Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
Welcome to Whispers in Purple, Lillian, I’m so glad to have you visit.
Tell us a little about you.
My husband and I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have one traffic light. But I love being back. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
The answer to both is Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in from time to time. I guess writing is sort of like eating. You are what you read, and for me that means I’m a suspense/mystery writer.
Tell us about DEADLY INTENT.
Deadly Intent is the second in my Deadly Communications series that features Maven Morris, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who gets a little too involved with her clients. Okay, a lot too involved.
In Deadly Intent, she becomes a foster mother to an abandoned child who won’t or can’t speak. Then he disappears without a clue! And that’s when things start getting interesting not to mention deadly!
How long did it take you to write this book?
DEADLY INTENT is a novella so it didn’t take anywhere near as long as a full-length novel. I would say I finished the first draft within a month. Then another month to revise and polish before I submitted it.
Tell me a bit about your main characters. Who did you have the most fun creating? Why?
I had a great time creating Maven Morris—a crime-fighting speech pathologist! In many ways, we’re quite similar. I was a speech pathologist for more than 30 years! She’s short just like me, but not as short. She has Bell’s palsy, just like me. But we’re also different. I would never get myself into the trouble she gets herself into. I’m not nearly as adventurous or as fearless as she is!
What’s the setting for DEADLY INTENT?
Maven lives in the city of Wooster, Ohio. Coincidently, it’s a city I’ve lived near most of my life. But, of course, the story is fictional and not based on reality!
How did you come up with the title for the Deadly Communications series?
How could that not be the title? When a speech-language pathologist (SLP) gets involved in a murder mystery, what else could you name it?
Is DEADLY INTENT the first book you published?
I’ve been blessed to have several books published in the past several years. My last release was REDEMPTION, the third in my Sisters by Choice series.
How did the Deadly Communications series come about?
First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense story and an SLP. I loved being an SLP, but most people would find the repetition somewhat boring.
Secondly, a few days later I was talking with someone whose daughter had been involved in an accident and was now experiencing communication difficulties.
Thirdly, as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic.
That’s all it took! My writer mind took over from there and DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS was born.
So, then it sounds as if you were a speech-language pathologist. Tell us a little about that job.
I retired as an SLP from a large city school district in Ohio, then spent several more years working part-time in smaller, rural districts near where I live. Between the two jobs, I don’t think there is any type of child I haven’t worked with at least once.
I loved my job and still miss it. Mostly I miss the children, not the paper work involved. If it weren’t for serious health issues, I would still be working.
What sort of serious health issues?
In 2012 I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. Fortunately, they weren’t cancerous, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t wreaked havoc on my life.
Oh, my, Lillian. I so admire your courage and determination to keep writing despite this.
What do you want readers to take away from the DEADLY COMMUNICATION series?
Maven has experienced a series of life-changing events that led to depression. Maven chooses to get out of bed and keep moving. It’s not easy when life throws us a curve ball or two, like getting brain tumors.
It may not seem fair, but how we react to those things will determine the quality of our future. As the story moves forward we see Maven struggle with her spirituality but we also see her turn back to God. I want readers to know they can overcome difficult situations in their own life with God’s help.
Was it difficult to write a character with communication problems?
Not at all. In fact, that was part of the fun of writing DEADLY INTENT. When Maven meets her foster child for the first time, he won’t communicate with anyone and shows characteristics of autism. As the story proceeds we see him slowly improve his communication skills.
What is your writing process?
I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.
When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.
Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?
Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I’m surprised right along with my readers.
Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?
I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s okay, I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.
I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions. My characters are usually on a spiritual journey as well—but some are further along than others.
What are you working on now?
I just finished the final edits on the third in the Deadly Communications series. Its title is DEADLY SILENCE. In it, Maven will be back and facing some very difficult life circumstances.
Along with that, she’s working with a late-deafened adult as a client. A subject near and dear to me since I’ve lost all my hearing in one ear and a significant amount in the other because of the brain tumors.
I also have several other stories in various stages that I’m working on.
Book Title: Deadly Intent
Author: Lillian Duncan
Publisher: Pelican Ventures Book Group - Harbourlight Books
Release Date: August 2015
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
TAGLINE: Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. In this case, it could be lethal!
Everyone belongs somewhere. The key to happiness is recognizing that place when you get there.
Maven Morris can’t seem to find that place. A childless widow, she has no immediate family. Forced into a medical leave, she has no career. At loose ends, she hasn’t a clue what’s next for her.
Her neighbor, Paul Jordan knows what he wants—to move their friendship to a new level. Maven may not know what’s next, but she does know she has no interest in romance with anyone— not even her handsome neighbor.
When a young boy is abandoned in the city park, he touches her heart. In spite of his obvious special needs, she agrees to provide a temporary foster home for him. She has no idea the impact he will have on her life—or the danger he brings to her doorstep.
HOW CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?
My website is www.lillianduncan.net and I have a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com. I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan
→To celebrate the release of Deadly Intent, I’m having a giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift cards but that’s not all! Five more winners will get a $5 Amazon gift card. How’s that for a celebration?
→All you have to do is hop over to www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment on the Deadly Intent announcement. The contest ends September 26. PS. When you leave a comment, be sure to tell me what blog you read about me on. Then check back to see if you’re a winner!
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.