Meow! My guest today is author Elizabeth J. Duncan!
- Tell us a little about your background
I worked as a journalist in Canada and the UK for several years, then a newspaper editor, switched to public relations and wrapped up that part of my career as a college professor. I retired in 2013 to devote myself to full-time writing.
- Tell us a bit about your Penny Brannigan Series. How did that come about?
A newspaper story about a group of teenagers who did a bad thing triggered an idea for a novel. I’d been in Wales a few months earlier and decided to set the story there. This story became The Cold Light of Mourning, the first book in the Penny Brannigan series. It was my first attempt at writing fiction and won two awards and was nominated for two more.
- Tell us about your latest release, Murder on the Hour
An antiques appraisal show comes to town and a clock and a quilt provide clues to a murder.
- You also write another series. Tell us about Shakespeare in the Catskills. Are you a fan of the Bard?
I am! I majored in English at university in a previous century so it’s been great fun rediscovering Shakespeare through online course work and reading. This series features costume designer and amateur sleuth Charlotte Fairfax, formerly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, now with a small company based in upstate New York.
- How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I listen to them and when they show me who they are, I believe them. They reveal new and interesting things about themselves in every book.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I have a general idea, a one-page outline of the plot before I start to write, but the finished manuscript is often quite different from that. I go where the story leads me, rather like a reader.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Character. Readers keep reading because they want to find out what happens to the characters, not just what happens.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Sometimes I’m not sure where the story has to go next and the work stalls. Here are three ways I’ve discovered to get and stay motivated and inspired. 1. Tell or describe the story to someone. Talking about it brings it to life. 2. Revisit the place where the story is set. 3. Hang out with a group of other writers – go to a conference, join a local library group, or organize a little writerly get together yourself. Put yourself in the right environment, with the right people, and some of the magic will rub off on you.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I met New York agent Dominick Abel at a conference. It was late, he was tired, and I told him I’d won a publishing contract with St. Martin’s Press. I was over the moon when he agreed to represent me.
What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I write around everything else that’s happening. I don’t count writing hours; I count words written and aim for 1,000 a day. Although I’m not as disciplined as I should be, a looming deadline concentrates my mind wonderfully.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Went down a mine three times as part of the research for Slated for Death.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m on level 1,520 of Candy Crush. With no boosters!
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Q. What took you so long to start writing fiction? A. I don’t know.
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
www.elizabethjduncan.com and like my facebook page facebook.com/elilzabethjduncan for daily posts on where I am and what I’m doing. Or just stuff I hope you’ll find interesting. Follow me on Twitter @elizabethduncan
· Just for Fun:
· Night or Day? Day
· Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Dog. Sorry.
· Beach or Pool? Pool
· Steak or salad? Salad
· Favorite Drink? Water.
· Favorite Book? Whatever I’m reading now.
· Favorite TV Series? Endeavour
· Favorite Movie? Casablanca
· Favorite Actor: Shaun Evans
· Favorite Actress: Ingrid Bergman
· Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada, non alcoholic
· Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii
· Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be William Shakespeare.
· If I had just one wish, it would be that our beloved pets could live longer.
· If I could trade places with anyone in the world, I wouldn’t.
To win a copy of Murder on the Hour (ARC or finished copy to be determined) leave a comment here and like elizabeth’s facebook page. www.facebook.com/elizabethjduncan
U.S. and Canada only. Contest closes midnight Eastern Time Zone, April 17!