Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we would like to introduce you to an author and poet whose literary fiction refuses to be stuck in a category. His long lists of talents includes producing his own audiobook! This author takes his inspiration from classics and his style absolutely benefits from that!
Introducing Duncan Wilson!
When did you start writing as a career?
I have been writing since childhood, much like many other writers, but only focused my time on writing in the last decade, solidifying snippets of stories into proper narratives and polishing my prose for publication.
What's your current work in progress?
I do not want to count the works I have in progress (it's 92, ninety-two), but the projects I am currently slaving away at are an Irish fairy tale about a door in a wall that looks to lead nowhere and a little girl in a window who no one acknowledges is there, and a book about a pair of troubled young women, each seeking their own identity in a world that rejects and holds them back respectively. Called Neither Here Nor There, it chronicles the story of Sally, who is leaving a painful past behind for an idealized new life only to learn the natives of her new land ostracize outsiders, and Jane, who is a native of this same region but wants very badly to break free from her insular community and all those who hold her back based on jealousy or traditional bonds to the 'group'. There is a bit of a surreal mystery in that neither woman, despite sharing many acquaintances and spaces, ever cross paths with the other except in their own minds.
Happy book birthday! Your novel, Once Upon A Lane released this time last year. Tell us about the book.
Once Upon A Lane is a story about an ideal suburban neighborhood and all of the neighbors you would love to have, the sorts of helpful, friendly neighbors who tend their lawns with dogmatic devotion, that bring over baked goods whenever they suspect you might be feeling down, who lend you books and tools and watch your children at a moments notice, the sort of neighbors who would do almost anything to maintain their perfect little bubble of paradise amidst the more turbulent world. Well, almost anything. None will confront their darker secrets, none will acknowledge the shadows that creep in at the edges in-between their well appointed homes, and no one dares look at, much less go near the house with the dead yard. Alone and ominous, it sits among them and haunts their dreams.
The audiobook for Once Upon A Lane came out shortly after the book. Talk to us about the process of getting an audiobook created.
I ended up producing and editing it myself (luckily I have some experience with audio editing), so the process mostly involved very long hours of work. Going into the home-built production booth with my narrator, I knew it would be long hours far in excess of the length of the book, and I was right. For every hour of finished reading, we spent nine in the booth and three in editing it together afterward. There are only two ways of making a quality audiobook, put in the time required to get it right, or pay a professional to do the work for you.
You write primarily science fiction and paranormal stories. What led you to those genres?
I've always had a love affair with science fiction stories, going back to my childhood favorites from Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Heinlein, and countless others. Paranormal and horror came later in life, as I do not read anything contemporary that could be considered either, picking up a fascination with those genres from Poe and Lovecraft and a few of their more obscure peers instead.
Do you have any plans to write in different genres?
Indeed I do, or more accurately, I already do. About half of my written work still stuck in various stages of editing is fantasy including several novellas and three different anthologies of short stories set in a shared world I have been building since childhood. One of those anthologies is in the form of a frame story (similar to the Arabian Nights or the Mahabharata), where the members of a desert caravan take turns telling fables, legends, and pieces of history from their respective lands each night around the campfire.
I have also written and am writing a few mysteries, horror stories, fairy tales, and general fiction stories.
How does your book rebel against the status quo?
All of my readers agree that Once Upon A Lane defies genre, incorporating elements from horror, paranormal, and slice-of-life among others, into classical narrative fiction in a way that easily wanders from whimsy and wonder to momentous emotional moments to tense terror and back again seamlessly, all through the wandering perspective of the many interesting residents of the lane and their mundane daily adventures in suburbia. One moment, you will be adventuring through the eyes of Bobby or the youngest Murphy boy as they race from one envisioned quest to another and the next you will be pondering the mysteries of the stars through the eyes of Young Tommy or attempting to decipher eldritch languages with Liola or Wilber Tumbleburry. In this story of a neighborhood, the focus is on the whole lane and all the lives that make it special as well as suspicious.
Your first book was released in 2015. How has your writing changed since then?
I would hope it has matured, as I would hope I can say five, ten, or even fifty years from now. I am more comfortable writing longer works now, and more confident in characterizations and settings.
You also write poetry. Tell us about your poetic work.
Poetry is a passion of fanciful phrasing and wielding words with wonder and whimsy, a song of syllables and sounds that might be imagined more than fathomed. Most of my poetry presumes a point, a setting or story set to some semblance of syntax that invokes imagery in as few steps as possible, and just as often my prose is poetic to lend greater effect to the mind's eye as the narrative unfolds across the pages.
When I was younger, my poetry was principally of older styles, strictly structured and rhythmically rhyming as dictated by the dictionary definition of whatever style I had been assigned at the time. It took a few teachers and many months of practice to break away from such rules, though upon occasion I will still fall into familiar patterns in my passages.
Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
Based on the genre-defying nature of my novel, I was advised by other authors to take the independent route of self-publishing, which has proven to be an uphill battle to find my audience and get noticed by reviewers. I have been able to develop a small following on twitter by writing micro-stories (tweet sized) to accompany art by the many talented artists on that platform, but have met with limited success outside of that platform.
What are you reading currently?
My brother and I are in the process of enjoying Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. We are about halfway through so far. Other than that shared adventure though, I typically read one non-fiction book on some subject of history or sociology then read one fiction book at a time, usually old classics I missed until now, but occasionally modern fiction as well.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
In the near future, I will be finalizing and publishing between one to four volumes of short stories, many of which will be released initially for preview to my patreon supporters one per month. Depending on when my cover artists and beta readers get back to me, I should also be able to publish up to five novellas as well. My second novel, The Great River of the Abyss, will be released sometime mid to late next year, barring unforeseen delays.