Hey readers! Meet my writer friend, Ed Duncan! He has a new book out and I wanted you guys to have the SCOOP of how his latest book , ” Pigeon-Blood Red” was all about. Be sure to read up until the end of the interview so you can check out his social media!
For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.
As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?
“Pigeon Blood Red at 238 pages, is not particularly long as books go, but Duncan packs a lot of story into those pages. Readers in search of a tight, well written, good guy versus bad guy, crime/action/adventure will find Pigeon Blood Red by Ed E. Duncan, an engrossing story that will keep them involved to the end. And like me, they will find themselves eagerly awaiting the next installment.” – Mike Siedschlag
Let The Interview Begin…
- What got you started with writing?
I’ve always wanted to write but I postponed jumping in with both feet because I was always too busy with my legal practice. I probably got the bug at least as early as the eleventh grade in high school when my English teacher wrote on my term paper that my writing was seldom if ever equaled among her students. That really knocked me off my feet and I never forgot those words, which I filed away in the back of my mind. Alas, I became a lawyer rather than a writer, but I always read for pleasure and for many years I was a member of a book club.
After I had been in practice of a short time, I purchased from my book club a one volume collection called The Novels of Dashiell Hammett, which included Hammett’s masterpiece, The Maltese Falcon. I fell in love with the novel and it rekindled my interest in writing, Still, I didn’t act on my impulse to write fiction until many years later when the idea for Pigeon-Blood Red popped into my mind while I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu. I started working on the novel at night and on weekends, but I could never devote enough time to it until I retired a couple of years early in 2012. Meanwhile, I wrote a legal treatise in 2008 called Ohio Insurance Coverage, and that whetted my appetite to finish Pigeon-Blood Red.
2. As a writer, it’s always good to read. What kinds of books do you read? What’s your reading schedule?
One thing I learned after writing Pigeon-Blood Red is that writers have to devote almost as much time to publicizing and promoting their work as they spend on writing. This includes keeping abreast of and contributing to social media, which can be time-consuming. Also, there is also the next book to think about and ultimately write (Pigeon-Blood Red is the first in a trilogy). In short, I don’t have enough time to to devote to reading as I’d like. That said, I read every installment of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I usually bring one of these novels with me on vacation. I’m an insomniac so I often read to help me fall asleep. I recently read Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley and A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D. MacDonald, as well as Sun, Sand, Murder and Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed by new author and friend John Keyse-Walker. I also read nonfiction and literary fiction when I get a chance. I just read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly and I reread The Stranger by Albert Camus. I’m currently reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
- Your book Pigeon-Blood Red, what gave you the idea for the book? Is it based on any true events in your life?
As I mentioned, the idea for the book came to me out of nowhere while I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu. That was sometime in the mid-90’s, which is an indication of how long it took for me to find the time to finish it. In my mind’s eye I saw a beautiful woman traveling alone and carrying something valuable that dangerous people were trying to get their hands on, and I saw a lawyer (like me!) coming to her rescue. Over the years that followed, I filled in details, many of which changed as a result of the many drafts and redrafts. The title also changed. It was originally Murder in Paradise. The “something” the woman was carrying became a pigeon-blood red ruby necklace worth millions. The phrase “pigeon-blood red” was coined centuries ago by Indian gem dealers. It describes the color of the rarest and most valuable rubies in the world, the same color as the first few drops of blood that trickle from the nostrils of a freshly killed pigeon.
Paul Elliott, one of the two main characters, is a lawyer. He is a highly idealized version of my younger self. Everything about him is fictional, however, except for two very small details that aren’t pivotal to the narrative. At one point, Paul recalls a childhood fight with another boy and at another point he recalls a court case he handled when another lawyer was unable to do so. Those two events actually happened.
- Regarding the writing of this book and future books, what is your writing process?
I write the first draft in long hand (actually I print) on a legal pad. I then make changes to that draft in long hand. By the time I’m finished, no one except me could possibly read what I’ve written. I then transfer that draft to my computer and do several additional drafts on the computer.
- I see you studied law. Do you use any of that knowledge in your writing? If so, how much of it is involved?
So far I’ve not used any of my legal training in my novels. The case to which a passing reference is made in Pigeon-Blood Red is fleshed out a little in The Last Straw, the next novel in the trilogy, which I’ve just finished. It becomes the focal point of an argument between Paul and his girlfriend Evelyn and reveals a little about their respective characters. Also, in that novel a teen commits a crime for which he may have to stand trial, and there is an issue concerning whether a witness will have to testify at a trial. However, the legal issues are very basic and didn’t require any legal training to imagine or write. I’ve consciously avoided writing legal thrillers. Perhaps in the future I’ll find a way to weave my legal knowledge into one of my plots.
- For new writers, it is hard for them to get started with the process. What advice would you have for them?
First of all, read widely. Second, do multiple drafts and don’t be discouraged by the first draft. Even the most polished writers will admit that their first drafts are awful. If sending queries to agents or publishers, don’t be discouraged by rejections. Everybody (well, almost everybody) has gotten them. If self-publishing, hire an editor. It will be money well spent. No one can edit himself. Finally, consider hiring a publicist. Some people can do what a publicist does on their own but even if they can, the time spent probably could be better spent writing.
- What do you want your readers to get out of this book?
I want the readers to identify with the struggles of the main characters and feel that the characters were well drawn. No matter where they happen to be in the novel, I want readers to look forward to reading the next page. I want readers not to want the novel to end and I want them to eagerly await the next installment in the trilogy. In short, I want readers to enjoy the novel immensely.
- Do you have a particular place that you like to write at? What are some writing do’s and don’ts that you are willing to share?
When the muse arrives, I can write almost anywhere, at least until the muse departs. Generally, though, I write at a table that separates my den from my kitchen. When I transfer the first drafts to the computer, I write upstairs where my desk, files, and computer are located.
Regarding writing do’s and don’ts, I think each writer has or will develop his or her own, depending upon what is comfortable. For instance, it is often said that a writer must write something, no matter how much, every day (or at least every weekday) or that he must force himself to write a certain number of words or pages whenever he sits down to write. I disagree. I think those kinds of strictures are necessary for some writers but not for all. Another old saw is that you should write only what you know. With the advent of the internet, that is much less true today than perhaps it used to be. I think you should should write what you like to write. If the subject matter interests you, you will be willing to do the necessary research so that by the time you start writing, you are in fact writing what you know.
- For writers who love crime, what do you have in the vault for the future? Any series? Standalones?
As mentioned, I just finished The Last Straw, which is the second in the trilogy that began with Pigeon-Blood Red. I have to decide whether to self-publish it or to try to publish it traditionally. The third in the trilogy has already been written as a screenplay (unproduced), so I just have to convert it to a novel. The title of the screenplay is Rico Stays, which I intend to use for the novel. I don’t currently have a standalone in mind but I am not ruling it out. Also, it’s possible that I’ll expand the trilogy.
- What events are coming up for you? The only event I have coming up is an appearance before the Thrillers and Chillers Book Club at the Henderson Memorial Public Library in Jefferson, Ohio on August 26 at 1:00 p.m.
About The Author:
Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/