Jeff Spence - Thriller, Mystery and Fantasy Author.
Hello, and welcome to the site.
It's a humbling thing to write down one's imaginary stories and have people spend their time and money reading them. It's why I strive to make every book a truly enjoyable read. I don't take you for granted, and I'm priviledged to have you here.
If you'd like to learn more about me, how and what write, and maybe hone your own skill at the craft, please visit my Bio page on the Fantasy Fiction site. It will open in a new window for you.
On this page, I'm going to share the bit about my background that informs these stories in particular.
If you've already read several of my books, you'll notice a few things in common among the stories. Many scenes take place in Miami, Oxford, the Bahamas, and the Middle East. There is a reason for that!
'Write what you know' is something every writer has heard, and most have taken to heart. Scenes are more realistic and engaging if they are tied to real experience and first-hand knowledge as much as possible.
I have lived in the Bahamas and in Miami, have Studied Ancient Literature and Religion at the University of Oxford, and a main focus of those studies was the documents and context of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Middle Eastern religion in the first few centuries of the Common Era. That means Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other (non-extant) religious practices of the period.
It makes sense that I would start there.
I live in London now - just west of it to be more accurate - and the several Covid lockdowns we have had here have given me the excuse to be reclusive, to read more, to write more, and even to finally hone my skills in French (past a moderate middle school level!).
Each person who studies at Oxford also belongs to a particular college within the university. It's much like the houses of Hogwart's School of Magic and Witchcraft in Harry Potter novels, but chosen mainly to align with areas of study.
Mine was Blackfriars Hall, run by Dominican Friars and attached to the chapel where Tolkien took his daily mass and took many inspirations for The Lord of the Rings - inspirations that are clear to a fan who strolls around the chapel there. Danny Wolfe's Catholic context was inspired there, though the corruption he deals with in the novels does not, and has not ever, to my knowledge, occurred there. But Danny struggles with tough questions, and so do those who study in the Hall. A fitting alignment.
Out the back, and a couple of medieval alleyways away, is the library within which many wonderful Middle Eastern (Persian, Babylonian, Hebrew and Hellentistic) documents were housed. A little further on is the Ashmolean Museum - another trove of inspiration. Heading out the front instead, a short walk ended at the Pitt Rivers Museum - imagine Indiana Jones as a billionaire, hoarding his treasures according to type, rather than age or origin. This informs The Bowl of Marduk, as Marina Saalik goes after just such a treasure.
My time in the Bahamas and Miami inspired parts of the Marcel Dumont books, and growing up among cowboys in Alberta, Canada, inspired Cliff Sturgeon. I took his name, in fact, from a step-uncle I had, who epitomised the cowboy trope for me. He has now passed away. Using his name is a tribute to him; the best I have to give.
The themes of my stories often revolve around inner tensions and turmoils, impossible decisions, and the philosophical discussions surrounding guilt, responsibility - personal and societal - and the ways in which we lie to ourselves and others in an effort to be more at peace, internally and in our social circles.
I don't think I'll run out of inspiration any time soon.
If you have any questions, or even if you want to request a certain setting or type of story, please feel free to send an email to the address below. I'll do my best to answer all of them.
Thanks for becoming a fan, and I hope you enjoy the books to come.