Friday, January 13, 2012

Shadows Author Michael Duncan Interview

Last week, I reviewed the fantasy novel Shadows: Book of Aleth Part 1. This week, I'm pleased to have the author, Michael Duncan, join us! Welcome, Michael!

*How do you get ideas for stories? Specifically, what gave you the idea for Shadows?

Ideas, for me, come rather naturally. Because I love fantasy stories I tend to imagine “what if” quite a lot. For instance, “what if dwarves lived in the mountains near my house?” From that I build a scene and then a scenario and then a story. For Shadows, I simply asked the question, “what if the truth was lost in our world today?” >From that, I began to tell the story of a man’s realization that the truth was lost, and then how he would go about finding it. I embarked on this story because I see this very thing happening in our world today. Truth is slowly being lost or hidden from view and people are beginning to live and function according to the only information they have – half-truths and lies.

*When did you start writing? Do you feel that God specifically called you to write, or is it something you took up on your own?

I started writing when I was 17, but stepped away from it for many years. I picked it back up when I was 37. Now, seven years later, I am blessed to be with Harbourlight Books. Along with other ministry objectives (preaching and teaching His word), I am certain that God called me to write.

*Do any of your characters take over the story, or do they generally stay well-behaved?

This is a fascinating question. J My characters are rather independent in that they seem to grow and develop along with the story. I feel like a spectator sometimes, even as I am writing the story, because some of them do take over a scene. Because I tend to write organically, letting the story develop as it goes, the characters are not static and they will try to take over once in a while.

*Why did you decide to write fantasy?

Fantasy is the genre I am most familiar with. I grew up reading the likes of Piers Anthony, Elizabeth Boyer, David Eddings and so on, so I naturally fell into the world of fantasy writing. Besides, if I write fantasy, I can make it all up as I go! If I tried to write, let’s say, historical fiction, then I would need to know the places and times and situations that the world was in. With fantasy, I am limited only by my imagination.

*Which fantasy creature is your favorite?

I think that my favorite would have to be the Ents of Tolkien’s work.

*Did you base any characters off of someone you know personally?

Yes, in part. There are a couple characters that are built on people I’m close to, but for the most part what I have done to build a personality is to take qualities from various people and morph them into one character.

*Who is your favorite character that you've created? That you've read about?

I think that my favorite character that I have created is the dwarf, Braden. He is a person who has known persecution and suffering, as well as failure, but is willing to rise above his past to become more than others would ever imagine. I love redemptive stories, so his is a redemptive theme. A favorite character that I’ve read about might be Garion in the Belgariad series by David Eddings.

*How do you go about writing a book or story?

As I previously stated, I’m a bit of an “organic” writer. I start with a general theme or plot idea that acts as the thread which runs through the entire work. Other than that, I will let the story develop on its own, and just follow along with the characters as they grow and become entrenched in the plot. I will let the entire story run its course and then go back in editing to make changes so that the story will stay connected to the main plot – the “golden thread” that holds the entire story together.

*What do you do if you have a severe case of writer's block?

I’ve had many! Often I will use that time to edit. I will go back and re-read the work (up to that point) and begin to make small changes. Through that I have found my way back to the story and can pick it up where I left off. If that doesn’t work, I will simply walk away from it for a time and work on one of the many other projects I have going. If THAT doesn’t work, I will pick up a book I’m reading and disappear into another person’s imagination for a time.

*Can you tell me a little about future projects you have planned?

Well, in the summer of 2012, the sequel to Shadows will be out. It is titled, Revelation: Book of Aleth, Part Two. I am currently writing the rough draft of the third book in the series as well as finishing up a Christian political suspense novel and am in the beginning stages of a sci-fi novel. I am working on several non-fiction manuscripts, one is titled: The Seven Signs of a Healthy Church. I am also working with Tony Marino of Alive in Christ Radio ( and am in the process of developing my own show.

*What is your favorite funny writing quote?

“No matter where you go—there you are!” I don’t know if it is an actual writing quote, but it is one of my favorites.

Thanks, Michael, for joining me on Magical Ink! Readers, Michael can be visited online at his website, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Shadows can be purchased at his publisher, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

***Psssst! Don't forget! I'm running a giveaway of Kat Heckenbach's MG/YA novel Finding Angel. If you haven't entered already, it's super easy (and well worth a few minutes)! Find the full details here! The contest ends on the 18th.

1 responses:

Michael Duncan said...

Hi! I just want to say thank you for inviting me to share with your readers.

If any of you are interested in good Christian radio, listen to the Alive in Christ Radio Network on Tuesday night from 8 to 10pm (PST). You can at

God Bless!


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