Author develops early passion for writing

By Marlena Hartz : CNJ staff writer

Lois Duncan is an award-winning author best known for her suspense novels for adolescents and teens.

In early October, her novel, “Daughters of Eve,” was pulled from elementary library shelves in Clovis schools. The former state resident told the Clovis News Journal the suspense novel was not appropriate for an elementary-aged audience.

Q: Why are you drawn to the suspense genre?
I write suspense novels because that’s the kind of story I enjoy reading.

Q: How many books have you written?
About 50. The two most recent have not yet been published.

Q: For what age group did you write, “Daughters of Eve”?
Eighth grade and above.

Q: How do you feel about your books being banned in schools?
There are occasions when that is appropriate — especially when the more sophisticated books such as “Daughters of Eve” and “Killing Mr. Griffin” are placed in elementary school libraries. Books should be age appropriate, and young children can’t relate to the characters or subject matter in novels like those. With the exception of “A Gift of Magic,” which is fine for elementary school libraries, my suspense novels belong in middle schools and high schools.

Q: Do you have any habits when writing; for instance, do you like to write in a certain room in the house or at a certain time of day?
Over the years, I have written in whatever location was available. At first, on a portable manual typewriter on the kitchen table while babies played at my feet. Later, when the kids were in school, on an electric typewriter on a desk in the corner of the bedroom. Once the children left home, I converted one of their bedrooms into an office and began to use a computer.

Q: What motivates or inspires you to write?
Nothing in particular “motivates” me to write. I’ve just always done it. I started submitting stories to magazines when I was 10.

Q: How do you feel about the movie adaptation of “I Know What You Did Last Summer”?
I thought it was atrocious.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to accomplish in your literary career?
I want to complete the sequel to “Who Killed My Daughter,” my non-fiction, adult book about our family’s on-going efforts to solve the murder of our teenage daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette.

Q: What do you hope readers gain from your books?
A belief that reading can be more enjoyable than watching television or surfing the net.

Q: How long did you live in New Mexico?
Thirty years.

Editor’s note: Duncan currently lives in Florida.