Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Lillian Duncan Talks about Writing, Murder and Mayhem. Gives away a Copy of Deadly Communications.

A warm welcome to Lillian Duncan.
She'll give away an e-book of Deadly Communications. To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.

Hi Lillian, you mentioned the town where you live to me. Tell me about it.
I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have 1 traffic light. But I love living here. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.

Yes, to use the cliché, there’s no place like home. Lots of people like to know what writers read. 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 your latest, Deadly Communications.
Deadly Communications features Maven Morris, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who gets a little too involved with her clients. Okay, a lot too involved. When a client she’s working with leaves abruptly, Maven is suspicious and she won’t rest until she finds her.

How long did it take you to write this book?
Deadly Communications is a novella so it didn’t take anywhere near as long as a full-length novel would. I would say I finished my 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 are 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 very adventurous and would never get myself into that kind of situation!

What’s the setting for Deadly Communications?
It takes place 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 Deadly Communications?
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 Communications the first book you published?
No, I’ve been blessed to have several books published in the past few years. My last release was Betrayed in January of this year. It was the second in my Sisters By Choice series. The third, Redemption, will be released in September.

Why did you write Deadly Communications?
Three things happened within a few days of each other to inspire Deadly Communications.
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.
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 do you want readers to take away from Deadly Communications?
Before the story starts Maven has experienced a series of life-changing events that have 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. 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 as she faces some difficult circumstances in her life. I want readers to know they can do the same.

Was it difficult to write a character with communication problems?
Not at all. In fact, that was part of the fun of writing Deadly Communications. In the scenes where Maven is working with her client, all I had to do was close my eyes, imagine the interaction, then open my eyes, and write it.

Are you planning a sequel to Deadly Communications?
At this point, I have 3 novellas written featuring Maven, the crime-fighting speech pathologist. The second has been submitted to my publisher and I’m waiting to hear back. It’s titled Nowhere To Belong. It’s about a little boy found abandoned in a park that Maven ends up fostering. He refuses to communicate with anyone but Maven has her ways to get past that!

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. Deadly Communications was no exception. I wasn’t sure who the culprit was until the very end. Maven and I suspected one person, but we were wrong!

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.

Then what makes your stories Christian Fiction?
I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories in any way. My characters experience the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.

My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.

One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.

What are you working on now?
I have a devotional blog Power Up with God’s Word: Secrets For a Better Life at: I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors two years ago and so many of the devotions focus help others who are facing a crisis—physical or

The third book in The Sisters By Choice series (Redemption) will be released in September.

How can readers find you on the internet?
My website is and I have a devotional blog at My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at  I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at

About Deadly Communications
Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!
Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture.

When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.

Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.

Bio: Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she’s thinking of renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….
As a speech pathologist in the public schools for over thirty years, she worked with students of all ages with a wide variety of conditions, but especially with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives. especially God’s Word.
Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced mystery and suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at or www.lillian- She also has a devotional blog at


John Todd said...

Hi! The book sounds great and if I don't happen to win a copy; I will be buying me one. This is my favorite genre of book to read so I'm excited. I really like reading the interview on your blog with Ms. Duncan.
Thank you and have a great day!

Miss Mae said...

I'm surprised to learn that horror can now be included in CF. I guess I need to ask - what is "horror" these days? I would have assumed paranormal/vampires/that sort of stuff. ????

It's amazing to me that some writers don't know who the culprit is until the end. While I don't outline plots, I have a pretty good idea of who is the villain. If, for some reason, I change my mind, I go back into the story and leave different clues. So, how do you do this??? :)

The book sounds exciting, Lillian, and the cover is fabulous. :) Wishing you many sales (which I believe will utterly happen. :) )


Finbar said...

Another truly unique story line on this blog. This is a very difficult field in education and anyone who can do it for years is blessed with a talent few share. Thanks for informing the world of this need and giving joy to readers at the same time....

Anne Patrick said...

Great interview ladies! I have a couple of Lillian's books in my digital library. She has a knack for telling suspenseful stories. Looking forward to reading this one.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Lillian,

I recognize you from the ACFW loop.

God has blessed you with the art of developing great stories for His glory. He takes our trials and turns them into treasures for Him.

Thank you for the wonderful interview with my friend, Gayle, and for entertaining and ministering to others through the written word.

Laurean Brooks said...

I forgot to leave my email address.

Ashley Coupe said...

How exciting! I love Christian fiction, and I love suspense! =)
Ashley Lluay,

Larry Hammersley said...

Another interesting interview and guest, Gail. Lillian, I wish you success in your novels and novellas. Such interesting story lines. Communications with others is a challenge. Our granddaughter has cerebral palsy and communicating and understanding her is a challenge. Of course our daughter-in-law is best at it.

Gina said...

Hi Lillian and Gail - what a fantastic post. Your book sounds wonderful, Lillian, great cover and very compelling story line. Best of luck to you!

As always, Gail, your blog is outstanding. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful author.

Linda from Georgia said...

Lillian, your focus is unique. I love reading stories about real life people who learn to work out their problems and overcome circumstances with God's help. I'm looking forward to reading Deadly communications