) My next project is a novella I’m very excited about called Welcome to SmileyLand . . . a supernatural carnival slasher! That one will only be available to my newsletter subscribers at SpencerHamiltonBooks.com. After that, I’m returning to some characters from the opening story in Kitchen Sink, “Hive” . . . and that’s all I’m saying at the moment.
Q: Well I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me and answer my questions! Is there anything you want to include that I might have left out? Also what are some links that readers can follow you at and get updates on your upcoming works?
A: Thank you so much, Richelle, this has been fun—so happy to feel so welcomed by the Night Worms crew. There’s good news for The Fear: the audiobook will be released just in time for Halloween (as well as some other surprises . . . shhh)! And the narrator, Natalie Naudus, is just incredible. As for where people can find me, I love hanging out on Instagram as @nerdywordsmith and of course there’s my website, SpencerHamiltonBooks.com, for all updates and exclusives. Thanks again!