Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Inteview with Elizabeth J. Duncan

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My latest book is The Marmalade Murders, published April 24 by St. Martin's Press. This is the ninth book in the Penny Brannigan series set in North Wales; I have three books in another series, Shakespeare in the Catskills, published by Crooked Lane Books. So that's 12!

How did you become interested in writing?
I started out as an avid reader and I've worked as a writer my whole life. It's just what I do. I've been a journalist, a public relations practitioner, and now a novelist.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening, etc?
I aim to write 1,000 words a day, but I'm not nearly as disciplined as I should be. I'm easily distracted and before I know it, there's another day gone, and not a child in the house washed, as the Irish say.  I used to write in the evening, but tend now to write in the morning. As for as the writing itself, that accounts for only about 1/3 of an author's time. The other two thirds are marketing and public relations activities (promotion), proof reading and copy edits, and organizing the writing life.

Do you plot the entire book first, then write or plot as you go?
I have to submit an outline of the book I propose to write to the publisher, so I start with that, but it's loose, and the finished book may look quite different. I probably know the main plots to help me navigate through the story, but not always. In my last book (Much Ado About Murder), after I'd submitted the book to my editor, I realized the killer was someone else. Interestingly, I'd already planted a couple of clues that pointed to this person, so re-writing to take the book in a different direction wasn't too difficult. Author Barry Lancet describes his writing process as being like driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco at night -- you know where you started, and you know where you're going, but all you can see is what's in the beam of your headlights. That sums it up nicely for me, too.

Do you use real people and places as models for your books?
Many of the places in the Penny Brannigan series are real, and I incorporate fragments of real people ... but never a whole person.

Who is your favorite author?
Often, it's the person I'm reading at the moment, which happens to be Andrew Hughes, author of The Convictions of John Delahunt. I do like the police procedurals of Peter James. I don't read many books from the same genre that I write.

How do you promote your books?
I use social media -- Facebook and Twitter -- attend conferences, do personal appearances, I send out a newsletter, and participate in blogs, like this one. Thank you for the opportunity!
For a review of The Marmalade Murders, click here. 

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